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Gaurav Mehta

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, brands irrespective of industry or the nature of business are exploring greater opportunity in the branded content space and, in the process, contributing to some compelling initiatives. In a nutshell, businesses are giving branded content its due.

According to Gaurav Mehta, Chief Marketing Officer of CarDekho, this is the one trend that will continue even after the situation calms.

“Earlier, branded content was seen as a novelty, an experiment, a checkbox on a list of initiatives. Businesses will be more confident about investing in branded content solutions after seeing its impact on business and not just metrics like views, likes, etc. Also, there will be greater understanding, focused spends on content. But businesses are going to take a while getting back to the financial health of pre-pandemic and branded content can be an efficient way of connecting with the consumer,” he added.

However, for the brand itself, the investment in the branded content space still is in single digits of the overall marketing investment scale.

But having seen its success through Sunshine Nazm and ‘Ek Gaadi aisi thi’, it has understood the method behind the madness.

Thus, it started another branded content initiative (launched in the beginning of this month) called ‘Sabaq jo seekhe zindagi se’ for InsuranceDekho.

As a business, CarDekho is built on content — editorial content, to be more precise. Its editorial team generates in-depth text+AV content daily for automobile buyers.

“We are who we are because of content. Branded content helped people consume us not as a transaction brand but as a more human brand that is empathetic towards their reality. All major global events like Covid-19 change consumer behaviour. One downside is that we as humans are rendered anchorless since there are so many new behaviours to adopt. This is where branded content can play an immense role in helping people through the transition,” he said.

Talking about the growing importance and understanding of content marketing amid the pandemic, Mehta said since the start of the lockdown, he understood the change in consumer behaviour (optimism giving way to uncertainty, research over transaction).

This clarity helped the brand pivot towards the leanest and the most consultative marketing approach he himself has ever been a part of.

He said, “We went pretty much to zero in on our marketing investments but kept the consumer connect up through brand content initiatives and put a huge focus on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). The outcome is that we are at our highest traffic ever, paced ahead of the industry and pulled away further to cement our position as the largest auto-tech company in the country.”

Which medium yields greater ROI from content

TV plays a big part in CarDekho’s marketing mix.

While digital has faced legitimate queries from advertisers about the ‘safety’ aspect, Mehta believes great content supersedes those fears.

“Great content initiatives require an initial push for most (through paid advertising, on digital) but the quality of the content determines the impact and engagement. The second part of the equation is still well fortified against ad fraud and the fake-news syndrome that digital media is tagged with today,” he added.

He explained that print media enjoys an immense amount of trust that’s extended to the content by virtue of the medium.

While TV has more influential power as it engages a number of faculties (aural, sight), plus some level of trust, digital helps with feedback and peer influence network.

Depending on the business problem, the right medium can be chosen, he added.

“For any brand wanting to show a larger-than-life persona (e.g. Volkswagen, Tourism Boards), print works beautifully. For categories with a mass audience and awareness as the main business driver, TV works very efficiently and effectively,” he suggested.

And what kind of learning would Covid-19 be for content marketers?

Not one strategy, but one of the strategies, he said. 

Businesses have been nimble in aligning their logistics, digitisation of processes and product portfolio to keep moving ahead.

“Though I can say this without any reservation that the pandemic has made people more curious about content marketing and helped them ask the right questions of this investment. As more effort went into understanding the true impact of content marketing, the confidence levels have increased leading to good long-term outlook for content marketing,” he said.

Content@BuzzInContent.com