At the seventh edition of e4m Content Jam 2023, a panel of experts delved deep into analysing the lasting impact of content marketing on brand building. The panel chaired by Kanika Mittal, Country Head, Taboola, discussed creating a strong brand identity and credibility, fostering audience engagement and loyalty, measuring the ROI of content marketing and adapting to evolving consumer behaviour and trends.
The panellists were Sujala Martis, Director Consumer Marketing, Platinum Guild India; Ankur Malhotra, Head Marketing & Omni-Channel Strategy, Bridgestone India; Divya Gursahani, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Nourish You, and Nitin Khanna, Vice President - Marketing, Acko General Insurance.
Mittal kickstarted the discussion by sharing that one of the most common questions she gets asked is how to ensure the ROI of content marketing in the long run and how to effectively distribute content. “I think the solution lies in ensuring that you find the right partners for your content marketing strategy,” she said.
As for Malhotra, content marketing as a term has been coined in the recent past. “We as marketers know how important it is when it comes to communicating with the right audience in the right manner. Another aspect is that there are multiple categories I have worked with, but what matters is driving content that resonates, which further enables influencing choices,” he added.
Khanna mentioned that in today’s era, there is no choice but to be passionate about content marketing. “The power that content marketing keeps unleashing is that it helps challenger brands become more trustworthy to consumers, and that keeps the fuel burning inside that one needs to chase something like content marketing,” he said.
To Gursahani, content marketing is an enabler of sending out a brand story in a multitude of ways. Martis added that if used correctly, content can shape culture, can change consumer behaviour and can influence perceptions.
Speaking of building brand identity, Gursahani said content was crucial in building a brand’s personality. “Every content you put out has to be reflective of your brand personality and ultimately contributes to the brand identity,” she mentioned.
Gursahani said her favourite brand with regards to this is Nike. “They do their storytelling in a brilliant way, any digital ad they put out, any communication or any event that they are hosting, will always be driven by their inspirational ‘Just Do It’ message,” she noted.
When one is speaking of content strategy, Malhotra added, everything boils down to ‘what’s the insight?’ “On the entire path to purchase, how that particular decision-making process is being influenced is important to know,” he said. Sharing how tyres as a category can seem extremely boring, he added, “If I can remind you that Bridgestone can give the best quality tyre with durability, you will be reminded of it but still go and check in the outlet from a price perspective.”
Explaining further Malhotra mentioned that this is the entire path to purchase, so one cannot sit in an office and decide that if humour is working for a certain brand, they should also do the same. “The strategy is pretty simple, look at what is relevant for that particular target group whom you are serving,” he added.
Sharing from his past experiences, Khanna said that from a strategy perspective, he has noticed that content marketing can deliver enough and more value, across the funnel.
He shared that Acko has leveraged content marketing not only on other channels, but also on its own channels. “We had a hugely successful on-the-app content marketing strategy that we recently introduced, where we got R Madhavan to come on board and represent the voice of the customer,” he shared.
Speaking of ensuring that content marketing delivers the right ROI, Khanna added, “I think it is very important to have the right expectation setting, in terms of what a certain content marketing strategy can deliver. In today’s world, where patience is very low, the pressure on content marketing to immediately translate into sales is very high. I think a lot of marketers also fall into the trap that I can only justify it if I can sell my product through it. I think that is the worst thing you can do from a strategy perspective.”
Khanna’s motto around this is: ‘Sales overnight, brand over time’.
Martis mentioned that in content marketing, once one determines the expected value exchange, there sure is content to put out.
“Consumers are either looking for information, entertainment or access. If you build with the right reach and relevance, then I think ROI follows. That is again, the function of the category or the objective you are looking at,” she said.
Experts feel that there always will be a mix of objectives and it is important to bring clarity in terms of what are the different objectives to be achieved.