Content creators may be digitally savvy but lack brand understanding, says Sanjeev Bhargava of Times of India

Launching the Mumbai Mirrored digital series, the Brand Director of Times of India said digital content with no source is dangerous and no other medium can match the authenticity of print. He said only creative agencies have brand understanding and content creators, despite being digitally savvy, lack this aspect

Akanksha Nagar
New Update
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Mumbai Mirror, which is published by the Times of India group, has launched a five-episode branded content series named ‘Mumbai Mirrored’, encapsulating the reflections that hold the mirror to Mumbai every day. 

The series carries a narration of five different lives describing the journey of the city from Bombay to Mumbai.

The six to seven minute series is available on YouTube, Mirror's own website, along with snippets on Facebook and Instagram. The newspaper has done print innovation through seven unique jackets, symbolising the seven islands on which that the city was built. It features reflections of seven iconic historic and modern Mumbai structures – the Gateway of India, Bandra-Worli Sealink, Siddhivinayak temple, Haji Ali, Afghan Church, CST station and BSE Sensex. 

In a first, the masthead has been printed in reverse, “mirrored”. The brand used mirrors and reflections as a creative device to launch the video series. 

The newspaper brand is quite active on the content front. As an extension of the video series, the newspaper would carry forward these stories in print. 

Sanjeev Bhargava, Director Brand, Times of India, said, “With the series, we are trying to create curiosity, engagement and interactions among our audiences. Since there’s a lot of information buried in the series, to give further more information around it and the characters, we would be creating content in the newspaper. And then, the energies will flow from the video series and onto the newspaper. Such marketing efforts have to be based on content more than anything else and any newspaper that does not do that, in my mind, does a disservice to its own right.”

Senthil Kumar, CCO of Wunderman Thompson, the agency that has worked on the series, added that they have created strong content for readers’ engagement, so that they come back to the newspaper to find out more, and that's the way the brand becomes a bridge for the reader to view or to feel or to read more content.

While whetting the appetite and curiosity among viewers via videos, and then further lead them to the newspaper, Bhargava said the series resonates with the philosophy of the brand, fighting against the wrong and celebrating what's the good in the city.

Kumar said that every brand wants a one-stop shop, an agency which can run the full course. From having an idea to the execution till amplification. To bring an idea to life and then to best amplify the idea into an amazing riveting execution is the real job and creative agencies that cannot execute their own ideas are in serious trouble.

Bhargava believes that any branded content has to have 50% brand understanding and 50% creative content. And when the two get married, a masterpiece is created, which only creative agencies can do.

“If agencies don't create content, I am sure nobody can. Today, anyone can create a piece of content. Content creators in today’s time may be digitally savvy or creatively zany, but they don't have brand understanding. Brand understanding comes from creative agencies that are trained to understand brands and if any agency doesn't understand the brand, the content is useless,” said Bhargava.

When asked why a newspaper brand chose the digital medium for its content initiative, Bhargava said it is through the audio and video medium that the story of the city can be brought alive. 

However, he said digital content with no source is dangerous. “Content in the printed word is the last word in authenticity. Authenticity of content is a question on the digital medium. But there are enough people who vouch for that fact that authenticity of print has remained untainted. Digital content, by and large, particularly social, is porous. So the fact that digital media will always be lacking a little on authenticity is a given,” he said.  

Another issue content marketing/branded content is witnessing is what to opt for: longer or shorter format content with lesser attention span among audiences. 

Kumar said what format to choose depends on the task at hand or the marketing challenges a brand faces. “And then from a creative point of view, we first arrive at the idea, and then the media executives. It always starts with the power of the idea and then how to amplify it,” he added.

Watch the videos here:

content creators Sanjeev Bhargava Times of India Senthil Kumar Mumbai Mirrored Mumbai Mirror