Varun Vibhakar

Varun Vibhakar

AdvertisingContentDesignDigital MarketingIndustry RelatedMarketingSocial Media

Digital or Dystopian?

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2019 is here. And if sci-fi movies of the 80s such as Blade Runner and The Running Man are anything to go by, marketing is supposed to be dominated by holographic neon signs and visual transmissions sent straight to our brains. Thankfully, 2019 seems to be following a completely different, yet similar tech-centric trajectory when it comes to marketing. As the lines between advertising and technology blur, let’s look into the crystal ball and see what 2019 might have in store for us.



Artificial Intelligence (AI) is taking over the world — one function at a time! According to Tech Republic, AI’s presence in business implementation shot up from 38% in 2016 to 61% in 2017, in a span of just a year. While most of this has been in the form of predictive analytics, virtual assistants, and diagnostic engines, 2019 could be the year AI moves to more complex functions. Here’s how:

    • Bidding for the most effective digital spaces for your brand
    • Finding consumers who match your existing target group
    • Creating personalized content to grab your audience’s attention

And these are just a few of the roles AI can play. We can’t wait to see what it has in store for the future.



Remember that bit about transmissions to your brain? Well, such technology isn’t completely fiction any longer. Marketers the world over are beginning to see the potential of advertising on Virtual Reality (VR) platforms, thanks to the ever-reducing ROI on traditional digital advertisements. This drop in returns has been caused by a sudden increase in the number of netizens using adblock softwares, pushing marketers to VR to promote their offerings. In fact, furniture maker IKEA and footwear manufacturer Merrell, have both released interactive VR apps that feature their products. While the IKEA app lets users experience their stores across the world, Trailscape promotes Merrell’s brand-new Capra shoe by allowing users to feel the thrill of climbing up and hiking in different natural terrains.



Don’t worry, 2019 won’t be as impersonal as it may seem. While influencer marketing has been around for some time, more brands are collaborating with local influencers to get their word out. These influencers generally have anywhere between 10,000 and 50,000 followers and represent a more niche section of the society. Because of this, they also have a better rapport with their audiences than more established influencers. So, consider coming up with branded hashtags that can be used by the micro-influencer.

This will help you promote your products or services easily by tapping into their fan base.



4G is so passé! In 2019, marketers will be able to communicate with more people in less time, all thanks to 5G. Just as 4G boosted video consumption to an average of one hour of content per person per day, 5G is expected to bring Augmented Reality (AR) and VR straight into our homes. This pathbreaking service, which is already gaining traction in the United States, Japan, South Korea, and China, will let smartphone browsing speeds zoom up to nearly 20GBPS. It is expected to hit Indian shores in the latter half of 2019 and is sure to revolutionize the way marketers operate.



For too long, people have had to type their search queries on Google! With the introduction of apps such as Google Lens, advertisers can now create more engaging content both online and offline to draw in curious customers. On the non-digital front, marketers can use this technology through posters with gripping visuals and thought-provoking content pieces that are indirectly connected to the product. This way, smartphone users will have to whip out their mobiles and use Google Lens to search for the visual, in turn discovering their product. Truly a sight to behold, don’t you agree?



While 2018 was the year of purpose-driven content, 2019 seems to be the year of interactive marketing. In fact, over 90% of marketers claim that interactive marketing strategies, both online and in the real world, have led to 2x conversions. Of course, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Due to its relevance, virality, and inherently human nature, interactive marketing has been adopted by leading brands across the world. KPT, the Swiss health insurance firm, used the ‘Smileball’ — a pinball machine controlled by the player’s smile — to reinforce their claim of having the most happiest customers. Similarly, Netflix’s latest installment of the Black Mirror series, ‘Bandersnatch’, brings interactive content straight to our devices by allowing viewers to dictate the movie’s storyline. Given how this form of marketing is being adopted globally, only time will tell what this strategy has in store for us.

Marketing in 2019 in going to be more agile, more intuitive, more tech-oriented, and more visual than ever. So, to keep up with this tech evolution, all you need to do is keep a ear to the ground and an eye open for what the future holds.

