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Content marketing can help brands achieve their goals in the most organic way possible if the audience, and not the brand, is kept at the heart of the content, said Vijay Koshy, President - Content, TVF India. 

He said that the consumption habits of audiences have evolved a lot and they will no longer consume anything in the name of an ad. “The content choices lie in the consumer’s hands now. Our approach towards content is being consumer-first. We focus on what they want to watch, and what they will like and then slip the brand into the content. The consumer is not averse to having the brand in the story as long as one is entertaining and engaging them,” he added.

He was speaking in a session ‘Decoding the Rise of India’s Creator Economy and Lessons for Marketers’ at the 6th Marketing Leadership Summit held by CII in Mumbai.  

Other session panellists were Sharan Hegde, Influencer and Founder- Finance with Sharan and Shubhranshu Singh, Vice-President- Marketing Domestic and IB, CVBU, Tata Motors.

Koshy believes that the brand integrations have to be seamless and one should not be looking at factors like duration, visibility etc. “We once partnered with an e-commerce brand and got a 24-pointer document stating what they want. They wanted a delivery person delivering their package with a huge logo. We swore to never work with them again. There are no prices for guessing that the content did not really work,” he commented. 

Giving an example of how partnering with TVF helped Tata Motors become cool for a 25-year-old, Koshy said, “Back in 2015-16, Tata Motors was facing a crisis as none of the products was hitting out of the park and they had just come out of the Nano crisis. They had launched a fabulous product called ‘Zica’ but as you may remember, the Zica virus had broken out so they had to shelve the launch. They had even tied up with Lionel Messi back then but he had a tax evasion controversy erupt around him. A conservative brand like Tata Motors collaborated with us for the IP called ‘Tripling’. With that, we were finally able to make brands like Tata Motors ‘cool’ for 25-year-olds.” 

Singh of Tata Motors spoke about how the brand has been using influencer marketing to drive their consumer durable vehicles. 

“In advertising, we have always seen everyone claiming to be the best. However, it will only become believable when someone like you or someone you know comes up and tells you about it. In tier two-three towns, people know the influencers personally,” said Singh. 

He said one of the biggest challenges of his category is that vehicles like trucks and tractors are a one-time investment for the people who earn their livelihood through these vehicles. Hence, trust is a big factor involved. 

He further said that, unlike the perceptions, the Bharat audience is fully empowered with smartphones, digital infrastructure, social media and literacy. He added the brand wants influencers to become advocates for them. 

Speaking about how they used influencers for a recently launched commercial vehicle, he said, “We took 75 influencers to Hyderabad and gave them a two-day exposure to the vehicles and all their features. We are trying to bring the influencer right down to the last mile and show people what the product can do.”

“We want to get multiple features and facets of the vehicles exposed, sequentially in terms of story-telling. We want to talk about what the vehicle means to your life and nation-building. We want to make influencers our advocates,” he added. 

Singh further said another challenge in the influencer space is that despite the number of influencers rising dramatically, not everyone can and is able to monetise their content. 

“Everybody in the country is marketing to the top 5%. If you’re an English speaker, the whole world is chasing you. However, as you go down the income level, audiences are not getting top-notch treatment. Even though influencers are filling this gap they are not able to commercialise their offerings.” 

At the session, Hegde, a leading finance influencer and Founder of Finance with Sharan spoke about his approach to making viral videos. 

“There are some pillars pillars that can make a video go viral which is loosely based on the book called ‘ ‘contagious’ by Jonah Berger.”

- Social Currency- It’s important for influencers to think about what will the audience gain if they share their video. He said consumers want to look cool in front of others, so one needs to make sure the content has something interesting like facts, comedy, social message etc. 

- Triggers- Follow social media trends. 

- Emotion- Hegde said content should make the audience feel something like make them laugh, make them think, express etc.

- What’s in it for me- He said influencers should ask themselves if their content makes the audience’s life any better or if is there any practical value added to their life. 

- Storytelling- Hegde said no matter how good your video is, if it doesn’t engage the audience it will be lost.