Branded content doesn't deliver immediate ROI, but succeeds in long-term: Lokesh Kataria of Mattel India

Barbie doll maker Mattel India relies heavily on content marketing and the company has realised unmatchable returns in terms of brand love and sales leads. In an interview with BuzzInContent, Kataria said that it is always better to have fans of a product than just customers

Akansha Srivastava
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Branded content helps in creating brand love and in turn, drives the sales in the long-term, believes Barbie doll maker Mattel India. The company, that is heavily focused on content marketing, thinks that branded content helps consumers believe in the brand philosophy which eventually reflect in sales.

In an interview with BuzzInContent, Lokesh Kataria, Head of Marketing, Mattel India, said, “For us, content is very important. 66% of the market that we are in is still unorganised. A lot of Chinese goods and imports come into the country and that’s where we want to make a mark. Only brand awareness is not going to help a brand like us. We need to give a compelling reason to the consumers to believe in the brand philosophy and thereby converting them into purchases.”

Mattel Toys launched the branded content campaign ‘" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Imagine the possibilities’, globally. The campaign has helped the brand clock double-digit growth in two years. ‘Imagine the possibilities’ asked girls to imagine their dreams with the Barbie dolls.

Kataria said that branded content doesn’t show an immediate ROI but succeeds in the long-term.

Lokesh Kataria

“Always prefer having fans rather than customers of the brand. Branded content has an effect in terms of brand relativity and impact. When the brand love goes up, the sales number also goes up. If you are doing branded content and have been successful in making a meaningful impact on the minds of your customers, the next time when they are in a shopping aisle which has toys in it; the first thing they would want to buy is a toy who’s brand content they have seen or have already absorbed,” he said.

‘Imagine the possibilities’ was followed by another global campaign, ‘Role models’, that was launched earlier this year. Given the success of the campaigns, Mattel has launched Barbie’s first India-specific branded content campaign, ‘You can be anything’. The initiative is the extension of ‘Role model’ campaign and is targeted towards moms.

Commenting on the campaign, Kataria said, “Through this campaign, we wanted to tell moms about how dolls can empower and enable the possibilities, imagination and creativity of a kid. We brought in the real role models who have made a name in the real world. We found a golden chance of making an India relevant, localised campaign, inspired by a global campaign. We wanted to take this one step ahead and make these girls meet their role models and get all the insights behind the career they want to pursue.”

The campaign 'You Can Be Anything,’ aims to inspire young girls in India to dream beyond limitations. The campaign celebrates the significance of having positive, strong role models who can inspire young girls to believe that they can be anything. In July, Barbie reached out to mothers across India to know what their daughters aspire to become when they grow up. Around 1,000 moms shared stories of their daughters. Barbie finally chose three girls with the most inspiring stories and decided to fulfil their dreams of becoming a chef, a gymnast and a comedian. The perfect role models, who were brought on board to mentor, motivate and inspire these young girls, were:  Commonwealth Games gymnast, Meghana Reddy; Chef at Flavour Diaries, Anjali Pathak and Entertainer Urooj Ashfaq.

Barbie, along with these celebrated mentors created a mentorship programme to help these girls overcome challenges and accomplish infinite possibilities through hard work and dedication. This programme was documented as a video by Barbie and released coinciding with International Day of the Girl Child, to encourage and motivate several other girls out there to conquer their dreams.

The branded content piece was promoted on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and key influencer platforms like mom clubs and parenting portals.

Mattel had previously partnered with Star World on Masterchef Junior for Barbie. Last year, for its brand Uno, the company did a branded content partnership with AIB around Diwali. Mattel also partnered with Gameloft, which is a publisher of mobile games for its brand Hot Wheels.

Further emphasising on the importance of content marketing, Kataria said, “Content marketing is important for every consumer brand, specifically for the ones in the entertainment and fashion industry. When you are in the entertainment industry, the content is the king. When you are living in an era of content bombardment, you will have to make content that is meaningful, much more engaging to consumers, and one that carries a message as well. You will have to engage with content that customers feel is a part of their lives and create content that your brand truly believes in.”

The only challenge that Kataria sees in the content space is that there is already too much of content available for the consumers to consume and one needs to stand out amongst the crowd to gain consumer attention.

“There is too much of branded content out there. Every brand wants to do branded content, but the thing is, you will have to stand out. You have to relate it to the core brand philosophy and the consumer. You need to have unique content standing apart from everyone else,” said Kataria.

Mattel India Lokesh Kataria