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Transforming Likes to Buys: 10 Strategies to Boost Your Brand’s Social Media Conversion

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Whether it’s Wendy’s smart-mouthed, super-sassy Twitter throwdowns or BBC’s sharp-but-not-showy Instagram stories, brands are going all out to make themselves heard and seen across the interwebs. And why wouldn’t they? In Wendy’s case alone, brash, in-your-face tweets and replies have boosted their following from 815K to 2.49M on Twitter, 7.7M to 8M on Facebook, and 139K to 730K on Instagram — in just 3 years!

But, what’s the point of all the talk without any walk? A large social media base that doesn’t equate to more sales or subscriptions adds very little value to your business.

Which is why having an eye on your social media conversion rate comes in handy. Simply put, social media conversion rate is the percentage of visitors from social media channels, on your website, who complete a desired action. This could be anything from buying a book to taking a loan. This seemingly small metric is great for gauging the effectiveness of your online marketing campaigns and discovering the right tone to talk to your target audience.

What is a good social media conversion rate?

On an average, 2-5 percent is considered to be a fairly successful conversion rate by most companies. However, this need not be the case.

A great example of this is what Atlas Communications, a Toronto-based digital marketing agency, did for one of their clients — a local property management firm looking to attract residents for their rented apartments. Over a year, Atlas used effective social media campaigns to boost their client’s web traffic to an annual average of 72 percent. During the same period, their client also got 3,156 leads from channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, averaging to more than 250 leads a month!

As the above stats show, when it comes to social media conversions, the sky’s the limit! All you need to do is include a few strategies in your digital campaign that are sure to turn likes into buys.

  • Create original content

Nothing harms conversions more than following a one-size-fits-all approach to content, especially when you’re dealing with engagement through social media. Instead, build a clear content strategy that plays to your strengths and has a voice that your target audience can relate to. A great example of this is the American diner brand — Denny’s — which uses relevant memes such as ‘What Are Those?’ as part of their marketing strategy. Since 2013, this has helped the fast food chain’s sales go up from $1.43M to $1.59M in company-owned stores, and $2.01M to $2.28M in franchisee stores.

  • Make mobile-friendly landing pages

Over 80 percent of social media interaction happens on mobile phones these days, making it crucial for your landing page designs to be mobile friendly. This could mean anything from simply using screen-size appropriate images to calibrating the landing page for both portrait and landscape modes. The Moto 360 mobile landing page is a great example of how to do this right — it has crisp to-the-point copy, clean high-resolution images, and a minimal yet effective call-to-action..

  • Keep posts and tweets short

Long-drawn videos and blog posts are a huge turn off on social media. In order to grab your audience’s attention, make sure your content is crisp, clear, and consistent. With this regard, it’s always best to have a bold and direct headline that attracts your TG and holds their attention. A brand that has been doing this very well is Ikea India, whose Facebook and Instagram posts are concise but still engaging. This is probably why the international furniture giant, which is yet to open a brick-and-mortar store in India, already boasts 14K followers on Instagram, and over 26M on FB.

  • Split test social media posts

Finding the tone that speaks straight to your targeted audience can sometimes feel like learning a new language. To make this simpler, you should split test (or A/B test) your social media posts on parameters such as their design style, content tone, posting schedules, and targeting criteria. And while it isn’t possible to test every post indefinitely, you should ideally run it for your initial posts or campaigns till you crack what your audience likes.

  • Use trending hashtags

With Instagram shifting to an interest-networking model, it only makes sense to embed relevant and trending hashtags within your content. This will make your brand visible to people who aren’t following your product page, netting you a larger audience in the long run. Depending on your business, you can use hashtags that are relevant to the industry, such as #boots if you’re a footwear retailer and #ootd (Outfit Of The Day) for your clothing brand. Popular kitsch brand ‘Chumbak’ does this really well — putting out posts that have a single line of content and n-number of hashtags for their 18.9K followers on Instagram.

