Raahil Chopra
Nov 13, 2019

Ad:Tech 2019: 'What advertising can’t achieve, content can'

Abhishek Kumar Srivastava, (Hershey), Angad Bhatia, (Indiatimes Lifestyle), Ashish Sahni, (Citroen) and Puneeth Bekal (Mastercard) discuss how brands can use content and connect it to commerce

Ad:Tech 2019: 'What advertising can’t achieve, content can'
At Ad:Tech 2019, a panel consisting of Abhishek Kumar Srivastava, GM – marketing, Hershey, Angad Bhatia, COO, Indiatimes Lifestyle, Ashish Sahni, director – digital marketing, Citroen and Puneeth Bekal, director – marketing, Mastercard spoke about how brands can connect content and commerce.
The panel was moderated by Madison World’s chief digital officer, Vishal Chinchankar. 
He said, “We often say what advertising can’t achieve, content can. We’re seeing the eco-system changing. We always think that the primary objective of content is changing brand perceptions.”
He then asked the panelists about the role of content.
Bekal said, “I feel that the most important part before creating content is about the objective. It should be clear. Once that’s done, the rest of the marketing pieces and assets follow seamlessly. Then it comes to the format. This depends on the objective and where it intervenes in the consumer journey. Depending on that it can be a blog, a quote in an article, meme, long form or short form.” 
Bhatia added, “If you look at the last 10 years of commerce, India has laid down the foundation. It’s a very interesting time and my short answer is that the new way of consumption is being built. We are seeing brands use Instagram and reach out directly to consumers.  Content can be levered to drive demand. The core utility of content was to get top of mind consideration. But then with more and more brands using content to drive commerce I think India is at an inflection point now.” 
Sahni echoed Bekal’s point of view about content depending on the consumer journey. He said, “For auto, it’s pretty straight forward. First, it’s about the consumer journey. There are 30 touchpoints to reach out to consumers and 21 of them are on digital. Then it’s about the objective. Everything can’t be about the sale only. All bits and pieces come together for one sale.” 
Srivastava added, “Ads are sometimes shoppable. But that isn’t very common in FMCG. Last mile availability is not a challenge for FMCG, because we are available at an arm’s length. We need to make sure that we have the intent to bring consumers to our brand at super markets where there are five other competitors also present. As e-commerce sales increase shoppable content will grow. All the prospects, they are in a different journey cycle. But, how we look at it is reaching them at the discovery space. In auto what has happened as that there’s no singular path. You have to be present at multiple places. You need to have good quality of content pieces at different sets. You don’t need to be traditional to your content approach. When I was at Tata Motors we tied up with TVF for Tata Tiago. What came out was that awareness went up. But also sales went up by 20 per cent. We couldn’t attribute it all to that series, but I could definitely link some of it to that. It was done in a very subtle way. Also, thanks to technology, we’re able to offer experiential. That has an impact to. People can see cars without going to dealerships. It has evolved a lot for the auto sector.” 
Bhatia then spoke about what brands want when it comes to content.
He said, “We are seeing brands coming to us more to stay top of mind. Most marketers have understood the fact that they connect to IPs and brands for some reason. What I have seen is that production houses that create ad like content are asked a lot of questions. We are in a very competitive economy and we have to drive some sort of commerce. Brands which have deep investments in digital are going to find a lot of return on investment.”
The talk ended with the panelists giving one piece of advice for brands looking at content.
Sahni: Content marketing is a marathon and not a sprint. You need to invest time in building your editorial calendar. Also keep optimising it and try and work with an agency that understands that content language.
Srivastava: Once you create content is the start of the marathon. Content sits in the soul of the brand and connect with the consumers. Have the right context too so target and know your consumer better. 
Bhatia: We live in a world where we are consumed with feeds. That’s pretty much where bulk of India is conumsing content. As you build your own unique authentic voice have a platform specific strategy rather than a spray and pray approach. 
Bekal: The key aspect in content curation is the objective. Secondly it’s about the data. You can’t have one piece of content for one campaign so have different forms to remain relevant.
Campaign India

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