Percept in the News

A brand that urges youth to “open up” and be themselves
23 December, 2013

The emotional need to express oneself is very huge among the youth and it is this need that Tata DoComo, the GSM brand of Tata Teleservices, has tapped through its positioning and the specific campaign that urges the young to “open up”. Through its leadership in the digital media space, the brand has established a strong connect with the younger generation. Rashi Bisaria of Pitch spoke to Ritesh Ghosal, Head, Brand Marketing about the brand’s youthful image, its insightful youth products and its connect with the millennials.

What is the reason behind the connect between the youth and Tata Docomo?
Unlike other brands of telecom that are reacting to the demographic dividend by trying to include the youth in their narrative or even the ones self-consciously donning the garb of youth in advertising, Tata Docomo is a brand created in the 21st century for the youth of the 21st century. The youth of today is more self-confident, self-possessed and ambitious than in any previous generation. Growing up surrounded by a world of brands and bombarded by a cacophonous clutter of advertising from childhood, he is far more brand and advertising literate. Tall claims of product efficacy are viewed with suspicion, dumb advertising is decried. Brands for him are a means of self-expression rather than a mere assurance of quality – in other words, brands are all about standing out rather than conforming. He likes advertising that treats him as an intelligent person – he prefers sophisticated narratives, humour that is not slapstick and messages that invite him to draw his own conclusions. Tata Docomo’s brand architecture built around a colourful logo, whimsical signature tune, insightful products and slice-of-life advertising are all carefully chosen to deliver to the youth’s demand for self-expression. The brand’s conversation starts with the advertising – “looks at me because I am different from your current operator” and culminates in the service experience – simple and transparent tariffs, reliable network and helpful customer care.
Is it only focused at the youth?
The youth are the inspiration for the brand without a doubt. However, our definition of youth is a state-of-mind rather than a strictly defined age cutoff. With over 50% of the subscribers over the age of 25, the brand clearly attracts people who aspire to the self-confident, self-assured ideal projected by the brand irrespective of their date of birth.
How have the specific youth campaigns worked for Tata Docomo? Are there any measurable results that can be shared?
Tata Docomo through its insightful youth products – Buddynet that allowed customers to enjoy “friend & family” tariffs with an unlimited number of friends, Daily Plans that allowed customers to shop for their telecom needs by the day from the comfort of their homes, a reverse caller tune that safeguards the user from being exposed to annoying caller tunes, unlimited data and voice plans, etc – has created a large and committed base of youth. The brand attracts the business of affluent youth for whom conversations happen not just through voice but online too. With nearly half the customers below the age of 25, the highest penetration of data usage, preference next only to Airtel and a disproportionate share of the Smartphone market, Tata Docomo has achieved significant success with the millenials.
What is the idea behind the “Open Up” campaign?
“Open Up” is born in the universal human insight that there are many situations in everyday life where people have to make the choice between saying what they really feel and staying quiet. Further, the burden of unshared emotions, unsaid pieces, etc stay with people and can even create regrets for a lifetime. By picking slice-of-life situations and depicting real protagonists overcoming their hesitation and speaking up, the campaign instigates the viewer too to simply open up and express their real selves. It is a voice of inspiration – a motivating force that nudges people to speak up rather than stay silent. It highlights the Brand’s commitment to facilitate conversations through uncomplicated, value for money products enabling people to speak for longer and more often. It is an attempt to own conversations from the perspective of the speaker- the person paying for the conversation and therefore, the person Tata Docomo depends on for its existence. The beauty of “Open Up” is that it applies equally well to conversations on the internet and on voice; one-to-one and one-to-many conversations; and friends and family or strangers. Basically, it does justice to the entire portfolio of products and services a telecom operator can aspire to offer.
Regional languages are also being used to communicate. What regions is DOCOMO targeting in India?
Tata DOCOMO’s strategy is based on establishing a strong connect with the youth – in his media, his language and his life-context. This explains our choice of media – TV, digital and radio as also the languages we communicate in. We are targeting the youth and young-at-heart across the country.
How has Docomo achieved a fanbase of 14 million on Facebook?
Tata DOCOMO realized very early that Digital is the medium of the future –especially for a brand interested in engaging the youth. Our digital strategy is based on five core objectives: Building engagement, establishing One-to-One conversations, advocacy through positive word of mouth, constant accessibility to consumer and giving a credible platform to connect with the brand.The core objectives are aligned with the Brands promise of being refreshingly different and offering genuine engagement. Consistency in communication has been a significant attraction for our consumers as well as fans in the digital medium. Unlike others we have not seen digital as an Organisation Reputation Management (ORM) exercise; our efforts since the beginning have been to offer “Money can’t buy experiences” to consumers and create a fan base that truly engages with the brand. Our efforts today have made us one of the top recalled brands on social media and our community is amongst the most engaged communities on the social media. We are also one of the largest online businesses in the country today.
Elaborate on the tie-up with the Sunburn festival and what does it mean for Docomo?
The association with Sunburn festival ( Collejing from the house of Sunburn) allows us to be a part of the youth’s passion for their music. Many young people with the talent for music, never “open up” to their talent or give themselves an opportunity to get up on the stage and perform. We intend to reach out to over 200 colleges across 20 cities and anoint “Spin Masters” in every city where the collejing gig will happen and bring them to a stage where the world appreciates and applauds their talents. It’s an attempt to create a story where passion plays the central role. Sunburn festival has become a gold standard for EDM music in India and this genre of music is rapidly gaining mind space amongst the youth. Collejing, from the house of Sunburn, is a series of EDM gigs by reputed performers that will perform live across ten cities, exclusively for college students. For us there are obvious synergies, as a brand we believe that the best way to engage the young is to have a two way conversation rather than just advertising the brand. What could be a better platform than this, to identify young DJs who get a chance to open EDM gigs on the Sunburn platform. The youth wants freedom to open up and create a tribe unique to its needs. Tata Docomo Spin Master is one such tribe that we want to fuel, just as we did BuddyNet and Tata Docomo Rockstar earlier.