  • Ask for engagement

Regardless of the industry, you can always create content that engages with your followers and pushes them to interact with you online. A great way to do this is by welcoming their comments or screenshots on your posts, or retweets on your tweets. Here, you can take a leaf out of TV host Jimmy Fallon’s book. Every week following the telecast of his show, a new hashtag challenge — such as ‘#MyWeirdNeighbor’ and ‘#DadQuotes’ — is put up across his social media platforms. These challenges are a fun way to get your audience to engage with you, and in due course, push them to visit your website.

  • Leverage social proof

Just like other animals, we humans too have a herd mentality. You can make this mindset work in your brand’s favor by using the power of ‘social proof’ to increase conversions. Some of the types of social proof you can use online are expert opinions, endorsements from trusted celebs, or user testimonials. A brand that has really been using this to its advantage is Beats by Dr Dre, which routinely features celebrities to keep their 8.8M Facebook followers hooked.

  • Include Facebook Pixel

Facebook Pixel is a major boon to web developers and business owners. It’s a simple line of code that can be added to your existing script in a jiffy — giving you access to an amazing dashboard that keeps track of your Facebook visitors. By adding Pixel to your website, you can also get quality insights on your website’s traffic, measure cross-device conversion, and focus on people who are most likely to take action. You can also use this product on Instagram and Facebook Messenger. M&M India’s outreach strategy is a wonderful example of Pixel in action. During the course of the campaign, M&M’s team used Pixel to reduce ad repetition among followers, increasing recall by 10 points in 1.5 months!

  • Build brand databases to build relationships

In-store databases can be the foundation to your online follower base. Reaching out to such customers on social media, either through personal messages or full-fledged posts, goes a long way in building trust among prospective buyers. For instance, automobile dealerships could make posts featuring their latest customers, thanking them after a deal is closed. This reflects well on the seller, while giving the buyer bragging rights among their family.

  • Employ Messenger Bots

Often, impersonal social media posts and tweets leave your prospective customers asking for more. While these creatives are great for spreading information, they leave several queries and doubts hanging. This is where messenger bots play a key role. By having a bot ready to handle basic queries on your social media channels, you can address any doubts of prospective customers and convert them to paying clients. Disney has done a great job of using messenger bots to drive more engagement on their pages by customizing them to match the tone and style of their popular characters. Some of them, such as Ms Piggy from the ‘Muppets’ and Doc Brown from ‘Back to the Future’, give visitors the opportunity to chat with their favorite personas and see another side of them, first hand.

Social media gives you and your brand an unparalleled opportunity to attract audiences and convert them into actual sales. However, if you are uncertain about how to implement these strategies, there’s no need to fret. With several successful social media campaigns under our belt, we are geared up with an arsenal of time-tested strategies that are sure to convert your followers into customers!

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Building a Brand for the Ages: 5 ways to learn conduct market research and gather information

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“Profit in business comes from repeat customers.” – W. Edward Deming

In the quest to make its venture a success, many businesses actively focus on earning profit for profit’s sake from its products or services. While revenue is an essential part of any commercial endeavor worth its salt, it would be unwise to forget the one element that keeps any company’s cogs moving — the customer. A business’ success — in fact, its very existence — depends on repeat and potential customers consistently choosing it over its competitors. But this isn’t as easy as it sounds.

To make sure that your customers keep coming back, it’s important to lend your ears to their wants. Here are the 5 different ways of conducting market research that will help you get to the answer faster.

Step 1: FGD – Focus, Grasp, Develop

brand building strategy

Invite your audience to a Focus Group Discussions (FGD), a traditional market-research method rumored to have been established in the late 1930s. Through form of primary research provides a qualitative perspective of what your target audience actually thinks of your latest offering — whether it’s something as small as a change in ingredient, or as large as your campaign idea.

brand building techniques

Step 2: Survey to Stay Ahead

brand strategy

The simplest way you can hear from a larger audience is by carrying out online surveys through websites such as SurveyMonkey and Zoho, or just good ol’ Google Forms. These portals use subjective and objective questions to elicit your potential customers’ feedback or opinions on your brand.

