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How Facebook is powering FMCG brands’ strategies in a digital world

The FMCG industry is on the cusp of change. The increasing penetration of mobile phones, combined with data democratisation has transformed the consumer life-cycle, disrupting the traditional AIDA (Attention/ Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) curve. People can go from discovery to purchase in a few seconds. This is a huge opportunity for the modern day marketer, and that’s where Facebook’s FMCG toolkit comes in. 

Facebook’s comprehensive toolkit is targeted at the modern day FMCG brands that are increasingly exploring the digital medium to reach their consumer and drive business. The FMCG toolkit for the marketer in the digital age operates on three critical pillars – Creativity, Measurement and Media Planning. 

In an exclusive interaction Adgully, Siddharth Banerjee, Director - Global Sales Organisation (GSO) at Facebook India, explained, “Consumers today are increasingly living in a digital world. There are some important things that the consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketers should know about. Facebook’s CPG toolkit is meant for marketers in a digital world. CPG and FMCG are two of the biggest sectors.” 

Banerjee throws more light on the CPG toolkit, strengthening FMCG brand’s digital strategies, and much more. Excerpts:  

Could you elaborate on this toolkit that you have presented to the CPG & FMCG clients?
The CPG toolkit is essentially our way of saying that there are 3 critical pillars that CPG marketers are operating in digital age should know about – Creativity, Measurement and Media Planning. 

Creativity: FMCG marketers are adept at doing great advertising on television. But with mobile phone emerging as the primary screen, and attention spans rapidly dropping, Facebook would like the marketer in the digital age to embrace this consumer-shift and rethink advertising with short-form mobile storytelling. Our recently launched initiative, Thumbstoppers, is one of the ways in which Facebook is building mobile creativity in the country. 

Facebook Thumbstoppers as a program explores dialogue and skilling for creative agencies, and inspiration and activation for brands. You can tell stories and move emotions in short periods of time, be it 6 seconds or 10 seconds. It is a first-of-its-kind program launched in partnership with leaders from the advertising industry – Ogilvy, Wunderman Thompson, Leo Burnett, McCann, MullenLowe Lintas Group, and Dentsu Aegis Network – to transform storytelling in mobile advertising. Unilever and Nestle are key partners on this initiative, with Gaurav Jeet Singh, General Manager, Media, South Asia at Unilever India, and Rashi Goel, VP Consumer Communications, Media and CRM at Nestle serving on the eminent jury for the Thumbstoppers Challenge. 

Measurement: While traditional media has been holistically evaluated for the FMCG industry up until now, robust sales ROI measurement for digital spends has been lacking. To bridge this gap, Nielsen India launched Custom Mix Modeling (CMM) in India, which is being piloted by Facebook. 

Mondelez is the first brand to successfully deploy CMM. In fact, recently Facebook hosted an event along with Nielsen that saw Anil Viswanathan, Marketing Director (Chocolate) at Mondelez India attend and talk about how this new measurement methodology has helped him understand his campaigns better. 

Facebook welcomes CMM, and feels that it finally settles the debate around marketing evaluation for FMCG by focusing on outcomes that marketers want. That’s what makes this an integral part of our FMCG toolkit. CMM can help FMCG marketers and advertisers with insights at multiple levels on a medium that is today almost 20 per cent of the total media portfolio. 

CMM has been launched with a retail panel of traditional trade outlets to collect sales data from sampled stores on a weekly basis. The weekly retail panel was launched in 8 major metros for 100+ brands across 16 FMCG categories With the CMM solution, apart from the impact of media platforms on sales, Nielsen will be able to provide the industry with benchmarks for digital ROI insights. Furthermore, with this solution Nielsen can set up quick tests that evaluate sales impacts of different creatives, ad formats, and placement decisions at a sales ROI level. When new brands are launched, especially on campaigns that are digital heavy, FMCG brand managers can get a quick sales ROI read using CMM. To give a specific example, Horlicks deployed CMM to understand the sales ROI impact of video versus static ads on Facebook, in addition to understanding the impact of each digital publisher in the 8 metros covered by the panel. 

