Does real-time communication facilitate stronger brand building?

An idea of seeing everything happening in real-time is not very dated but a recent one and it is well-entrenched in the socio-cultural behaviour of the consumers across the world. Social media and its omnipresence have only established this into an accepted norm and with this brand, communicators have adapted themselves by using real-time communication to benefit their brands.

Socially-connected networks provide a great opportunity to brand communicators to develop, and deploy messages into these networks, which become self-propagating at a rapid pace. A potential to reach out substantial audience in almost real-time and at a much lesser cost. The nature of social media is to generate response among the people to talk about and discuss what is happening at any current moment.

Often one can find a lot of conversations going around in social media on a multitude of topics like public events, sports, award ceremonies, holidays, political developments, and latest news-led discussions. This presents an opportunity for brand messages to be pushed into such conversations, which can elicit interest among the audience. Another aspect of this is that it also triggers a sharing behaviour leading to the enhanced dissemination and reach of brand messages.

Various researches have indicated that in social media emotions like surprise and arousal drive the sharing behaviour among the target audience. These emotions are often characterised by an activated state of mind that enhances the consumers’ attention towards the brand messages similar to good word-of-mouth for any brand.

In social media conversations, the use of hashtags is ever prevalent. Conversations are created through them and developed in the social media space, where consumers look or search for something specific topic of discussions. Many times, as against creating specific hashtags by the brands, it could be just riding over the existing hashtags on a real-time basis, being in the moment could be a winning strategy for reaching out brand messages to a large audience instantaneously.

Interestingly, a multitude of factors like surprise element, the unpredictability of the moment, originality, creativity & meaningfulness of the messages and creation of new hashtags or riding over the relevant and available hashtags play a significant role in the success of such campaigns. Another aspect of this becoming successful is when the brands can leverage visual imagery in such real-time marketing communications. A creative, impactful, and meaningful content, riding over any trend in social media on a real-time basis has much higher potential to engage the audience and trigger stronger word-of-mouth.

If the brands can link messages to the content and context of the ongoing conversations, they stand to benefit most as in such a scenario, they can leverage the cascading effect of networked communications much better. Brands, to leverage real-time communication, need to clearly understand immediacy and relevance, and that can bring significant gains in the way they disseminate the brand messages and reap benefits of an extended reach.

Brands, which take a little bit of risk and present an authentic communication that provides value at almost every touchpoint then they would have addressed it well. Also, real-time marketing communication provides a much smaller window of turnaround time when it comes to conceptualising, executing, and delivering the brand campaigns. High degree commitment to new skills, use of technology, flexibility in the process of developing campaigns, collaborative approach between brand strategists and analytics personnel and sometimes even going through a process of trial and error, all of them play a role in making the real-time communications effective.

A constant and real-time listening, eye for observing relevant trends, conversations, and discussions in social media to ride upon and a savviness for the emerging technologies have now become essential for brand communicators to help them leverage the benefits of real-time communication.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Praveen Nagda
Praveen Nagda is the CEO of Peregrine Public Relations, a full-service corporate communications and public relations consultancy firm delivering a pan-India reach to its clients. He also heads White Coffee, an independent events & celebrity engagement company.

Praveen has been closely associated with many national and international events related to cinema for children, art and culture. He has a well-rounded experience that cuts across all key sectors of PR & Corporate Communications.

He started his career with URJA Communications, an advertising agency specialising in technology brands, where he was instrumental in developing the PR division. Post this, he had a stint with Horizons Porter Novelli, a global public relations consultancy. Thereafter, he was heading the IT & Telecom division at Clea PR, a leading Indian public relations and communications company followed by a fairly long stint with Omnicom Group agencies viz. TBWA\India and Brodeur India.

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