(L-R) Mahesh Kanchan, Saumitra Prasad, Abhinav Sharma

Adios 2016: Top Brand Custodians Reveal ExM Trends That Worked & Predictions for 2017

Industry Watch | December 19, 2016 | Feature

Carlsberg Camlin Adidas

2016 has been a fabulous year for the events and experiential marketing industry. In the year not only did we see brands finally putting the ‘pedal to the metal’ and come up with clutter breaking, experientially driven campaigns but we also witnessed how the marriage between digital and on-ground works fabulously to create viral brand narratives.

To sum up all the learnings derived from the domain of experiential in this year, we at EVENTFAQS reached out to top brand marketers who revealed to us the trends that worked for brands in the year 2016 and where things are heading to as we gear up to welcome the year 2017.

Learnings & Takeaway from 2016

Sharing with us the biggest learnings and takeaways from 2016, Saumitra Prasad, CMO, Kokuyo Camlin says, “This year consumers have gone for products which provide convenience and addresses the scarce resource which is time. Smart Phones have grown significantly as they could with every innovation, make things more convenient for consumers and make them happen faster. Even in the domain of children products, the consumers have gone for products like brush pen which offer conventional colouring in the most convenient form and pen pencil which gives convenience of writing and saves time.”

He adds, “There are lot of things happening in the life of consumers and almost at the same time and one cannot sustain one idea for long and unless the marketer keeps building on it or innovates continuously. The communication content which is making consumers interact is working far more than one way exchange. Additionally, social media continues to become stronger every year and is becoming a part of lives of the consumers. Brands have been increasing their investments in social media and look at making content more interactive.

Mahesh Kanchan, Director Marketing, Carlsberg responds, “This year we have clearly seen the emergence of digital as a massive medium for brand marketing. Big brands are investing around10% of their marketing budgets in that medium and it is working amazingly well for them. Also, traditional media continues to be critical, even internet brands such as Amazon, Flipkart and Google are thriving on it. Experiential is also moving and more f&b brands are realizing the importance of the medium to engage their audiences.”

Sharing his inputs, Abhinav Sharma, Brand Manager, adidas Running comments, “The year has taught is that Influencer Marketing is here to stay, but ‘Bloggers’ as a media influencer set is already dead. Given the proliferation of data, it is easy to weed out the ‘pretenders’ from the real deal. Bloated followership, little original content, mistaking good visuals for ‘influential content’, too little value added – some of these are the issues that anyone who wishes to project himself/herself as an influencer needs to be cognizant of. And brands are looking behind the curtain!”

He elaborates, “Also this year has proven that content Platforms will continue to do well – as long as they invest in content with substance and not just ‘share-ability’. The content formula is dynamic, and while several content platforms pride themselves at the speed of reaction to trends; this recipe will also wane, as time passes. Only those, who add value (and not just entertainment value per se) would survive with their viewership/readership intact.”

Estimated Trends for 2017

Prasad remarks, “In every category we should expect product innovations wherein marketers will be offering new product with far more benefits and features and perhaps at lesser cost, as market becomes extremely competitive. Smart marketers will start the process of co-creation of products as consumers are being more discerning and articulate about their needs. Online channel should get significant boost with government initiatives towards cashless economy. Going forward I feel companies in every segment will increase their investment in online channel of distribution.”

Kanchan adds, “Quarter 1 of 2017 will be subdued as a result of demonetization and will continue to be that way till liquidity in the economy reverts to normal. Also digital will grow more as customers will use it for post purchase and information gathering. However, I do see a churn for e-commerce platforms that many of those without funding will wrap up. Also, with GST coming a lot of turbulence is in the forecast for brands and their marketing spends.”

Sharma shares his stance on the subject saying, “I believe that 2017 will see brands Increasing spends on ‘Experiences’ than ‘Events’. More brands and money would focus on giving consumers a ‘reason to share’ rather than a ‘reason to be there’ – given the easy verdict on social media, now being the #1 in the consideration set to build campaigns for. Also Authentic Influencer Marketing will come into play. Once the pretenders have been weeded out, only people with domain expertise or opinion leadership, would survive the cull. I anticipate Instagram to clean up fake accounts much as Facebook has been, as well. Most of the current crop of ‘bloggers’ would be called out, in this way.

Relevance of Experiential in 2017

Prasad elucidates, “Marketers today know the importance of experiential and how the impact of giving an experience to consumers is far more than just creating awareness. It’s always the cost effectiveness and limitation of numbers which made marketers think about only mass media more than anything else. But now with social media amplifying an offline activity, the rules of the game have changed. We are following the same strategy with our tie-up with Kidzania, where products are demonstrated and then the experience is amplified using social media and digital tools.”

Sharma shares, “We are living in the ‘Experience Economy’ where experiences are rapidly the only currency that does not suffer demonetization, but only appreciates with time. More ideas that think ‘What is something that money can’t buy?’ or ‘How does my consumer escape the mundane life, if only for an hour or a minute’, will break through the clutter. The rest will add to it. As far as estimated trends for 2017 go, I feel new tech & newer formats will enter the picture. Also bolder plays by Indian brands – adopting VR, destination travel, signature ‘money can’t buy’ experiences, in the consumer activation space, are some trends to watch out for.

Kanchal replies to the same question saying, “2017 will be an amazing year for sporting events and these will be at an all-time high. 2017 will be the last year for IPL before the media rights bid will open again to one can expect a lot more than just cricket from IPL the next season.” 

EVENTFAQS reached out to top brand marketers who revealed to us the trends that worked for brands in the year 2016 and where are things heading to as we gear up to welcome the year 2017.

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