Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What should brand advertisers and agency professionals be doing on the Internet?

I recently read an article on WATBlog talking about branded "microsites" being a growing trend amongst companies and media agencies in India. Examples of these are Sunsilk Gang of Girls, Mentos Helpline, Pond's iBlushed, Cadbury's Meetha Moments, Kwality Walls' Spill Ur Dil, HSBC's Your Solutions and Gillette Winners. The article further goes on to term this as the "perfect technique to create a quick connect with the users," claiming that "Microsites encourage conversations with the brand" and "It is All About Conversations & Not Clicks." While I'd love to trash this article for its vagueness and lack of logic, it throws up an interesting subject:

What should brand advertisers and agency professionals be doing on the Internet?

While there isn't any time-proven formula for advertisers to adopt, there is some fantastic advice in the following white paper written by guys at Jackson Fish. (Jackson Fish is the name of a company and not an individual.)

Here's, an excerpt from the white paper that explains why the current crop of promotional sites is far from the "perfect technique":

Some advertisers are realizing that there are more possibilities for engagement when the message goes beyond the rectangle offered by most ad networks. To that end, these marketers often end up creating their own entire sites. Unlike the “official product website” these sites are more interactive, less-focused on educating and more focused on engaging the audience. While a step in the right direction, these sites often have one or both of the following characteristics that come with their own drawbacks:

1. They are dependent on produced content. Producing high quality content is expensive. And even if you can get away with cheaper content, it often gets stale quickly. The production costs, which can be high, become excessive when they turn into recurring costs.

2. When they try to go beyond passive enjoyment of content and engage the user to extend their time with the site, the interactivity can often be relatively shallow taking the form of things like simple flash games and the like.

How true! I really don't see consumers making repeated visits to any of the promotional sites that are mentioned above. And these drawbacks explain why.

So then, what should brand advertisers and agency professionals be doing on the Internet?

Jackson Fish builds a case for what they call Branded Software Experiences - an innovative concept which is beautifully explained in the white paper. I wouldn't want to spoon feed the readers on this blog by copy-pasting content from the paper. This white paper is worth the cumbersome tasks of downloading, saving, printing and reading. It is the most sensible answer you could read to the question above.

Jackson Fish have even created a Branded Software Experience Index that lists all the branded interactive and online experiences on the web along with their thoughts on it.

4 comments:

gautam said...

although microsites are short lived, they certainly get the traffic in. u are right about the short life span thingi but then what are most Indian born Social networks.. look at Big adda, desi martini, all over the television, created good hype but look at it now.. microsites allow u to think beyond the plain jane corporate look.. and as it has a short life span (repeated visitors). its perfect for ad campaigns and an Overhaul of the microsite wouldnt always be welcome unlike other networks. btw thanks for the white paper..

Nimish V Adani said...

Gautam, there is no arguing the fact that companies need to engage their audience using the online media and to achieve this they can't rely only on product/corporate site(s). The argument here is whether the current crop of promo websites are the best option.

There are better ways to leverage your brand online as demonstrated by some of the examples on Jackson Fish's Branded Software Experience Index. Go through the examples there and you'll get the point am making.

hillelc said...

Thanks so much for the nice words. You totally get what we're trying to do. We appreciate the thoughts. :)

--hillel (www.jacksonfish.com)

Nimish V Adani said...

Nice to see you dropping by Hillel! I've been using a lot of They're Beautiful and that's what drew me to the work done by Jackson Fish.