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Moneka Khurana of MMA India on brand safety, fast-paced trends, & pandemic's impact

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Paawan Sunam
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Moneka Khurana MMA


Moneka Khurana of MMA India discusses the depleting shelf life of campaigns due to the constant and paced nature of trends, consumer inclinations from pandemic that now have a long-term impact on the A&M industry, and more.

Moneka Khurana, Country Head & Board Member India, MMA Global - India, a seasoned marketing professional with over 20 years of experience in the digital marketing sector, shares insights on acing concerns that the current set of marketers face on a real-time and frequent basis.

As a facilitator for modern marketing with experience in e-commerce, martech, and data, she highlights a few guidelines on brand safety in a hyper-sensitive media environment, improving the shelf life of a campaign, constant and fast-paced arrival and departure of trends, the long term impact of the pandemic on A&M industry, and more.

The Pandemic Effect

While a majority of the trends that were brought about by the pandemic have been short-lived, there has been a fundamental change in consumer behavior and their priorities when it comes to consumption of products and services, consequently having an impact on brand communications.

Moneka believes every consumer-driven trend that surfaces today is a big opportunity for the market, and the brand is forced to adapt to it, and brands need to connect to the consumers where they are spending most of their time.

During the pandemic, social media and short-format videos were the sticky trends that businesses were trying to adapt to, as there was a surge in consumers on these networks and consumption of this type of content.

Consumer trends and marketing trends are hand in glove, and she says that there are several trends that are not going away. She outlines consumption of products or services with the convenience or with the comfort of home is not going away. Online shopping across categories and not just groceries, and online health consultancy, are a few examples of this inclination.

"This has forced marketers to gear up and build stronger and seamless omnichannel experiences. Platforms have refreshed offerings and have made them more immersive and interactive. These are a few areas that would not see any downward trend".

The Fast-Pace Of Changing Trends

The number of trends that we see come and go during a certain period of time has grown at an exponential rate. There are far more trends being hyped up and discarded at a rapid speed than there were a few years ago. This fast-paced changing nature of trends may also have an impact on the shelf-life of a campaign; what consumers are inclined to today may not like tomorrow.

Sharing insights on dealing with this constantly changing environment, Moneka shares that marketers need to remain futuristic in their outlook. "Our guidance has been to always remain the pioneering community when it comes to marketing."

"It allows you to build a learning curve and experience this environment. It will help you capture the consumers' attention when you try and do something more futuristic or new age and engage in an immersive manner. You will be able to build more buyers and engagement, along with creating a little bit the excitement and showcase yourself as more relevant", she adds.

Moneka also shares that the futuristic approach can also backfire if the brand is not ready in terms of capabilities and the right expertise. "So unless you're ready, it's best to just not do it. It allows you to engage better, but you have to be able to identify the right use cases".

Also Read: Rahul Talwar of Max Life on transforming a number into a humane narrative

Brand Safety

A brand-safe environment in this day and age is turning out to be a pipe dream of marketers. In the hyper-sensitive environment, an intention of "doing the right thing" or making a "politically correct statement" may also cause a backlash often times, the campaign or ad film appearing next to a detrimental trend also directly or indirectly harms the brand and its image.

The surge in digital consumption and various advertising touchpoints has made it crucial for brands to tailor their brand communications and monitor their distribution.

Social media has been touted to harm brand safety directly or indirectly on several occasions. While social media platforms have brand safety tools and practices in place, brands need to make sure their campaign is not seen next to a detrimental trend.

For instance, several negative trends appear on social media on a frequent or daily basis. A campaign, ad film, or creative appearing next to a negative or detrimental trend can be perceived to be capitalizing on a certain situation.

Remarking on this concern of marketers, Moneka states that as content is continuously being published in real-time on social media, the age-old term of online reputation management needs to be prioritized with active listening. "This is how you will always have the pulse of what is trending, popular hashtags, and the key topics which are in focus."

"Having an agile and strategy-first approach is important, and work closely with a partner to make sure that you recognize the issue and then take the giant calls, of whether you want to be present or not want to be present in that period. And if you want to be present in that period, how do you want to be represented" she adds.

Brands that have a high emotional quotient can also position their communication with the right kind of messaging. "Advice from all experts and even from bodies like us in these times is it needs to be treated with empathy; this is the time to sort of support. And it will pay off later, and that's when the consumer will remember your contribution and will probably see you as purpose-driven and therefore will want to stick by you".

Moneka also outlines the risks of dispensing media spends in an uninformed manner. "If you are doing paid media in the wrong places in the wrong way, you run a huge financial risk, so it's important to have brand safety tools in place which are guarding the brand from misappropriation of funds or in terms of being visible in environments, which are not suitable or relevant for the brand."

Tools that notify you in real-time, have customized controls for distribution of campaigns, filtration of channels not suitable for the brand, and assessment of negative scenarios can help maintain brand safety, adds Moneka. "In today’s era, it is something that could not have a 'set and forget' mode; rather it needs ultra-careful diligence with emerging challenges in new media environments".

If you're not a winning marketing organization, you're a lagging marketing organization.

Moneka Khurana

Impact Brand Safety pandemic MMA India fast-paced trends Moneka Khurana