Stuck in a web
While the last two are quite obviously connected, the first one is too, albeit in a round about way.
Having worked now for over 4 years in a brand role, out of which at least 2 have involved quite some work in the online space, i tend to agree with what Mr.Desai says, especially this part, “The real problem is our mental model of the brand. We see it as a fortress which we must defend against all interlopers.”
I have seen this in all the 3 brands i have worked on, and this is exactly why internet marketing is still in its infancy stage in India. In fact, even among the brands that do some stuff in the space, a majority are those who make internet strategy decisions on an excel sheet as part of the media plan – print – x lakhs, outdoor-y lakhs, internet- z lakhs. Nothing wrong with this, except that the strategy ends up as an adaptation of the print/outdoor creative, and the activity on the web is limited to that.
And the next step, if it happens – in the typical knee-jerk reactions that are a regular sight everywhere, the CEO ‘discovers’ blogging, and wants someone to start a corporate blog, without even pausing to think what is going to be done there and whether it is sustainable. I know at least one example. 🙂
The problem is in ‘letting go’. Brands and brand managers cannot come to terms with it, and are still stuck in a web that refuses to look outward except for the token market research, and we all know how that gets done. Ask the creative guys in agencies and they’ll tell you horror stories of subjective likes and dislikes being thrust upon them, not just those, but whims and desires, as well. And one of the mandatory things to go online is the understanding that you will get some brickbats and your brand will be tossed around. The key is in dealing with it, and converting that into a better consumer experience. Are you game for that challenge? The answer, in most corporates (from what i’ve seen, and maybe i haven’t seen enough) would be a resounding no!!
Knowing the RGB configuration of the brand takes 2 minutes of mugging up, but understanding the dna of the brand and working on it is a different ballgame, and if there are consumers willing to help, i wonder why brand guys have difficulty in accepting it.
and i bid adieu, brandishing my love for the internet 🙂