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Amar Sinha

Alco-bev brands have to be constantly creative with their content because of the restrictions on advertising in the category. For these brands, content marketing has evolved over the years from a one-size-fits-all approach to the creation of content that is tailor-made and targeted at various segments of the audience.

Amar Sinha, Chief Operating Officer, Radico Khaitan, told BuzzInContent how content marketing has emerged as a key element in its marketing mix and how the company strategises it. He talked about its property Magic Moments Music Studio and its association with Sunburn Online Fundraiser, which took place last year.

Content marketing has to be crisp and concise to capture the shrinking attention span of audiences, especially on digital platforms.

Radico Khaitan’s content marketing strategy too has evolved from creating record-breaking TV commercials to content created specifically to engage with digital audiences. The brand has invested in creating infotainment content that not only entertains users but also educates them.

Sinha said, “Content marketing is very important for us. We invest a significant amount (approximately 30%) of our current marketing budget on the creation of content for digital and electronic platforms. Before the lockdown, our marketing spends were spread equally across mediums. However, with a sharp increase in time spent online by people of all age groups across the globe, our focus has shifted to digital. We spend nearly 60% of our marketing budget on digital platforms and it will only continue to increase from here.”

Its investment in digital content has been most effective, he said. Content for social media platforms such as YouTube and Instagram have been vital for it in engaging with its user base, especially during the pandemic.

Certain segments of its audience, however, still rely on traditional mediums such as TV and films. So it creates content targeted at these mediums also so as not to alienate any segment of its audience.

Asked what sort of ROI the brand expects from each of these channels, he said engagement is the biggest ROI for the brand.

“It is the best indicator that lets us know we've created content that resonates with our audiences. Through trial and error, we have managed to create the right mix of interesting content that our audience is excited about and engages with. Digital media and social media platforms have given us unexpected results not only in terms of engagement but the increased market share for our brands despite the pandemic.”

They rely heavily on digital and content marketing for the promotion of all the brands, he added.

Sinha said one of its products, 8 PM Premium Black Whisky, was launched in 2018, and within 18 months, the brand hit a million-case mark.

Its campaign for 8 PM Premium Black Whisky:

Its music video for 8 PM Premium Black Whisky #Areucoming:

The company uses multiple agencies for content marketing (notable among them being Syrup Technologies). For the campaign with Tiger Shroff, it worked with Happy Productions India.

Sinha believes that regardless of industry, content marketing is the best way to create something that is truly memorable and that leaves an indelible mark in the minds of consumers.

“A great content marketing initiative should draw the line between relatable content and direct product promotion or advertisement. For us, it’s important for our consumers to be educated and to easily relate our brand communications to the product,” he said.

However, he cautioned that content marketing will never be able to replace surrogate advertisements for liquor brands.

“They both go hand in hand. Surrogate advertising is tied to a product and cannot be ignored. As per the law of the land, surrogate products should not only be marketable and a revenue generator but also have a strong brand connection. Surrogate marketing content can be strategically translated to be used across multiple platforms, both new and traditional,” he said.

Talking about its branded content strategy, Sinha said branded content has worked well for the alco-bev company.

Sinha said they have tried to create content that its audiences want to see: for example, its music partnerships with DJ Aqeel, its Tales Behind the Cocktail series and its collaborations with stand-up comedians. These initiatives yielded phenomenal results in terms of visibility and engagement.

Its Magic Moments Music Studio partnered with music jockey DJ Aqeel to beat the lockdown boredom last year. DJ Aqeel played live music for all fans and followers on the official Instagram page of Magic Moments.

Magic Moments Verve Music CDs presents Tales Behind Cocktails:

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Host to Roast – Featuring Knotty Commander and Parvinder Singh (stand-up comedians):

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Though, he said, it’s always a challenge for a brand to find the right partners and the right fit with regard to branded content, regardless of industry or product category.

Other than on-boarding celebrities such as Jacqueline Fernandez, Tiger Shroff and Kartik Aaryan to create relatable content, it is working closely with the influencers too.

Sinha also said influencer marketing is very relevant for the alco-bev industry.

“Word of mouth is the best way for consumers to hear about our brands and to try it out for themselves. Influencers play an important role in expanding our user base. Through these influencers, we are able to ensure our products get exposed to a whole new audience. Working with influencers helps familiarise audiences with our brand imagery, syncing with our overall brand aesthetic. Influencers allow us to go hyperlocal with our content, whether it be local faces or in regional languages, giving us the ability to focus on specific states or regions,” he added.

For Morpheus brandy, they have signed Nidhhi Agerwal as the brand influencer. This association is a first of its kind, where it is partnering with the actress to be the face of Morpheus’ digital content for consumers, he said.

The partnership is aimed at bringing a fresh face for the brand while leveraging her popularity in South India, which contributes 90% to Morpheus’ volumes.

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Asked about a few of the company’s best memorable ads so far, Sinha said the legendary LoC ad of 8 PM whisky that showed generals of two enemy countries sharing a drink at the border, revolutionised the ad industry and was awarded the 'Best five ads of the century' by the Advertisers Association of India.

It resonated well with the brand positioning ‘Rivals become Friends’, attributing to the smooth blend of the product.

He said Imperial Blue’s 'Men Will Be Men' ads will always be memorable for him as he recalls seeing their TVCs and appreciating their messaging.