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Emerging digital era and challenges for brands

Tanvir Ahmed

I have been working as a marketer for more than 12 years now, both in Bangladesh and in global marketing roles. In these years I have experienced a massive shift in terms of communications and the delivery vehicle for the message. Overall the industry is experiencing unprecedented changes. Television has always been a big part of the daily conversation to target consumers, supplemented by radio, newspaper, billboards, etc. which is massively shifting now. Traditional marketing and media approaches are no longer delivering the coverage and engagement required to drive awareness & penetration. Consumer behaviour is changing and habits are changing. Today 87% of the time people are dual screening whilst watching TV (Accenture data) and the TV isn’t the primary device anymore. Phones and more recently tablets are more common place in one’s hand while watching TV now than the remote control. And it will get worse moving to 2020. Statistics say that there are 2 billion smart phones today. 4 billion people will be online by 2020, mostly through mobile. Which means the overall media consumption will significantly shift to online and more specifically mobile.

Another challenge is the clutter in communications. The average person is exposed to over 5,000 advertising messages a day from so many different communication channels. So, the big question for all the companies globally in this complex new landscape is how to leverage these new opportunities and create new and unique experiences to wow consumers.

All the research suggests that innovations and brand communications have to be connected and consumers want more customization solutions. Purchase decisions will not be made only based on manufactures voice (communication), but also on with aid of reviews and rating. The point of sale is changing and online sale is growing every day. Now, this is critical to have a differentiating positioning, having disrupted innovations and become a brand for me in the digital arena. There are some brands who have got massive success by having unique brand positioning and digital focus. One big example is a US brand PooPoourri.

PooPourri & PooPourri commercial

Just launching in 2007, PooPourri grew into a multimillion-dollar company. The breakthrough of this journey came through by launching a called “Girls Don’t Poop”. Most of us called it a Hilarious copy! But it has done the job. It got millions of views within hours and now has 40 million. PooPourri grew the business based on online and the copy was viral. Few lessons every marketer learned from the stinking brilliance of PooPourri. First of all, PooPourri has its own targeted segment, as evidenced by the young lady in its advert that went viral. Secondly, no diluting the core brand message, no beating around the bush. They have successfully managed to take out the awkwardness out of the subject and draw traffic and keep them engrossed. This is truly an unconventional but a very smart and obviously effective marketing tactic.Strong brands think about people, not just products. They build relevant and interconnected experiences with their targets; experiences that are anchored to a credible brand story and brought to life across channels.New digital channels have opened up exciting and potentially profitable ways for companies to engage with ever more connected consumers but connecting in the right way with the people behind the screen remains key. There are some other great examples like Uber, Airbnb, Spotify, Fitbit, Netflix & Tinder.

I am now waiting for that brand from Bangladesh to become the disruptors in this disruptive world. There are so many powerful brands in Bangladesh and with this recent boom of digital penetration and usages increase, in no time there will be a brand emerge from Bangladesh with a unique positioning and offering. The only question will be that will that be from a small start-up or some larger enterprises? Time will answer.

Tanvir Ahmed is an experienced marketer & strategist, worked for a blue chip FMCG company for 13 years across operational and global category roles. In his last role, he was located in the United Kingdom as an expat and working for the global marketing team based out of the corporate HQ.Now he is supporting few start-ups as a business development consultant based out of the UK and leading his own breakthrough innovation project jointly with UK central research lab. He is also founder and head of student relations of ALIANAZ Academy for Professional Qualifications.A Photographer who loves to travel (covered 30+ countries in 4 continents), has a passion for innovation and (perhaps inevitably) a Bangladeshi cricket fanatic!

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