Data and creativity go hand-in-hand to create brand success

If a creative person is fed the right data, it will do wonders

MUMBAI: Even though artificial intelligence and machine learning are driving the course of content, much still relies on quality of content despite the world’s best technologies backing it. Nothing can beat good, relatable, and entertaining content, which rides on the back of data, to reach out to the masses, creating a data-inspired environment of work.

This was the crux of the “Understanding the audience: Data & tech in content creation (Brandfilm breakthrough)” session at the recently concluded BrandVid 2019. The session, moderated by Qyuki Digital Media co-founder and managing director Samir Bangara, had Prime Focus Technologies vice president creative services Bhaskar Sitholey, Shemaroo head of marketing Rahul Mishra, BYJUS App marketing head Atit Mehta Logicserve Digital co-founder and CEO Prasad Shejale, JioGenNext VP group alliances and mentor Mohit Kapoor, and co-founder Arijit Sachdeva discussing the role of data in branded content creation and if the process is data-inspired or data-driven.

The panelists agreed that a whole of lot of data inspection comes into play in the creation of content today, but what matters the most is the impact the final piece of craft has on the audience. The only dissenting voice was of Sachdeva who quipped that being a young company doesn’t have the leverage to be data-inspired and is instead data-driven.

Sachdeva said, “We are serving approximately 5 billion ads in a month and we have achieved this scale within a time span of just approximately one and a half year. I do not have the experience of 25 years to say that we are data-inspired.”

Sitholey shared, “Data can definitely give you a better understanding of what your audience is doing or what they want. But what you craft out, depending on the interpretation of that audience needs, is what is really going to move the needle or not.” He also added that the world is heading to two-way content driven by interactivity.

Kapoor vouched for a combination of the both as he said, “We will take it a level ahead. We call it ‘data everything’. The magic we have been seeing at Jio is when all the ‘C’ start working together, i.e., commerce, community, content, and connect.”

He further shared an example of Snickers, “In China, Alibaba team shared an insight with Snickers that people who are buying Snickers are also purchasing a lot of spicy stuff and bingo! Snickers went on to launch a spicy bar, which is the first one in the world and is a resounding success. That is what data delivers.”

Shejale shared similar thoughts as he said, “I think there are types of role like creative technologist, wherein it is a combination of both (data and creativity). Imagine if a creative person is fed with the right data, it could be really doing wonders.”

Speaking about the metrics that creators use to inspire their content, Mishra noted that currently the industry relies on broader level metrics that are not capturing emotions. Citing the example of his organisation he mentioned that it is trying and tracking tactical opportunities of content creation in terms of what is trending.

Sachdeva added that advertisers of today are looking for two fundamental metrics. “One is the number of completed views and the other thing that matters is the view-ability of ad placements.”

The panel focused on the need to strike a balance between the right amount of data and creativity to meet these metrics and create content that can strike an emotional chord with the consumers.

Mehta quipped, “Content has to be entertaining. I don’t know whether creativity will lead to entertainment or whether data will lead to entertainment. You can do whatever you want as long as it is entertaining content it will work. Now whether data has given you that understanding or it is happening because of your creative mind is inconsequential.”

Bangara culminated the session by pointing out that data is important because it is predictable and dependable while creativity is not. It thus helps in ensuring that the money is being put in the right places. He said, “You have to do a CYA to clear 100 per cent of your spends but at the same time you go to the best director, best scriptwriter to write a really amazing story. Data is dependable and creativity, unfortunately, is not. It is hard to draw the distinction between the two. They will always be hand in hand.”

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