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When brands think like publishers: CMS Asia 2016

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MUMBAI: As more brands are waking up to the perks of content marketing, they increasingly realise the need to think like a content platform or publisher. But, are they doing it right? -- was the question raised in the panel discussion at CMS Asia 2016. The panellists were -- Autocar’s Hormazd Sorabjee, Mxm’s Pradyuman Maheshwari, Scoopwhoop’s Sattvik Mishra and Reliance Broadcast Network’s Ashwin Padmanabhan. Qyunki’s Sameer Bangara was the dynamic moderator.

The panellists had a mix response to Bangara’s question – What are brands missing when they try to act as publishers? Maheshwari pointed out that brands often didn’t see the various possibilities that content can provide, being closeted in their traditional mindset. “Rarely do I see branded content that has actually explored the concept more radically. I don't see why a Lux, backed by HUL’s money and business acumen, can't have a content wing that does interviews with celebrities?,” he asked.

Mishra pointed out how brands need to take Ad Blockers and Youtube’s ‘skip ad’ statistics seriously and think deep into why its failing. “That's why branded content becomes important to engage the consumer. A user doesn’t care if it’s branded or not, as long as the story is entertaining, albeit it needs to be mentioned that it is a branded content. The problem is brands want to do marketing first, and content later,” Mishra frankly stated.

Sorabjee criticised how brands often are in it for the one-time association, and are quick to seek results. “Content marketing doesn’t work that way, one needs a continuous engagement with the consumer. Long-term association is the key to content marketing, provided the communication is consistent. Brands that are in it for the short spurt may not see much of a difference in their brand uplift.”

Padmanabhan urged brands to look at different metrics when it comes to content marketing and not go for a single standard measurement. “With the amount of data available today, it is easy to get confused but the CMO needs to identify which of those figures really align with the brand objective. Do views matter, or likes? Or shares? Or, the time spent on engagement...each brand will have different metrics to look at depending on the target they have.

Seconding Padmanabhan, Mishra added, “We give brands something we call a ‘brand lift’ where, if the brand was spoken about X number of times before engaging in a campaign with us, we show them that, after the campaign, the brand was spoken of 3X times, hypothetically. We have 3rd-party agencies who work on these numbers and internal machinery as well to provide these numbers to the brands.”

When it came to the measurement of a campaign’s success, Sorabjee differed from the rest of the panellists. “Numbers don’t really matter, I don’t believe in them. In content marketing, brands should, and they do look at the quality of your reader or viewer of a certain publisher. Therefore, the key is to keep your reader as the first priority . A publisher shouldn’t decide on the content based on what the brand wants but what its readers want to consume, and trust me, brands too want to reach that reader,” he said, adding that both, brands and publishers, shouldn’t compromise on content for the sake of metrics and numbers.

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