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Earlier this year, Amazon was facing an uphill task as it was not able to make much inroads into the Hindi heartland even after pumping in millions in traditional advertising.

The US-based e-retailer, through its on-ground research, figured out that the people in Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state-with 50mn internet users and 172mn mobile subscribers, were not ready for e-commerce.

To dispel the complexities, it was time for Amazon to try something more than traditional ads to make an impact in India’s most populous state. The leading e-commerce brand decided to tie up with India’s top Hindi newspaper that has a total readership of around seven crore and a sizeable portion of that readership is in Uttar Pradesh. Amazon carried out state-wide co-branded on-ground activation with Dainik Jagran, which was also supported with editorial coverage.

In the current times, content marketing is often related to digital and TV. However, print, which is among the most impactful mediums, isn’t talked about as much. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 survey, about 36% of B2B marketers use print. As there is huge amount of content bombardment on digital because of its cost-effective nature, both the big and new-age brands are rediscovering the power of print.

Cutting the clutter through print

Brands need content that is rich and relevant to be effective. On digital, it’s very difficult to keep a check on the quality of the content due to the high quantity. Whereas, print has limited space and one has to carefully select the most relevant content to be published.

Interestingly, the first ones to understand the relevance of print when it comes to content marketing, are the new-age digital companies. Experts believe that these companies understand that to build long-term brand loyalty in India, print plays a major role.

Rajasekar KS, GM, Marketing at Matrimony.com, said, “As digital content fights for our short attention spans, print mediums will roll out special content marketing programmes with niche content created by high-quality writers.”

Bharat Matrimony has regularly been harnessing the power of print through its content marketing initiatives, mostly through magazines though. The brand tied up with leading magazines top language publications and asked them to independently interview couples, who met through the website, and featured them in the relationship stories.

When it comes to content marketing, India’s leading publications have also made themselves more flexible and are even willing to provide hyper-local solutions.

Deepak Lamba

“The audience we cater to are spread across various regions of the country and with our hyper-local approach, the content we are creating for our audience is not only customized as per their interest but is also giving brands and marketers a platform to reach out to their target. We hope to keep adding this as a strong layer to our 360-degree offering,” said Deepak Lamba, CEO of Worldwide Media.

Print has been an integral part of the content marketing strategy of big brands. Nestle India is running one such content campaign with a leading English daily. “Any large media strategy of the brand has always considered print as one of its most important channels in reaching out to its consumers. ‘Power of Print’ is one of such print forward strategy which echoes the core idea about Nestle India’s corporate campaign #HelpParentsKnowGoodFood,” a Nestle spokesperson told BuzzInContent.

In partnership with the daily, Nestlé India has invited the entire advertising community to participate in ‘Power of Print’, an initiative that seeks to engage the best creative minds in print advertising. The initiative is about children's nutrition and parents’ responsibility for modelling good food behaviour.

Trust is paramount

Print comes from a more reliable era. As it is an expensive medium, a lot more time is spent on making content that is more reliable.

Sanjeev Bhargva

Sanjeev Bhargava, Director, Brand TOI, said, “When it comes to trustworthiness, the printed word continues to be at the top of the head. Conventional wisdom has told us that the environment in which the brand message is communicated is as important as the message itself. Newspapers continue to be the source of most reliable information and hence provide the most conducive environment for brand messages to be seen as true and convincing.”

With brands increasingly trusting content over traditional advertising, print players claim that they have been playing an important role in brands’ content strategy by offering non-intrusive branded solutions.

“For us, our legacy of print advertising is not only based on pureplay ads but also on a lot of content created for consumers as well as for brands for their content marketing initiatives,” said Lamba of Worldwide Media.

“In a business like ours, it is paramount that we have shown absolute credibility in our content. Our long-form narratives and picturesque spreads in the magazines have kept up with the changing times and still intrigue the intelligent consumer. We opt for non-intrusive branded content in the form of relevant advertorials, include interesting behind the cover features that all comprise the mouth-watering content solutions we talk about,” Lamba added.