Clients' belief in agency and investment of time can only create powerful content, says Brendan Gaul of Mediabrands

In Episode 4 of Content Conversations, BuzzInContent caught up with Gaul to talk about filmmaking for brands, unscripted branded content, his views on the growth of content marketing in India, advertiser-funded programmes, ROI through content and various other things

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Creating powerful content-led work will always take time and the client who trusts will take the leap of faith with you, Brendan Gaul, Mediabrands’ first Global Chief Content Officer has said.

In a fun and engaging conversation with BuzzInContent, he said, “It’s not something that you commission your agency with a brief and convert in six weeks. The brands that are starting off now are going to have a film created towards the end of 2022 and probably be used in 2023. It's a much longer proposition and I don’t want brands to be late to the game.”

He said, “Brands don’t make great films, but great clients make great films. If you don’t have that advocate in your client, the one who wants to be on this journey with you, then you won’t ever end up creating what you intend to create.”

On Friday, June 25, in Episode 4 of Content Conversations, BuzzInContent caught up with Gaul to talk about filmmaking for brands, unscripted branded content, his views on the growth of content marketing in India, advertiser-funded programmes, ROI through content and various other things.

Gaul talked about his area of specialisation, i.e. unscripted content, and how brands can make the most of it. He said, “It is powerful to show the stories of people who use the brand and share their real stories where the brand has been able to make an impact.”

Gaul said there are so many conversations around purpose-driven brands but the brands don’t necessarily have a purpose. “It’s the people who have a purpose. The people at the brands’ end and the people who use the brands have a purpose. Sharing the stories of such people makes unscripted content so powerful,” said Gaul.

He pointed out that if a client’s key KPI is sales and conversions of the product, the unscripted brand film is not the most efficient way to get there. “If you are trying to grow brand preference, brand love and attract the audience and have access to first-party data, those are the places where brand-funded films really shine and outperform.”

During the insightful interview, he explained the above by giving examples of two of his global awards-winning films - ‘5B’ and ‘Dear Santa’, which were able to deliver double-digit growth numbers on the KPIs of brand love, preference and audience engagement.

Many say a brand must do something real purpose-driven on the ground and then create content around it. A few others, however, argue even if a brand hasn’t done anything of that sort, if it is at least helping spread a good message, it should be enough. Sharing his thoughts on this, Gaul said, “There is a difference between storytelling and story doing. A brand must opt for story doing. The audience won’t accept brands that just talk about purpose. The purpose-driven content has to be authentic.”

He pointed out two pieces of content that performed well in India—Amul's Live cookery content on Facebook and Coke Studios. “These content pieces bring utility, fun and happiness to the audience. Coke Studio’s content experience aligns with its idea of bringing refreshment to consumers. Coca-Cola had the right idea at the right time when it launched Coke Studio. It’s a great idea of how a brand can create intellectual property and grow it. Amul has been able to build a relationship with its consumers by bringing consistency to its cookery content. The brand has been going Live for over 432 days now. Amul has very well used its product as performance content. ”

Gaul said that a challenging aspect of creating unscripted content is that when one sets on the journey of creating unscripted content, one doesn’t know how the story will turn out to be, what route it will take. “In unscripted content, often you know the beginning and where you are going, but you don’t know what the end would be. And that’s what makes it powerful content and a film that advertises, versus the ad that looks like a film,” added Gaul.

Mediabrands Content Studio has recently made its foray into India. Heading the studio globally, Gaul shared his viewpoint on MBCS’ launch in India. He said, “It’s still early days for MBCS in India. We have so many great assets and resources between Interactive Avenue, UM and all other agencies under IPG Mediabrands. We are in the early days of stitching them all together to bring in the best of class content-led communication. India is very important for many of our global clients.”

Through MBCS, Mediabrands is trying to future-proof its brands and in fact, brands are asking for it. Gaul said, “Brands want to have a global idea that can come to life with cultural nuances not only in storytelling but also in the way consumers are consuming media. With launching MBCS across 12 markets, especially India where Dhruv Jha and Siddhant Mazumdar are leading the team, I feel like a sponge, learning while understanding consumers' media consumption pattern.”

During the interview, he pointed out the signs that he has noticed about the growth of branded content in India. He said clients are asking for it directly and the consumers are also willing to watch good stories by brands.

Watch the full interview here

Brendan Gaul Brendan Gaul of Mediabrands Mediabrands