It's a Mad-Tech world
CONSUMER INFLUENCE: Content is at the heart of all of improved user experience.
DViO Digital stirs a melting pot of creative content, technology, and digital media to concoct engaging matter for long-term brand loyalty. Sowmya Iyer, founder and CEO, and Shyam Sunder, consultant, share their insights
Digital brands in the UAE are keen to experiment with various media channels as technology undergoes constant evolution, and DViO Digital is at the forefront of exploring its potential.
"'Mad-tech' - be it ad-tech, marketing tech, experiential technology, or content tech - is not a choice anymore. People have integrated artificial intelligence in some way or another. If you are on digital as a brand, then you cannot escape technology. You have to apply it in the fastest and best way possible," said Sowmya Iyer, founder and CEO, DViO Digital.
Established around 11 years ago, the digital marketing company currently stands as one of the largest independent marketing companies in three locations - the UAE, India and Southeast Asia.
"In Mena, there is a lot of willingness to experiment with new things. With Burjeel Hospital, for example, we have employed Augmented Reaity (AR) to create engagement, gamification that creates consumer value in a physical environment," Iyer said.
DViO Digital incorporates an incubator of creative tech and digital initiatives to integrate cutting-edge technology in the consumers' journey towards brands - starting from the point where the consumer starts to seek a business or its products to how technology is integrated at each step until the sale is completed.
"It's a dynamic world out there, where any piece of content you're creating has to adapt itself to the platform, to the format. We specialise in integrating platforms, tech, formats and user experience (UI/UX) to deliver the right kind of content for brands.
"Content is at the heart of all of these things, including augmented reality (AR) and voice searches. When the entire digital ecosystem is changing around you, your media ecosystem is also changing, and content needs to be adapted to these formats," Iyer added.
Beyond ad pitches
The future of advertising lies in marketing content in a way that doesn't feel like a commercial pitch.
"As we've gotten to the time and age where many businesses are fighting for a single consumer's attention, more and more consumers are valuing brands that seem to want to add value to their lives, not just sell a product to them," said consultant Shyam Sunder.
In this case, content plays an important role, leading to brand credibility driven by a community of users.
"It's not the plug, but more of a responsibility to offer content that is relevant and contextual. Today, consumers can make out what is sponsored and what is not sponsored; it's obvious on some platforms," he added.
To combat this, consumers need to be given enough time to research and decide which brand to side with. And this is where influencers step in.
Iyer has authored an article an article on influencer marketing and has created a campaign effectiveness measurement tool called the "authenticity meter". "It directly defines the effectiveness of an influencer marketing campaign," she said.
The concept of influencers is constantly redefined, and according to Iyer, people that intimately engage with a brand and voluntarily create content for it is what she considers influencers. They stand on the effective side of the scale, as credible sources for brands that lead to a loyal following.
According to Sunder, companies need to look into ways to acquire customers in an organic manner.
"You've got to make sure that you create rich content that can reach customers, then create engagement, which could lead to sales. This is where DViO is an investment. We believe that if we put in the right investment and the right effort into creating rich content, then an organisation can excel in any market," he said.
According to Iyer, a committed spend of 30 to 35 per cent on appropriate tech adoption could boost the marketing process, thus creating organic sales.
Integration at top level
"When you have 98 per cent of businesses offline and created a brick-and-mortar infrastructure, then you will remain dominant in physical space. I understand that other global businesses have 10 per cent online contribution to offline, but here, it's still at two per cent. There's a long way to go, but in two to three years, this phenomenon will hit the region, and we need to break in on this experience," said Sunder.
Iyer added that because traditional businesses have grown to such an extent, the adoption of digital content has to happen at the top level.
"You cannot have a digital manager come in and start making changes to the organisation. Education, awareness and adoption has to happen at the executive level. Only then will there be openness to try new technology, to integrate it in a way that can create real business impact," Iyer said, adding that this could otherwise turn into a PR exercise with no direct impact on the business.
The business leaders are the ones who have the vision to see how this technology can come into the business and change operations. Therefore, DViO Digital has been dedicated to evangelising digital at the leadership level, the CEO level, and at the CMO level. The company aims to integrate and truly reel in digital transformation; if not business, at least where marketing activities are concerned.
Sowmya Iyer, founder and CEO, DViO Digital.
Shyam Sunder, consultant.