The past two years acted as an eye-opener for many traditional brands, reinstating the value of digital marketing in the modern world. A number of brands, established and new, refocused their marketing strategies to suit the new world order and Shyam Steel is one of them. Not just did the brand improve its digital presence by updating its website and launching an app that allows customers to directly explore products, order, and purchase digitally, even on an EMI, but it also increased its marketing activities on digital.
VP Marketing Megha Beriwala, in a recent conversation with e4m, shared how the brand was approaching marketing now.
Speaking about the impact of the pandemic on the brand, she said, “Before the pandemic there were only a few brands that could call themselves digital-first. Marketing only meant TV or print, and digital was only a way to get feedback from consumers. But pandemic put the larger role of the medium in perspective for us. Since then, we have made very conscious and targeted efforts to utilise digital channels for better consumer outreach and relationship building.”
The first step for the brand to take a digital approach was to improve its social media presence. “We had our social media handles but none were active before the pandemic. We proactively improved our social media presence with a lot of relatable and relevant content to the users.”
Currently, Shaym Steel’s Instagram account has 13.3K followers and 1.04 million people are following its Facebook page.
In addition to that, the brand also improved its association with brand ambassadors – Virat Kohli, Anushka Sharma, Lovlina Borgohain and Sonu Sood.
Speaking about them, Beriwala quoted, “Virat (Kohli) has been associated with the brand for a long time and bringing Anushka on board was a natural decision for us, as the couple has a pan-India appeal. We then added Sonu Sood to the mix because of his role in the pandemic and how his values matched seamlessly with what the brand stands for. He was very approachable and humane and that made him the perfect fit for us. All of them, in fact, have worked exceptionally well for us both in terms of increasing brand visibility and sales. We are closely working with a lot of regional influencers and ambassadors as well like Lovlina Borgohain as they have a strong appeal in their markets.”
The regional focus is something that the brand wants to keep improving over time. Beriwala explained, “We were earlier dominant only in the eastern market but now we are slowly entering into newer areas. It makes it very important that we reach out to the new set of consumers in their own voice and manner. Therefore, regional content and outreach is core to our marketing strategy.”
The brand, therefore, does a lot of relationship-building and advertising activities for dealers, distributors, and construction companies as well. “We keep inviting people to our regional offices and introducing them to the brand. Because, obviously, a consumer seldom makes direct purchases of products like ours. They might know us from our ads but the final word that they would trust is of their builder or dealer. So, we engage the whole ecosystem to make sure that our brand remains top of their minds.”
Additionally, advertising is playing a key role in promoting the brand. “From TV to digital, to print, to outdoor, advertising is crucial to us. We have started spending more; earlier we would only utilise about 30 per cent of the marketing budget approved but now it has reached 70-80 per cent. And it will only grow as we expand further in other markets. We realise that we need to have a regional connection and the context needs to be translated across markets. So, that remains a core focus area for us,” Beriwala noted.
Occasion-based marketing remains popular with the brand as well. “We are quite big across festivals when it comes to Outdoor and other BTL activities. For example, we were predominantly present in the Odisha market during Rath Yatra and are doing similar outreach activities in Bihar and Jharkhand for the month of saawan. During Durga Puja, we will amplify our on-ground presence in Bengal, and that’s how we ensure that we are reaching our target audience effectively and efficiently.”
The brand also indulges in a lot of CSR and other social activities to go beyond the expected. “We want the consumers to trust us and we want to be with them in times of need,” Beriwala shared.
Television, too, remains a trusted medium for the brand. “We are actively present on Hindi and other regional channels across genres like GEC and News. Prime time advertising has worked quite well for us and we will continue to do that. We also have a very sharp regional approach to TV advertising. For example, in Bihar, while people prefer to watch news in Hindi, the GEC content is favoured on Bhopuri channels. So, we curate a media mix accordingly. We are reading into all data available to make the most informed decisions.”
Simultaneously, the brand is partnering with award shows, movie premiers, and weekend content on television to extend their reach among the consumers.
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