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Marketers find print media most effective to build trust and promote brands

(From left) Rajiv Dubey, head of media, Dabur India; Siddharth Bindra, managing director, Biba Apparels; and Sujata Dwibedy, group trading director, Amplifi, Dentsu Aegis Network India.Premium
(From left) Rajiv Dubey, head of media, Dabur India; Siddharth Bindra, managing director, Biba Apparels; and Sujata Dwibedy, group trading director, Amplifi, Dentsu Aegis Network India.

  • Print is the preferred platform for product sampling and for crisis management, say analysts
  • Fashion retailers and luxury brands leverage local editions of newspapers for events and activations

NEW DELHI : Marketers from a variety of brand categories, such as fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), automobiles, real estate and luxury goods, believe that leveraging the print media builds trust and credibility. The most common use cases for brands from these categories are product sampling, promotions, penetrating regional markets and building brand reputation.

According to a report by media agency Madison, advertising spend for print is expected to touch 20,446 crore in 2020, making it the second-biggest media platform after television in India.

“Print medium can build credibility of a brand through advertorial sponsorship and through editorial buildup, by enhancing the content experience without breaching the boundary of content with subtle branding, in addition to regular space advertising. When it comes to geo-targeting, print is one of the best bets, for retailers, real estate and many such categories," said Sujata Dwibedy, group trading director, Amplifi, Dentsu Aegis Network India.

Fashion retailers and luxury brands leverage local editions of newspapers for events and activations. It also helps when it comes to dealership ads or mentioning outlets for retailers or location.

Graphic by Paras Jain/Mint
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Graphic by Paras Jain/Mint

“Print is a good medium for a brand to make announcements around events and launches. It also serves as a good platform to show creatives, especially for the fashion industry. In a half- or full-page print ad, one can tell a brand story well. It’s a medium on which we have built the brand Biba in the initial years and we continue to leverage it across metros and smaller cities," said Siddharth Bindra, managing director, Biba Apparels Pvt. Ltd. Other apparel retail and saree brands, which use newspapers advertisements, include Fabindia, Greenways, Kalpana and, more recently, Taneira sarees from Titan.

Bindra said the company leans on newspapers for its sale promotions. “The only challenge with the medium is that it is not measurable."

If fashion brands rely on print to push their products, FMCG brands, too, continue to use the medium despite being a big advertiser on television. At Dabur India, print has found more salience for some of the company’s key brands, especially in local and regional dailies.

“Traditionally, Dabur has been a very television (advertising) heavy company. However, in the last three years there has been a gradual increase in our print expenditure which is opposite of what the industry has done," said Rajiv Dubey, head of media, Dabur India Ltd. The maker of Real juices and Vatika hair oil advertises in Hindi, Marathi, and English newspapers for its key brands.

Over the years, said Dubey, Dabur has increased its media spends towards print to roughly 18% in the current financial year up from 9% in the year-ago. “There has been a marked increase in our expenditure on print, it has become affordable for us. This has helped us get visibility with the right audience and helped create impact with our campaigns, especially in regional markets," said Dubey.

The number of brands that have been active on print has been overwhelming this year, Dubey added. “We are able to leverage print in a much better way and use it for tactical activities, such as promoting our Real juice gifting packs during Diwali, and advertising the benefits of Chyawanprash during winters in the north."

Advertising experts said newspapers also allow product sampling in a much simpler manner than any other medium. While sampling might have a lot of restrictions in terms of size and type, but it definitely leads to more trial than any other media.

“For our bathroom air freshener brand ‘Aer pocket’ we created a product sampling innovation through print. We printed a newspaper flap, which had fragrance infused into the paper. There was a dotted line around the creative and within the design, which guided a reader to cut, fold and create a product sampler which they could place in their bathrooms. It worked like a product for a single day," said Sunil Kataria, chief executive - India & Saarc, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd(GCPL).

Often marketers also find synergy between their brand purpose and editorial content. GCPL-owned insecticide brand HIT leverages seasonal disease outbreak reporting to promote the brand. “Today, once we get to know that there will be reporting around the disease, we respond by placing an ad for HIT which talks about how to combat the disease," Kataria added.

Like HIT, Hindustan Unilever Ltd(HUL)-owned hygiene brand Lifebuoy was also running ‘Help a child reach five’ campaign across print platforms to create awareness about the importance of hand washing to prevent diseases such as diarrhoea.

“While digital advertising continues to grow, print continues to be a force to reckon with considering its reach, longer shelf life and consumer habit. Our approach would also depend on factors such as the brand, pricing, target audience, geography and accordingly, we customize the execution," said an HUL spokesperson.

Amid the threat of misinformation on digital platforms, print has become the preferred platform for companies for crisis management and building trust. Nestlé India- owned instant noodle brand Maggi, for instance, heavily leveraged print to communicate about the product’s safety, build trust and eventually announced the relaunch of the brand after the end of a controversy surrounding food safety standards. Similarly, Coca-Cola dealt with the alleged presence of pesticides in its cola drink through effective print campaigns.

“People trust what gets reported, and start believing the picture that it draws. Hence, we see a lot of brands actually using this media to build reputation back and gain back equity with common people," said Dentsu’s Dwibedy.

For Titan-owned jewellery brand Tanishq print still accounts for half of the retailer’s media spends. “Print is one of the biggest media for Tanishq garnering almost 50% of our media spends," Ranjani Krishnaswamy, general manager, marketing, jewellery division, Titan Company Ltd said. Krishnaswamy added that for Tanishq, one of the key objectives for advertising is to promote walk-ins.

“Over the years we have seen that print is one medium which has generated walk-ins for us consistently. That has been borne out through experience as well as based on the extensive market-mix modelling we have done to gauge the effectiveness of advertising. One can’t deny the power of print in delivering the communication to a large section of the target consumer at one go," he said.

Krishnaswamy said that print works for the retailer that advertises heavily around local regional festivals. “One of the other big advantages with print is the ability to geo-target and serve different communication to each region with the least spill over. This is extremely useful for a jewellery advertiser like us since in India each region has its own design sensibilities and customs when it comes to jewellery."

Tanishq uses print campaigns to talk to shoppers about its new collections as well as offers. “Print works effectively for us to announce promotions, launch and showcase our collections and in building the brand as well," Krishnaswamy said.

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