Which Indian telecom brand has made the most out of new media?

telecom-social-media  When the entire world got rolled under recession last year, India gave surprises to others with a strong domestic back up. The main relief for advertising agencies (atleast for those who have a telecom account) is that they are guaranteed with a continuous business! India, as the whole world knows, is the gold mine for telecom companies. No one dares to ignore a market that generates 10 million new subscribers every month!

On the other side the evolution of new media and changing media habits of consumers has made it very tough for telecom brands to make the user see value in their offering. Though every telecom brand spends anywhere between Rs. 150 crore and Rs. 400 crore there are lots of buzz about the telecom brands, new offers, promotions etc. But only very few telecom brands made smart investment in new media to make the most out of it!

Without any doubt Tata DoCoMo is the clear winner. It’s a great job done by both the marketing team and their ad agency Interface.co.in. TATA DoCoMo turned the market upside down with per second billing, great brand tone, clever ads, (don’t forget that NTT DoCoMo is a pioneer in advanced technology). But what made the real differentiation is their involvement in social media like Twitter, Facebook, Orkut etc. They did marketing WITH the consumers and not TO them. They involved users to participate in the brand building and executed one of the smartest crowdsourcing campaign ever done in India. They used both twitter and facebook in a smart way with innovative ideas like ‘dietalk’, ‘animation contest’ etc.

How can I miss ZooZoos! Personally zoozoos is one of the finest creative product ever produced in Indian advertising! The way the zoo zoos occupied the life of customers is tremendous. Every one loves zoozoos. Every one on facebook has experienced the best of brand engagement by any Indian brands. Ideas like “See the ad first on facebook”, “Contests” has made inroads in consumers minds. I won a zoozoo t-shirt too ad I was extremely proud to spread the news. This is what the new age marketing all about. If the content is great, consumers will become a media and take care of the marketing for the brand!

Idea has executed few of innovative marketing for ‘use mobile save paper’ campaign by partnering with barista/CCD an delivering the menu to users mobile! This campaign was very well thought and aligned with the brand thought. But idea is a brand that should take full use of social media and not just stick to the online banners! Idea should INVOLVE users with the brand since they have a powerful brad DNA that can open more possibilities when they embrace new media.

Airtel, is always a trusted brand by millions. In fact I strongly believe that they don’t even want to create campaigns on new media. They have a better network, great service etc. I suggest Airtel to take their customer service to forums like Twitter/Facebook etc, which will logically reduce their cost and increase the trust the consumers have in Airtel

Aircel did some great initiative with ‘save the tigers’ campaign. But they just informed us about the numbers and wanted to join facebook groups. They never tried to provide us some directions on what has to be done and what role should a normal Indian play to save the tigers! But they got great brand recall with the initiative. I’m sure that folks in Aircel and Dentsu, their creative agency will come up a great follow up campaign that will spice up the new media.

With regard to other telecom brands, I’m very disappointed with their new media initiatives. In fact I had huge expectations from Uninor which has over Rs. 400 crore to spend, to make smart investments in new media rather than just a online banners.

Every thing said and done, I believe 2010 will provide these telecom brands to re-invent their marketing, media planning strategy.

Who are the winners?

Without doubt Tata DoCoMo and Vodafone are the winners when it comes to best usage of the new media. Other brands still have opportunities to make really interesting connect with the consumers. After all, consumers haven’t changed, but the way they consume media has!