Monthly Archives: November 2011

Cellphones and Market Research

Cellphones have had a profound impact on many things in this world. It has not only revolutionized telecom industry but has also left its mark on how many operations are conducted and industries function. I want to specifically talk about a couple of areas where cellphone is changing the dynamics of the game.

First is market research. A big part of traditional market research is polls and surveys. Cold calls are made to people to ask questions. With more and more people carrying cellphones, it is harder for pollsters to get the complete attention of the survey taker. A person on the go is less inclined to waste time and money (cellphone minutes) speaking to a pollsters. You may argue that there are still a large number of landline phone connections out there to be sufficient for pollsters to meet their targets and form a decent sample. That may be true today, but it comes with a big caveat. Numbers show that a growing number of households with all members carrying a cellphone are opting out of getting a landline. This brings the sample down to households with a stay at home member who still values a landline. Add to it the bulk of people putting their (cell)phone numbers on the no call list and you get the complete picture. In short, traditional market research has had a big negative impact due to the advent of cellphones.

Second area I want to talk about here is social media. Cellphone has raised the amount of activities on social media dramatically. With a growing number of people carrying a cellphone with data connection, people are constantly connected to their favorite social network. They post their views, share recommendations and post pictures on social networks. This is live as it happens and is off the cuff without premeditated state of mind. You may argue that it is mostly coming from the younger generation, but the fact being average age of a person active on social media touching 40, that doesn’t seem to be the case. In other words, social media is having a big positive impact due to the growing use of cellphones.

Now bring these two areas together and you get what MavenMagnet is trying to leverage. We use social media as a base for our market research. We do not believe that traditional market research is to go anywhere anytime soon, but the kind of insights we can drive off social media can provide a more truthful and real perspective on concerned issues. These insights are derived without bothering the people by calling them or asking them questions, making cellphones a big asset for MavenMagnet market research.

From an advertising campaign to a social phenomenon

In layman terms, the goal of any advertising campaign is to create awareness. But every once in a while it happens that the advertising campaign evolves to be something much bigger than the original purpose of its inception. A few that come in mind are Santa Claus, Men in Blue and Wavin’ Flag.

Coca-Cola connection with the Santa Claus goes back about 80 odd years. It was in 1931 when Coca-Cola first released the campaigns with the man in red suit drinking the cola.  Over the years, Santa become more famous and got closer to Christmas.

It’s a known fact that the obsession Indians have with cricket is unmatched in the world. Cricket is religion in India and the top cricketer is nothing short of God. If you want to send a message to more than a billion people, the best language used is that of cricket. Pepsi adopted this language and the connection they drew was to the uniform of the cricket team. Pepsi became the official cola sponsor of the team and launched a campaign called “Men in Blue”. Over the years, Men is Blue became the alternate name for the Indian cricket team.

In more recent years, similar happened with the K’naan’s hit Wavin’ Flag. Coca-Cola picked the song to be the promotional anthem for 2010 FIFA World Cup. The song became incredibly famous and eventually became promotional anthem of every team sport out there.

Whether it’s a jolly old fellow becoming the mascot to bring joy and happiness to kids around the world or a fancy name becoming permanently attached to a sports team or a promotional anthem becoming a celebration song for every team sport, if you look back it all became a grand thing partly because an advertising campaign took charge.

Interestingly, none of these were created by the advertising campaign. Santa Claus was a character created much before Coca-Cola created its own version. But eventually Coca-Cola version took over. Indian cricket team wore a blue uniform for the shorter format of the game ever since colored uniform came to the game. But they started to be popularly known as Men in Blue after Pepsi ran the infamous campaign.  Wavin’ flag song was a Canadian hit much before Coca-Cola picked it for the FIFA world cup. But it became a global phenomenon after the Coca-Cola’s advertising campaign.

All these appear so awesome in retrospect but were definitely not planned to become social phenomenon. Advertising brains planned an outstanding campaign. Consumers adopted it and gave it a much bigger purpose than just an advertisement for the brand and the advertisers went along. The beauty is, after a while the audience emotional attachment with the brand is reversed. A seven-year old sees Santa drinking coke and draws a connection with coke. An Indian  cricket fan sees their favorite cricket team wearing Pepsi blue (even though Pepsi changed its color to match the cricket team’s) and gets attracted towards the cola. Talk about ROI, it’s just immeasurable. It’s working for years and it will be reaped by generations to come.