A great example of this is Apple’s ‘Customer Pulse’ team – a group of in-house researchers who conduct surveys and provide insightful consumer analyses to Apple’s famed design team. These designers, in turn, leverage the information to create products that have been credited with reading users’ minds.

brand development

Step 3: Interview the Viewer

Branding your business

It’s a no-brainer that conducting face-to-face interviews are your best bet to truly study your audience. This method allows you to carry out qualitative research on your customers and put a finger on their pulse. On the flip side, this also goes a long way in improving your brand image, as interviewed customers feel valued and privileged.

brand building ideas

Step 4: Boost Your Social Potential

Building a brand

Today, branding is largely represented on social media — making your online footprint as important as your offline one. By asking the right questions in the right manner on the interwebs/online, you can gain more insights into how your potential customer perceives your brand, if they like the campaigns you are running, or what they feel you should be doing. These initiatives also help you add new subsets to your existing market segmentation, and increase your product’s reach.

brand building blocks

Step 5: Watch Your Competition

brand building process

By keeping a vigil eye on what your competition is doing, you can drastically cut down on your research time and save on expensive yet redundant strategies. However, be warned. While performing competitive analyses and secondary market research are healthy, relying wholly on these can prove risky for your brand at times.

For instance, back in the ’70s, Pepsi conducted a campaign called ‘Pepsi Challenge’, where people were asked to taste disguised Pepsi and Coca Cola drinks and pick their favorite. Surprisingly, most preferred Pepsi and consequently, their sales shot up.

Not to be outdone, Coca Cola mimicked this strategy and challenged people to pick their favorite. Unfortunately for Coca Cola, most consumers still liked Pepsi — resulting in their sales dipping considerably!

brand building steps

Every day, a new brand adds to the growing list of competitors vying for your customers’ attention. In the midst of this jumble, what matters most is being aware of how your audience perceives you — which can only be gained by listening to what they say or don’t say about you. We trust these tricks of the trade will help you build a brand for the ages!


Apples or Oranges? Find Out if Content or Copy is the Right Fruit to Grow Your Business

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The Fruit Basket

In the marketing world, we often hear people use the terms ‘content’ and ‘copy’ interchangeably. In their perspective, these words mean the same — anything written with the purpose of representing a brand and its products. And while this is partially true, there is a world of differences between the purpose of writing copy and content, and the objectives they achieve. To paraphrase the idiom, they are as different as apples and oranges — both fruit but very different fruits.

The Apple — Content

To simplify it to its core, content is a lot like an apple. It is packed with nutrient-like information about the brand, its offerings, and any latest news from the company — information aimed at educating us. In order to achieve this purpose and to be successfully engaging, long-form content depends heavily on structure, personality, authenticity, and credibility. These requirements are a throwback to content’s earliest forms — product brochures, newspaper editorials, and magazine articles. Today, you find content in lengthy write-ups such as blogs, press releases, about-us pages on websites, and DIY articles. Features such as these can be a tad bland and boring, just like the apple.


The Orange — Copy

Citric, juicy, and sure to elicit a reaction, the zesty copy is anything but bland and unexciting. Unlike content, copy is written with a sole purpose in mind — to sell! This objective includes engaging online and offline customers, pitching brand perception, and most importantly, impacting sales on-the-ground. In order to achieve this, copy goes all out. Jazzy headlines, witty turns-of-phrase, bold one-liners, and persuasive calls-to-action are molded by some very clever editing to make us open our hearts and wallets to the brand and their products. While it hasn’t necessarily evolved since its conception, today, copy can be found across article headlines, Tweets and Facebook posts, corporate taglines, and more than the occasional slogans. The refreshing tang of these items attract attention to a brand and its products, making it hard to forget — not different from the taste of a ripe, succulent orange.

Which Fruit is Right for Your Business?

To know if your business would benefit more from publishing content or copy, we will have to consider what your appetite is in the mood for. After all, apart from them representing very different ends of the fruit basket of writing, content and copy also achieve very different purposes. For instance, informative, well-worded content fulfils the goals associated with the bottom of the sales funnel — those which build trust in the brand and engage with prospective customers at a personal level. On the other hand, sharp, crisp copy piques readers’ interest and entices customers to buy products, fulfilling objectives on the top of the sales funnel. To boil them down to their essence, content educates, while copy sells and it is up to the brand to decide if these fruits need to be served separately or paired together.