Engagement through collaterals

In the age of social media, engagement is the holiest word, and why shouldn’t it be? We are connected, we are networked, we are linked, cutting across the borders of countries, states, and towns for that matter. Distances have been minimised, boundaries have diminished, social barriers have broken, and outreach enhanced amid the boom in networked devices being used for fun, entertainment, education, and work.

In the age of traditional advertising, decades ago as young learners of the art and science of communications, we would often hear this word called ‘collaterals,’ before any launch campaign. It would always assume a highly significant position during the campaign planning stages, and a lot of discussions would remain focused on their type, design, placement, size, quantities, in-shop, onsite, and so on. Sometimes, we’d be so intrigued by the attention received by collaterals, we’d believe them to be more important than the campaign itself.

Charisma around collaterals has remained alive even today. And the reason probably is the fact that the collaterals have an excellent ability to offer the best exposure to any brand at the physical touchpoints. Whether it is a dangler hanging on a shop or flyer coming in as a newspaper insert, or a tear-away coupon on a product giving some trigger for contest participation, it always catches an eye, generates an interest, provides a choice, and entices the consumer towards making a purchase decision.

Something that you can look at, touch, feel, and experience at varied and multiple touchpoints has its charm, and that makes collaterals the key components of any brand campaign. In the ‘online’ driven marketing environment today, collaterals have found their way into the virtual world too. It’s very common to observe the campaign consistencies nowadays offline and online.

Today, when you have a festival-led campaign and create special collaterals that are meant to be used as a point of purchase (POP) material, we find their virtual avatars being prominently visible in the e-campaigns via social media platforms. Similar looks and feel are adapted, and creatives are customised for Facebook pages, Twitter, and Instagram posts. This established a strong brand connect, establishes brand salience, brand differentiation, and brand attention by cutting the clutter and reinforcing the brand messages.

Social media platforms are being used to run online campaigns to cross leverage the physical outreach of POP material. Buying a product and entering a contest via their social media platforms is a classic example of such an activity. Communicating through a product wrapper and encouraging the consumer to participate in a Twitter trend through a #hashtag is another example of using the collaterals to build an engagement with the audience. Taking a selfie with the product and posting it with a #hashtag on an Instagram handle and tagging the brand is one more similar example.

What brands are doing is simply reaching out to the available touchpoints through creatively designed collateral material and triggering a conversation in the social media space thereby exploring new and potential audiences. Having engaged these new audiences, the brands are aiming to convert them into their customers. Brands are also building loyalty, trust, and are creating a strong support base among their current and potential users leveraging the collaterals.

In the recent past, many events have gone virtual, they have physical-lookalike grand virtual entrances, meeting rooms, lobbies, conference halls, seminar rooms, and all of which are filled with branding done in creative ways. Entering such virtual events also give you a visual feel and experience of near to reality. The virtual collaterals here can deliver a realistic experience even in an online environment of execution.

Best use of collaterals via design, creative messaging, interesting engagement at the physical level, and leveraging the same with the social media channels can create multi-fold value for the brand.

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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