Noel D'souza
May 10, 2023

Reels work for brands because the relatability factor of the content is high: Experts

At Meta’s #MadeOnReels event, a panel discussed the impact Reels has on brand campaigns and how to associate with creators authentically to garner reach

From left:Soumitra Choubey,Aseem Sharma,Viraj Ghelani,Arun Srinivas, Niharika Nm,Rajdeepak Das and Ram Suresh Akella
From left:Soumitra Choubey,Aseem Sharma,Viraj Ghelani,Arun Srinivas, Niharika Nm,Rajdeepak Das and Ram Suresh Akella

Meta has launched the #MadeOnReels initiative to enable brands in India to communicate with their audiences by collaborating with content creators. It gives brands from different industries an opportunity to submit briefs and be part of this endeavour.


The aim is to help brands drive brand conversations on the platform through the use of entertaining, short-form videos. 


The initiative has already been used by brands such as Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk, Navi, Meesho, Tanishq and Nexa, who have used the program to attain audience retention and earn an effective return on investment (ROI) for their campaigns. 


The #MadeOnReels program also aims to onboard over 30 creators for brand campaigns.


To highlight the offerings for brands and creators, Meta hosted a press event in Mumbai on 9 May, where a panel comprising Rajdeepak Das, CCO and chairman, creative council, Publicis Groupe, South Asia; Soumitra Choubey, associate director - brand marketing, Meesho; Aseem Sharma, director, head of growth, Navi; Ram Suresh Akella, executive officer - marketing, Maruti Suzuki; along with influencers Viraj Ghelani and Niharika Nm to highlight how Reels are redefining brand storytelling, intent on launching the program, how brands should approach influencers and more. 


The panel was moderated by Arun Srinivas, director and head - ads business, Meta India.


Switching up the creative process


According to Das, redefining storytelling is key to the success of Reels. 


Speaking about how creative development will change with Reels in the picture, Das shared, “Reels is no more a medium plus but one of the main mediums. Brands take a lot of time picking the right celebrity for their communications. Now, we need to filter out which content creators are joining the dots and have the right brand fit. We need to start working with the creator daily and build on the concept. Reels connect with an audience because a creator posts daily, which makes the consumer feel that someone is connecting with them on a relatable level every day. This regular communication makes the messaging organic and showcases the power of Reels.”


Talking about how Navi leveraged Reels, Sharma voiced, “We are into financial services that are performance led in their approach. Through our campaigns on Reels, we were able to achieve great impact at a lower cost. We saw a 6% increase in brand favourability. Reels work for brands because the relatability factor of the content is high. It is created in a way that is intriguing to the user which makes them see the branded reel on a loop.”


Maruti Suzuki used the #MadeOnReels program to create awareness for its newly launched compact SUV Fronx. 


Nexa received +2.9 pts for awareness for its latest Fronx campaign, and +2.6 pts were garnered for ad recall. 


Akella explained, “We released our compact SUV this January at the Auto Expo. The target customer for this product was a young customer who wants to stand apart and be a trailblazer. To reach out to this target audience we partnered with influencers and created Reels. It worked well for us, and the results were encouraging. A creator had also conceptualised a soundtrack called ‘Sound of Fronx’. Reels allow us to create UGC and engagement-led content. As consumption patterns change, Reels have become the need of the hour.”


Choubey noted that Reels work for brands because the relatability of the content is very high for the audience.


Talking about how Meesho garnered impact through Reels by tapping into local audiences, Choubey said, “For us collaborating with creators came before we started marketing our brand. Our primary acquisition channel back in the reseller era was through creators. We were clear that our audience sits in tier three and four towns, and we wanted to connect with them. We curated #MeeshoHauls where we partnered with creators who showcased hauls that were available on Meesho. We have been able to do this in a way that gives back to the creator. If a creator starts their channel with this hashtag they will be able to leverage it as well."


Note to brands from influencers


Niharika suggested that brands should work in synergy with content creators, giving them some room for complete creative freedom, as their audience can call them out on being inorganic. 


“For most creators, it is difficult to not be ourselves, when it comes to brand collaborations. We love that brands give us a brief, but there should be some room for complete creative freedom as well. When the brands don’t budge on the creative front I let go of the brand collaboration no matter how lucrative the deal is. We want the views as well, so brands need to trust us when they offer us a brief”, expressed Niharika.


Ghelani echoed Niharika’s sentiment when it comes to brand collaborations. 


Sharing his point of view on how brands should approach content creators for collaborations, he said, “Brands come to us for our engagement, community and content. So, they have to consult us for brand collaborations to have effective results. But I also feel that brands our coming to an understanding and are coming to us in advance so that we can have time to curate a strategy together that would work. Like descriptions work well if they are short, but some brands give a long brief to post which doesn’t sit well with audiences and this is an insight that we can provide.”


“Our job is to provide entertainment by subtly integrating the brand. I also analyse a campaign and see if I would publish it even if the brand was not integrated into the video. We need to appeal and build relations with our audience and our followers today our smart, hence brand collaborations need to be done very carefully. Brands need to trust us because at the end of the day, it is our audience and we know what they want”, added Ghelani.


Brand mistakes while making Reels


Choubey listed some of the areas brands go wrong while creating Reels. He said, “We used to use the philosophy where we conceptualised a brief for the mainline TV medium and all our focus used to go into that area. Now we write a script parallelly for mainline and for Reels, this is the change we have brought about at the strategy level. At the planning level, there is a lot of resistance when it comes to brands that want to get the mainline aspect right and feel the need to look at the entire ecosystem instead of looking at it separately. When it comes to execution, we have flipped the book and gone user first. When the audience has the power to skip, we need to hold their attention span and make it entertaining instead of pasting the brand logo at the onset of a reel.”


Wrapping it up, Akella shared that as a brand marketer, the main goal is to drive impact.


“When we look at effectiveness, Reels as a medium is proven to be successful in reaching out to audiences. The main reason is the short-form content and as consumption retention has reduced this format works. Reels content is also easily discoverable on Instagram and the consumption pattern amongst the young audience is high. It also has the power to share and engage with the content. Measurement is also provided by Meta to brands to decode the metrics behind the branded Reels. Going forward, brands will keep Reels at the centre while planning and conceptualising campaigns”, concluded Akella. 

Campaign India

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