Consumers will make mobile devices their key TV screens
Brands need to supply mobile screens with compelling content
What’s the time? Let me check my phone.
Is it going to rain today? Let me check my phone.
Did you see how gorgeous her wedding dress was? Really, let me check my phone.
What a beautiful sunset! Wait, let me get my phone.
Do you want to play Scrabble? Cool, let me get my phone.
Did you pay your phone bill? Oops, let me check my phone.
Did you see who won Master Chef? No, let me check my phone.
It’s true. Our phone is now a part of us. It is not some tool or appliance we use for a specific purpose; it is the medium through which we interact with our lives. My teenage cousin spells this out perfectly: “I don’t care if I lose my wallet. But if I lose my phone, it will be the end of the world!”
We use our phones for almost everything, right from the time we wake up and hit the snooze button on our noisily blinking phone to the time we fall asleep watching Game of Thrones on Hotstar.
We are becoming a generation of information addicts fueled by smartphones. Brands are constantly leveraging our addiction to ensure their name is constantly on the top of our minds. Our personal lives and the rest of the world are converging on a five-inch screen that makes everything portable: board games, ticket counters, calculators, and books—and, increasingly, TV.
Watching TV has traditionally been a family affair. The entire family would come together at a particular time to watch a favorite program aired on a particular channel. If you didn’t make it home on time, you would miss the program and would have to watch the rerun at another time. It was revolutionary when we could record TV programs and watch them on our schedules. Life was a breeze with flexible viewing times and fast-forwarding to skip advertisements.
With the advent of numerous TV channels, the Internet, and, of course, the smartphone, the ritual of watching TV is becoming less social and more personal. Watching TV anywhere, anytime, through mobile apps of TV channels or on YouTube, is the new norm.
If brands don’t exist on mobile phones, they may not be able to achieve the scale and growth they aspire to. Brands need to relentlessly seek the best means possible to meet the demands of their customers and create meaningful connections. A mobile device is the consumers’ remote control to life, and every brand should be a part of that journey. That now includes being present on TV on the small screen.
Brand Building Action Points
1. Rethink advertising
Consumers watch TV and videos on mobile to escape incessant advertisements that interrupt the viewing experience. Brands need to ensure that there is continuity in viewing content. Mobile advertisements should be kept optional or presented in a way that does not interrupt the viewing experience. Brands could also look at using data analytics to create advertisements that relate to the viewer’s interests.
2. Go rural
The mobile phone user base has grown enormously in rural India because of the availability of budget smartphones, improved network connectivity, and bite-sized data plans. Brands need to tap into the rural market to scale their businesses and reach more consumers.
3. Adopt user-generated content
Consumers abandon the big screen as the mobile device gives them the freedom to watch anything at any time. Much of the content they view is created for the people, by the people, through platforms like YouTube and other social media channels. Brands need to leverage this universe by joining forces with vloggers and bloggers who receive high view ratings online.
4. Build relationships
The Internet has eradicated international borders by bringing everyone closer with a click of a button or a tap on the screen. Brands should look at creating a community of people with similar interests who can communicate with each other to share experiences. Brands should welcome consumer scrutiny and use the feedback to improve experience and create positive connections with their consumers.
5. Be connected, always
Whether online or offline, brands must be where the consumers are. Social media makes this very easy, as millennials want to be constantly connected with the brands and the people they love. Brands need to have their presence felt; they need to stand out to be preferred again and again. Creating buzz through teasers on channels like Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube can be effective in keeping the audiences continuously engaged.