Media Planning: Facebook has conducted a variety of studies to help FMCG brands understand the need to connect with audience segments that would be hard to reach on TV alone, such as younger audiences (ages 18–34) who are spending less time watching live TV and are multi-screening. Facebook has some proven examples of how TV and digital campaigns can complement each other and improve total campaign reach performance, as well as results in terms of moving mind measures and business outcomes. 

Mobile is stealing the amount of time spent on other media. Multi-screening is on the rise Big TV advertisers, such as from the FMCG industry, are known to spend more than 70-80 per cent of their marketing budgets on TV. With a massive shift in consumers’ media consumption pattern and the purchase cycle, only being on TV is not enough if brands want to tap into the consumers’ base early on in the overall purchase cycle. Hence, advertisers are moving on to Mobile/ Facebook as the new advertising screen. 

We’ve seen that cross-platform strategies are successful in increasing the reach efficiency of the campaigns. Our key focus is on working with the right set of creative strategy, media planning, and measurement tools to enable businesses and brands that invest in us to get the best outcomes. This makes the FMCG toolkit a much-needed instrument for the modern day marketer. 

How are you providing tailor made solutions for FMCG products to help them meet the special objectives?
We have two cornerstone of working with brands and organisations. First is being true to the marketing objective. We spend a lot of time in terms of defining the right objectives, right audiences and working to solve business problems. Second, we have a really strong measurement team which works very closely with brands and organisations to ensure that we are able to deliver the right business outcomes, which are linked to the business problems that we wanted to solve in the first place. 

With consumers increasingly spending more time on mobile, how can FMCG brands adapt to these consumers?
We had some interesting learnings coming out of a CPG summit that Facebook did recently, which saw a mix of big brands as well as interesting disruptor brands such as Raw Pressery, Mama Earth, etc. In order to adapt to the digital era, first of all brands need to understand the consumers and their habits. With changing media consumption habits and the changing percentage of time people spend on various tasks, the 24-hour clock has changed. 

Brands also need to understand the user’s journey in the digital world. Earlier, the journey used to be something that we all knew as AIDA – Attention/ Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. But today, that linear kind of a model is over and you can go from awareness to purchase in a matter of seconds. You see something online that excites you, you see some useful reviews and make up your mind quickly, do a trial purchase as some kind of return and assurances are built in. 

Moreover, companies need to find out the right way to look at measurements in real time and do course corrections, which was not there earlier when CPG players worked with traditional media. 

How does Facebook help agencies and brand partners shore up their mobile marketing strategies?
There are various capability initiatives that we run. We run our CPG toolkit across the 3 pillars. As explained earlier, the first is in terms of creativity. Thumbstopper workshops are taking place across a range of creative agencies in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. We have literally covered the whole eco-system, touching more than 1,000 creative people. The second is closely working with media buying and planning agency partners and building capabilities in terms of digital skills and platform skills, and that’s the constant area of focus for us. The third is in terms of media planning in the digital world, where we work closely with big agencies like GroupM, DAN, etc. We also work with brands and organisations; for instance, we recently put together a forum called the Media Heads Roundtable, where we talked about media planning in a digital age. 

How have all these initiatives been helping brands better their digital investments?
The whole focus for Facebook is about working with the right marketing of business objectives, with the right set of creative strategy and the right media planning and measurement tool. This enables businesses and brands that invest with us to get the most powerful business outcomes. 

How will this help media investments get a higher reach?
Different brands have different objectives – be it reach, frequency or engagement. Facebook believes in the philosophy of full funnel, where at the top funnel is awareness; the mid funnel is, what we call, consideration; while sales outcomes form the bottom funnel. We play across the funnel in terms of working with our brands and organisations through our partners to create powerful outcomes for them.

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