New Delhi: A friend
asks you to try a product she vouches for. Chances are you will go
ahead and buy it the next time you see it on the store shelf. It's
all about credibility - a factor that's making brands turn to a
new medium, blogging, to market their products.
Based on a different branding mantra that entails not just
connecting to the audience but interacting with them as well, big
and small brands are now turning to social interactive tools, like
blogging, to advertise and market their products.
Says Neeraj Goyal, senior marketing manager of Johnson & Johnson
India: "Bloggers have a loyal following and tapping into that base
through readership is a good way to create word of mouth and
conversation around the brand and its core idea."
"Blogs are written and read voluntarily and therefore they bring a
lot of credibility to the brand idea. It also helps in engaging
with consumers to co-create. Candid comments and reader's take on
an idea through this medium is also a very good opportunity for
the marketers to have a reality check," Goyal told IANS.
Johnson & Johnson India thus used blogging as a medium to market
their product, sanitary napkin, Stayfree.
"Stayfree's brand idea, 'it's time to change', and its belief that
only you can change things that irritate you is the keystone for
our strategies. We believed that having real and credible brand
advocates like blogging will help the campaign go viral," he
The route which brands usually take is to invite bloggers to try
their product and then share their experience. Readers leave
behind comments and, depending on the feedback, more information
is supplied and new strategies planned.
Personal care product Dove, for instance, organised a bloggers'
meet in Mumbai, in which the participants -70 percent women- were
treated to Dove Hair Spa, the product they wanted to advertise.
Following this, the participants wrote about their experience and
generated a readership, whose main audience were those in the
25-35 age group - also the brand's target age group. Besides blog
posts, there were also tweets and Facebook posts. The campaign
reached 4.3 million people.
Automobile company Tata Motors used a similar platform to market
its vehicle, Tata Sumo Grande.
"To help bloggers gain first-hand experience of our SUV - Tata
Sumo Grande, 10 bloggers were invited to two Tata Motors showrooms
where they could drive the vehicle to the venue. This not only
encouraged bloggers to test drive the vehicle but also helped them
understand the various features of the car and get answers to
their queries by our representative," a Tata Motors spokesperson
This, he said, helped them market their product and get feedback
These interactions enhance our understanding of customers at
ground level and thereby help us to devise right strategies with
respect to product, communication, pricing and retailing. It also
helps us in converting prospects to retail faster," he said.
Terming this trend as a result of opening up of the social media,
Ayesha Durante, Country Manager-Marketing of HP IPG India, said:
"Social media and blogging outreach complement the conventional
communication tools. Our communication campaigns today seamlessly
straddle the domains of traditional as well as new media and are
designed to reach our audiences through channels they are present
in and in formats they are interested in."
So does this mean that celebrities are not doing the trick any
"Celebrities do have a lot of reach and, depending on their
personal success, they are still effective as far as
advertisements are concerned. But for the online consumer base,
very few buy on impulse and most buy on the basis of someone
else's experience. This makes blogging a very effective means of
communication," said Renie Ravin, managing director of IndiBlogger,
an umbrella body of bloggers.
Arvind Passey, a blogger, who writes for Samsung mobiles, compares
himself and those from his community to a columnist of a
newspaper. "Bloggers have a niche readership and their opinion has
a loyal following...this is almost akin to the kind of following
any good columnist in a print daily would have," he told IANS.
"Thus any blogpost has the power to travel straight into the heart
of the most focussed group. I use words, pictures, and videos to
take the shortest route to a potential customer's heart and give
him all the information that he ever wants to have. There is no
pretension, since I am not a paid employee of any organisation."
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