ORM Integral To Brand Management Today: Sanjay Bhutani, Bausch & Lomb

Bhutani speaks on how he sees ORM become important for marketers in India

Sanjay Bhutani, Managing Director, Bausch & Lomb explains the scope of ORM and how social media platforms deepen the connection between customers and brands.


You have expressed ORM is now central to brand management. What, according to you, has led to this?

Over the last decade, the time spent by consumers on various online channels and platforms has substantially increased. This has a direct correlation with the interactions they make with brands. Hence, it is important for brands to proactively influence the information that consumers interact with. Also, with more emphasis on social media, it is critical that brands build a strong voice on social media. With all this in the backdrop, ORM progressively is moving to the centre of brand management and will take a more central role.

ORM has evolved as an essential component for brand management. Consumers are digital natives, and they are more comfortable interacting online. This has become even more stronger with the pandemic. They also expect brands to have a voice. The social media platforms overall are a great way for brands to build deeper connections, craft a sharp personality and tone of voice. The engagement that we make consumers via social media is more personal and has a very low turnaround time leading to higher customer satisfaction.

ORM predominantly has been about social media, engaging influencers, search & PR. In the next normal, how does this change?

The number of touch points with consumers have increased multiple fold. Arguably, audiences are more fragmented in presence, but this also means there are much more avenues to connect with them in ways that are more comfortable to them. The thing to watch out for though is that ORM principles must permeate through to every touch point to ensure consistency is consumer experience and brand personality irrespective of whether the interaction happens on social media, YouTube, PR or even consumer contact centre. The end objective of all ORM activities for us, is to ensure that customer responses, whether it is positive, negative or neutral, are addressed in the most efficient way.

Do you see instances of part applied principles of ORM, where in a brand misses out since they don’t see the bigger possible picture?

Within the pharma and medical devices space, ORM evolved from a need to maintain compliance with reporting requirements on social media. This includes product queries, category information and so on. Therefore, historically, it was not a core part of brand planning. However, over time, organisations are understanding the power and need to build a strong ORM strategy to connect more consistently with consumers across platforms. All these platforms are on the easiest way for the consumers reach out to us, making it very critical for marketing strategies.

Considering that ORM is technology-driven, how important are collaborations and partnerships in managing ORM?

With a long-term vision, technology platform is necessary to consistently execute a cohesive ORM strategy. We need to evaluate the tech partners we work with from multiple parameters before onboarding them. Some of these are platform coverage, ability to create workflows, influencer analysis, engagement analysis capabilities, different engagement channels available and artificial intelligence (AI) driven responses segmentation.

How do you see ORM evolving in India?

From my perspective, ORM is not just about response management anymore, the scope has been expanded to social listening as well. AI driven social listening helps to add so much value to customer engagement and in maintaining brand presence across all platforms. With the AI driven customer journeys, the brands can communicate with consumers in no time and ensure their satisfaction.