Will invest more in influencer marketing in 2021: Anupam Bokey of Allied Blenders & Distillers

Bokey, CMO at ABD, talks about numerous opportunities for alcobev brands in the content space. He discusses their content marketing plans for next year and how it evolved amid the pandemic

Akanksha Nagar
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Anupam Bokey

For years, the alcohol-beverage category has been constantly reinventing and finding newer and unique ways to advertise and market itself while keeping all restrictions and protocols in mind.

From music festivals, comedy and fashion shows to merchandise, for long, alcobev brands have been using surrogate advertising to integrate product offerings to customers in numerous ways. But now, they finally seem to have gotten creative with influencer marketing.

Anupam Bokey, CMO, ABD (Allied Blenders & Distillers), said alcobev brands have a lot of traction in terms of local content and demographics. That is why it has started doing a lot of influencer activities and plans to increase its investments in the medium.

“We have started doing a lot of influencer marketing in pockets, while looking for micro- or nano-influencers, who are more aligned to local states, genres, languages,” he said.  

Bokey said this strategy has been quite successful for the company in the past. “We would like to accelerate the investments in this. A lot of our social and digital activities are driven by influencers. It is happening partially this year, but certainly will be bigger next year.”

As the company plans to scale up its spends in digital and social media, he believes digital is more effective than TV for the category.

“There are a lot of restrictions on TV and a lot of wastage happens because it is for a certain age group only. Digital and social are far more effective for this category. So we will see a certain shift towards digital and social happening in a much bigger way for us,” he said.  

He believes that there are a lot of emerging opportunities in the content space for brands in this category. However, he emphasised on creating ‘the right content’.

“There are a lot of opportunities in this space. If you want to tell the brand story and what your brand stands for in a far more deliberate and engaging way, then creating the right content for your TG is apparent,” he said.

Talking about the Covid-19 pandemic, he said how this year has been difficult in terms of branded content opportunities.

“In this space, there were not any high-impact media opportunities this year, apart from the IPL. For brands like us, making high-impact media opportunities ourselves is impossible. So branded content opportunities were also less,” he said.

Agreeing that content marketers will have better learning and understanding of the content space after the Covid-19 pandemic, he said, “The basic principles remain same. Marketers need to get back to the basic and not get carried away. One need to ensure that content is relevant to the TG and stands out in the competitive space.”

Apart from this, the company created two IPs for its brand Sterling Reserve last year—Sterling Reserve Music Project and Sterling Reserve Comedy Project. These two combined, Bokey said, is one kind of opportunity to refine content around the brand’s core DNA.

Amid the pandemic, it released up to five albums for the Sterling Reserve Music Project, in partnership with Universal Music. With the idea of giving budding musicians a chance to present themselves and be rewarded, Bokey said it plans to release more albums soon.

The latest release:

The Sterling Reserve Comedy Project, which aired on Comedy Central, received overwhelming response amid the pandemic, Bokey said.

The Sterling Reserve Comedy Project:

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A post shared by Comedy Central India (@comedycentralin)

“Both these projects started last year and were more of experimentation and learning. On the basis of that, we had more expectations from this year. And delivery in terms of viewership, videos and voting is really good,” he said.

Going forward, for its other brand in the deluxe segment, Officer’s Choice Blue, there is whole lot of content creation to be done soon, he said. On the vernacular front, for its Sterling Reserve brand, the company mostly creates content in English but for Officer’s Choice, every content piece is in vernacular languages.

Discussing the right measurement matrices for ROI, he said, “The digital measurements are pretty straight forward, based on views and engagement. We don’t do e-com very actively, so we can’t translate that into sales. But if we increase our investment in digital, making it as a primary medium, we can measure sales performance or marketing performance on the back of it. I certainly believe this category will move in the direction where digital and social are the primary mediums to build reach and awareness. And then the measurement matrices will be sales and market share.”

Allied Blenders & Distillers Anupam Bokey