Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Reebok India creates a ‘digital flash mob’

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at http://puma-pulse.blogspot.com

Zenith Comment: Nice idea, taking a 'tired' idea and freshening it up with digital.  When using the dream team application again, could we consider ideas around having users upload a picture of their team 'playing'? Could consider having an option that allows users to develop a local team to make it easier for them to do this.

Flash mobs in the public domain are passé. Giving a whole new twist to the concept of flash mobs, Reebok India created a digital version of the same with ‘Flex a Move’ initiative, taking its online consumer engagement strategy a notch up. With that Reebok has once again created a two way engagement completely enveloping the consumer in the brand.
Prompted by the success of its EasyTone butt shaking videos that went viral on the net, Reebok India has in fact gone ballistic on the digital media platform. The latest campaign is part of its promotions for its RealFlex range of footwear.
The company explains the rationale behind the creation of the interactive campaign, which asked Facebook users to upload their dance videos, which were later telecast on both Facebook and Youtube. The company says that it was to do something innovative to drive home the USP of the RealFlex range of footwear.
 “After the success of the EasyTone Butt videos, we firmly believe that user generated content takes the user and brand relationship to the next level. ‘Flex a Move’ emerged from a combination of these two needs. These were the need to popularise the USP of flexibility of RealFlex footwear and the need to engage with our consumers in a way that we could add some value in their lives. By encouraging users to copy the dance moves and send us a video, we indirectly encouraged them to initiate some form of fitness in their lives,” adds Sajid Shamim, Brand Director, Reebok India. For the record the brand has repositioned itself as a fitness brand.
Kicking it
However, the company was initially skeptical of bringing the concept of flash mobs to the digital platform.  “At the outset we were slightly skeptical about the response as it’s not the easiest thing to copy and record a dance move and then upload the video. However we really believed in the idea and went ahead only to be pleasantly surprised! The number of people who went through the application, liked it, used it, viewed it etc was way beyond our expectation and it reflected that even consumers liked the whole idea of an online flash mob.”
The application saw 30,000 people talking about the brand daily and crossing the 15 lakh mark to make Reebok the 15th biggest Facebook community in India. In addition the first flash mob created 500 plus fans uploading dance videos. The other activities on the domain were the creation of page twist on In.com and dancing icon on Yahoo homepage.
Indeed the flash mob concept is a novel idea of a two way communication between the brand and the consumer. Sushma Y Jhaveri, COO, Madison Media Infinity, agrees, “It’s a new way of engaging the consumer.  Besides the idea being quite engaging, it’s important that it works for the brand / product.  In this case it brings out the product USP in an engaging manner hence should work.”
Yashraj Vakil, COO, Red Digital Media, too feels that since the identity of Reebok’s products is extremely visual and being a B2C youth centric brand, the internet is the best medium to depict the brand’s cool quotient among its young TG.
A youthful approach
It is true that to connect with the youth, the most effective way of marketing is the online marketing. Young population mainly visits social networking and entertainment websites, such as Facebook, Orkut, Twitter, YouTube and does not readily consider print media for purchase decision.
Agreeing upon that, Shushmul Maheshwari, Chief Executive, RNCOS, earlier told Pitch that for targeting the youth of the country, the most affordable and effective mode of marketing is digital marketing. He added, “For instance, advertisements on social networking websites and special offers regarding the products of the company usually attract the young population.” Reebok on its part engages the consumer with freebies like trial passes for gyms, discounts on fitness products, fitness related daily SMS.
Vakil  also says that it is a better move to encompass various forms of social media platforms rather than just creating microsites, as the latter does not guarantee traffic from the right TG.
Two-pronged strategy
The brand also created quite a buzz in the market with award winning online campaigns for its other products as well. The company invests 30 per cent of its ad spends in digital where its strategy is two-fold. Shamim explains, “When we forayed aggressively into the digital medium our primary objective was to expand our fan base and secondary objective was engagement. Now the objectives have reversed. Now and in the long run we will focus on engagement and making every effort to usher fitness into the lives of our consumers.”
For constant engagement Reebok has created TMA (Tone My Avatar), which is always active and available on its Facebook Page. TMA allows the user to create their own online fitness partner and follow a set of exercises done by their own virtual avatar to burn calories and tone their body.
Mobilising sales
The company also focuses strongly on mobile marketing. Since India has 13.2 crore Smartphone users, Reebok tries to reach out to those with either an active or passive interest in sport or fitness.
On the importance of the newly emerging medium, RNCOS’s spokesperson said that an ad on mobile phone has distinct feature where a click on the ad can connect the user directly to the sales representative of the particular product, or can send an SMS requesting for the tariff plans of the product. This provides a better consumer response to mobile advertiser and confirms its attractiveness over other means of advertising.  Jhaveri, too adds, “It’s not just a marketing medium, it helps sales as well.  It’s growing very fast and should accelerate growth in near future.”
Overall, Reebok feels that the power of the digital marketing lies in the one to one conversations a brand can do with the user, opening the way for a horizontal or two way communication. However, the challenge is to initiate and keep these conversations engaging which is where the need to be innovative and unique steps in.
Moreover, Professor Satya Bhushan Das, IIM Lucknow, adds another word of caution, “After appearance of online marketing, the traditional marketing practices are to be completely changed. As per current marketing practice in digital era consumers specifically youth look for advocacy and referrals for evaluating the product even after purchase. Customers use product once they are convinced that people in their social network are enjoying after using the product. Putting post purchase feedback in online websites would make more engaging with brands like Reebok. After continuous engagement eventually youth will form bonding with brand for long term.”

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