Mindsets of Indian FMCG Brand Managers for Digital

By Sanjeev Singhai.

Mindsets of Indian FMCG Brand Managers for Digital: It’s been now over two and half years, I have been keenly keeping eye on Digital Space and how marketers & Brand Managers are preparing themselves to make most out of their brands in the World of Internet? And as I work with most of the leading FMCG clients of India, I vocally started asking few questions to various brand custodians in last 7-8 months:

1) What you are doing in space of Digital?: This is one question where most (and almost all) gave same answer – “nothing much.” Some answers were – that we have yet to start, we are currently finalising our digital strategy, we are in process of appointing a digital head etc, in other words connoting to the same meaning.

2) What do you think of promoting your brand?: To my surprise most of FMCG marketers do not feel very confident about digital way forward for theirs brands and are betting their cents  on traditional ways and means of promoting products. Most of the people feel that it’s a long way to go for Digital penetration in India and currently user base is very small to make any impact for them and hence can be kept at bay. Most of Brand Managers feels that people mostly access internet from office, it represents urban and is male dominated. Internet users does not represent masses.

3) What are the activities you have taken up in Digital Space recently?: We have Facebook page for our brand and XXX people have liked our page, we are doing internet advertising too, we did SMS campaign, were the standard answers of FMCG marketer.

But if you ask anyone that are you interacting with consumers on facebook page? Answers was always – NO. Accept one person I have met so far, non is thinking beyond the Facebook page.

Fears of FMCG marketers:

One biggest revelation of my probing was the INSECURITY the brand mangers are living in when they think of digital strategy. No one want to put their products on Consumer Review websites. Everyone first think that what if people start talking about negative about my brand? How I will monitor and moderate/ tackle, if my competition starts negative word around my brand. I cant leave my brand loose on internet on mercy of nobody.

Mode of Denial:

Its not that all FMCG owners are not paying attention on building content around the brand in Digital space but most Brand Managers feels that building content for their brands/ category will not help them in future in taking up their brands. According to them the content which they will build today is not relevant down the line a year or two and prefers to wait for internet penetration to grow in India and appropriate time to come.

Some facts about FMCG Brand Managers:

Only handful of Brand Managers have active twitter profiles.

Facebook profile is very personal and only for know friend, relative and peer circle.

Hardly any of them are actively participate on Linkedin.

There is no popular blog on FMCG or grocery products or by FMCG marketer.

There is no dedicated FMCG or grocery website in India except www.HomeTesterClub.com

Video content is no where in minds of FMCG markers largely. Mobile is not part of digital and means SMS for most of Brand Managers.

To Conclude:

Over 110 million user of India is minuscule for Brand Managers and is not much and they do not have clue that this user base will get doubled by beginning of 2013. According to most of BMs broadband penetration is very less but they do not have idea that at what pace the same is growing? I wonder and has no clue how the situation will change and when the FMCG marketers will turn to digital with their brands?

  • http://www.aaramshop.com Vijay Singh

    Hi Sanjeev, could not agree more with your observations on the concerns that a lot of FMCG / CPG brand managers have around usage of digital to engage with their consumers. While it is changing, the pace is slow.

    However, wanted to highlight our digital initiative specifically created for the FMCG / CPG brands where in we are creating web-fronts for thousands of neighborhood grocers, enabling consumers to use the web / mobile interfaces to order their preferred brand from their trusted grocer. Please visit http://www.aaramshop.com

    Happy to answer any questions that you might have. And thrilled to see your efforts on the educational front. Congratulations.

    • Sanjeev

      Dear Vijay,

      Thanks for Your response.

      I am aware about your project and studied the same in great deal last year when I was wanting to launch ecommerce project and had invested great deal of amount in my project OnGoShop. But after moving forward in to fair advance stage and speaking to top FMCG heads decided to pull back. In fact to be very frank, a lot of credit goes to you for making arrive me on the decision, thanks. Please don’t take me wrong but I had your case study at my disposal for my learning.

      I will be happy to share my experiences and understanding with you and may be assistant. Please feel free to write to me directly at sanjeevrc@gmail.com.

      Thanks mate for your compliments on my school project. I need more helping hands on the same as those are never enough.

      Regards,
      Sanjeev