HomeInterviewsZakia Zerin, Manager- Consumer, e-Commerce and Digital, Nestlé Bangladesh

Zakia Zerin, Manager- Consumer, e-Commerce and Digital, Nestlé Bangladesh

Positioning Priority

Nestle’s Manager of Consumer, e-commerece and Digital talks about tapping the right channel with the right content

When it comes to digital marketing we are still scratching the surface. We have a long way to go. We have explored various digital channels, and are mainly present in Facebook and Youtube, both in terms of content and promotion. Instagram is becoming very popular among Bangladeshi Consumers along with channels like Whatsapp and Viber. We are exploring these channels as well. Very recently, with the launch of NESCAFE’s new thematic song, we have opened Instagram Channel for NESCAFE in Bangladesh. The main reason of exploring with different Digital channels are nothing but the shift in consumer choice and their media behavior. We want to move with a brand through a channel where the target consumers are situated.

E-commerce is the next big field in Bangladesh. We as a country are at a nascent stage, but it is growing very rapidly. We were accustomed to buying electronics and cosmetics from e-commerce, but buying grocery through e-commerce is still fairly a new idea. We definitely want to strengthen our footprint in e-commerce. We have been present in e-commerce since 2015, and we are growing. By partnering with e-commerce vendors we intend on strengthening our position and foothold. Nowadays you will see e-commerce vendors are promoting products using social media platforms and other digital platforms. We have already partnered with Chaldal and Daraz. We do have a Joint Business Plan (JBP) with one or two such vendors where we collaboratively work towards finding the best deal for our consumers. Recently, we have started designing e-commerce specific deals, to provide an exclusive experience through this channel. People are in e-commerce for the convenience, for the difference, so it is important we give them the right experience.

Digital marketing is part of a bigger picture; it is not separate from the whole Marketing Value chain. I think one has to take a 360 approach and ponder on questions like – Where is my consumer? What product am I selling? What benefits am I offering? Most importantly what media behavior is my target consumer exhibiting? We need to first identify these aspects, and then decide which is the most effective way of reaching out to them – be it digital channels, Radio, Television, Billboard or any other Traditional Marketing channels. There are no set rules, but one thing we should keep in mind – that is, the digital space is constantly evolving which in turn changes how consumers behave in digital platforms. If you want to do it right, then you really need to prioritize Content, because while the channel is important, it is crucial to come out with content that speaks to consumers in their own language. It is what your consumer wants to hear and not what you have to say! No matter how cliché it sounds, content is still the King. Therefore, if I have to summarize the secret recipe, it would be creating the right balance of Content and selection of Channels!

There is no fail-safe method to marketing. In Marketing everything is customized and tailor-made according to the consumer base, which can be comprised of all sets of people from having different kinds of Demographic and Psychographic profile. Starting from their food habits to how they spend their leisure time, all has to be considered since consumers has a journey. We as marketers, have to first identify the kind of product we are marketing then design the Customer Journey Framework, and then we decide the right touch point of interaction in the journey. These touch points differ from consumer to consumer. If you want to create a structure, then make one relevant to the consumer journey which helps customers decide that they will take a journey with a brand for a certain period of time. And this changes from brand to brand, from time to time.

In terms of communication, being transparent is always better to adopt. Yes, for the beautification of our communication we take different routes, but if we can ensure that we are being transparent about the products and services we are selling, that should help us in creating a sense of security and place of trust. There are different mechanisms, like being transparent where my product is sourced from, where it is made. Give them the opportunity to visit your office or your factory premises. If you have an open dialogue with your consumer or if you have the option to make the consumer reach you, it will help them to get answers anytime and every time. In Nestlé we have a call center, which is the first ever Toll Free call center in the country with a unique number. The whole idea was to listen to our consumers, their experiences, their queries which is open 24/7. We encourage our consumers to call us by promoting the service every now and then, which is a bit rare, when it comes to Call Center Service. These are small but effective steps that helps a brand establish trust and credibility.

Maggi as a product has been here for the last 22 years now. It is the brand that incepted the idea of instant noodles. Many of us grew up with Maggi. This is why when we were confronted with the crisis, which originated in a different country in 2015, we knew immediately that we have to take a hands-on approach. The crisis started with digital, and to battle that we did not just consider digital as a channel, we took a more combined approach. People who believed and trusted the brand also got shaken and that is why we were getting calls in our call center, queries on our social media. We tried to utilize all media channels as much as possible. However, since the commotion began in digital, we tried to answer each and every query very meticulously through our customer service support on social media. We were taking constant updates, and the entire management was very involved with what people were asking and how we were responding to the queries.

This year we have done a campaign with three celebrities – Dilara Zaman, Shehtaz and Mithila. We took them as our ambassadors. They first got to know our brand and understand how Maggi is produced in Bangladesh factory. It wasn’t done on TV; we did an OVC which we published. They first took a deep dive into how Maggi is produced, and only when they were convinced, they decided to be part of the campaign. We did three different online videos featuring these three celebrities talking about the overall aspect of the brand. Mithila spoke about how quality is maintained during production, Shehtaz talked about from where we are sourcing the raw materials and how spices are being sourced and what kind of quality we are maintaining, and Dilara Zaman focused on overall trust on the brand. We were proud to have them as ambassadors, and we promoted the content in all sorts of digital channel. Digital is a place where people can readily share their opinion. We addressed the issue in the channel where it started with different kinds of content. We designed a specific campaign to address what was going on in people’s mind.

From this campaign we decided why don’t we invite people to visit our factory. On 30th June we closed the registrations and these celebrities will take them to our factories. Visitors will have a whole day to go through our factory. It will happen in August, and it will be for both children and adults. We have had a great response. The idea is to take them to our factory in Gazipur where Maggi is produced and give them a tour of our entire operation. This is one kind of activation companies can do to build trust, so that customers feel invited. We are saying this campaign is “From our kitchen to yours”. Kitchen is a very intimate space in a house, so when you invite guests to your kitchen it gives them warmth and creates a personal bond. We are doing this from a brand perspective. People might say it is a marketing gimmick, but we really want our consumer to come and visit us and believe and see for themselves. A campaign that started in digital is ending offline.

The overall media behavior of people is changing, so this is something a marketer has to lookout for. It is very crucial. The media vehicles are increasing, it is no longer limited to media and press, we have digital now and within digital there are separate channels, and people are shifting and moving all the time. I think this entire shift and the various media vehicles is something that as any marketer we should be looking out for. Marketers need to factor in consumer behavior because of the shift that happens in consumer minds.

The millennial consumer base has a different mindset, a different attitude towards life. This affects the way we are doing marketing. The two factors marketers have to keep in mind are changing consumer behavior and changing media vehicles.

Being present in the right channel with the right content, I think that is something we have to look out for. Most importantly, we have to factor in consumer insights so keep a tab on what consumers are saying, what they are thinking about your brand. Because if you are not listening, someone else is, so consumer insight is important, and so is research and listening to your consumer. Everything starts with consumer insights. If I am making a service or a product, I have to first listen to what they want, not what I want to sell. We sometimes take an inside-out approach, rather than an outside-in approach. We need to really understand what consumers are saying about our brand, what they need, how they are going to consume it. These are the two things that I feel as marketers we need to be on top, and then last but not the least, as we are becoming more and more a technology driven society, we should always be aware of the technological changes taking place in consumers’ life, in their media consumption and overall media vehicles. Being on top off that is very important.

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Marjiya Ahmed is a literature student whose world is incomplete without music. Besides for listening to her favorite tracks, she fancies poetry