[Interview] Sunita Bangard of Idea on social media for telecom brands

Idea Cellular network’s President – Marketing, Sunita Bangard identifies traits of social media engagement that every brand needs to possess and shares the intimate relation Idea shares with social media through campaigns and beyond.

How would you describe Idea’s brand voice on social media?

We are a brand which has a certain tonality and philosophy on which all our communication is based and we have the same approach when it comes to social media. So, Idea takes on issues what people are going through; we have a point of view about that and that’s what we try and show through various communications.

What we do on social media content is a bit tailored to a medium level to satisfy the consumers. People on social media don’t want to be preached about something; the conversations are around what is really happening at that time. To get people to engage with you, you need to be a part of their conversation.

Idea encourages dialogues and conversations making it an engaged brand on social. When you compare it with competitors who are trying to talk about their products or promoting their service, Idea aims to use social media to create fan engagement.

Do you believe in platform agnostic content or platform centric content?

A bit of both; it is agnostic from the point that the brands’ tonality and philosophy stay agnostic, no matter what the medium. However, we try to customize our content for different mediums because each medium engages in a different form.

For example, if there is an engagement on the brand with the campaign that is in mind we just don’t put up the advertisement, we try to create some sort of consumer engagement.  In terms of agnostic, it is one brand one voice.

What kind of a role did social media play in your recent campaign? You look at social media as a supportive medium or an individual one?

Social media amplifies in a different way and we use Twitter for amplification and social engagement. For example, we did the Idea Tweets 20, we didn’t have any national campaign around it but we believe everybody is on social media talking about the matches thus we try and engage with them. We had these memes that we would let out where people retweet it, comment on it and even forward it, so there were a lot of that kind of engagement. So social media for me is not just about amplifying the campaign but also having

Social media for me is not just about amplifying the campaign but also having conversations even when there are no national campaigns. We also have a lot of microsites like Popcorn Street, which are destinations where people can go and look what is happening in Bollywood or any cinema down South  or up North or Tech Talks which is our technology site and we promote a lot of that on social. Social for me is a hub that we use for advertising, promotional activities, and engagement; it’s really a collaboration of a lot of things and it is not by any means a support medium; it in fact is a very critical medium.

We have 3-5 national campaigns that go on television, so if I have to have somebody to talk on a daily basis, I can’t come back after 4 months and engage with my fans. I need to engage with them on a everyday basis, I cannot only use it to support my national campaigns. The engagement can be in terms of posts, promoting properties or holding a contest. We did a Social Quest last year where they had to complete tasks and promote it on social media and get friends to like, share, and comment on it.

How have the results on social media for the campaign been so far? Are there any more campaigns in the pipeline?

In January, we had our Easy Share campaign that was live on television and we created a big integration on the digital and radio medium to get people to pledge for data and to the people who have not been introduced to the world of internet. It started off as a Twitter poll where we asked people that what is it that they would like as a cause to be for which we could do some amount of internet sharing; we used people’s opinions which is child education and we would develop a campaign around it. We had everybody commenting on social and with every like we would donate 1mb data. We received about 1.7 million likes and 36k tweets which was an integral part of our activation, it was way beyond advertising. We also had a sharebale website that we created and again promoted that on social media so to give results, every campaign is evaluated beyond just likes but what is that improves the brand’s equity amongst its consumers

We always keep having campaigns in line, its like a constant calendar once in every 2 months. Currently, we are working on an activity ‘Raju Ban Gaya Director’ which is an engagement program that we have on our Popcorn Street which is heavily promoted even on social that is planned to happen around April. We are getting people who have a desire to make films and we give them an opportunity to work with a director; last year it was Imtiaz Ali, this year we are trying in a director of his repute or even bigger and get an opportunity to intern with the director if the film that he makes with his mobile actually gets selected by the director, the campaign will be heavily promoted through social.

Do you think big brands are missing out on new age platforms such as Snapchat and Periscope? Do you plan to leverage any such platforms?

We believe that we should not be on platforms to be fashionable but we need to be on platforms with like-minded people who believe in Idea philosophy. We are a very large brand and therefore we need to look at mediums that reach out to a large number of people, if you have very small number of people it becomes too niche for us to support it wholeheartedly. When we believe there is a campaign that merits the medium we will participate in it whether it is Instagram or Snapchat. It’s not like we need to be in everything for everything or it’s not like we will not go into those areas depending on what the creative idea the agency comes in and what the best medium used for that creative idea, is what we take as a choice medium.