Brands are entering consumer's world through branded content: Director, GoQuest

Darshan Bhatt of GoQuest Digital Studios talks about how branded content is the new future of marketing

e4m by Dolly Mahayan
Updated: Aug 20, 2018 8:53 AM

Content is seen as the important pillar to any marketing strategy. In the digital world, branded content is the latest trend. Keeping the new wave in mind, brands are now focusing on a set of targeted, segregated content and brand integration framework to reach out to young consumers with different emotional needs and values with products that suit them.

The digital video market is expected to be worth $1.6 billion by 2022, according to Media Partners Asia. The size of the digital advertising market in India is Rs 76.9 billion and the digital sector is growing at a rate of 28 per cent. These facts point out that the brands are turning into broadcasters by telling a specific story to their core audience. To understand the future of branded content market, regional content and the rise of digital first audience, we spoke to Darshan Bhatt, Director, GoQuest Digital Studios.

Edited Excerpts:-

What are your views on the branded content market in India?

Brands and marketers around the world have now identified that the structure, content, and communication methods of marketing techniques have to be different for every offering and target audience, and the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach can never work in the increasingly diversified content domain of today.

While consumption habits are shifting from text and pictures to short videos, marketers’ biggest upcoming challenge will be to sustainably and effectively produce high-quality short video content that interests users. Brands are becoming increasingly sophisticated as marketers work to ensure they exhibit more human-like attributes including values, behaviours, and tastes. And brand-focused videos are aiding this in a big way.

Data has become the cornerstone on which decisions are made on branded videos and will continue to be made, in spite of the creative subjectivity of the nature of video production. Brands are producing content strategically; they have realised the importance of creating content that lasts in people’s minds, engages and entertains them. Essentially, brands are slowly moving into the consumer's world through branded content rather than getting the consumer into the brand's world.

The digital space is getting populated day by day, what makes you better than the rest. What's your USP?

While everyone seems to be riding on the digital and content wave, fragmented offering of services has become a norm as enterprises are not been able to offer an integrated solution to the marketer’s problem.

Our offering is unique in the sense that we are a Studio in the truest sense and we operate exactly how studios operate, except that we go a few steps ahead to cover the entire content cycle - create+produce+market+distribute. Our unique partnership models allow us to grow the content pieces with us – because we are equally invested in the content piece.

How do you see the rise of the digital first audience and why it has never been a better time to engage them?

Content, in any form, gets consumed first on digital- the entire digital ecosystem has evolved rapidly and the consumer today has access to information (content) in his hand – he has the power to consume it anywhere, anytime of his choice – by virtue of people owning smartphones (phones with bigger screens). Further, the all-pervasive nature of Google along with enhanced internet penetration courtesy the telecom providers (specially launch of Jio) has led to people consuming any kind of content on the digital medium first. The avenue of content discovery has improved significantly for content creators. The digital medium also allows the content creators to express their vision in the way they want and not get bogged down by the watch dogs. All of this has led to the rise and evolution of digital content and digital-first audiences in a massive way.

What are digital ventures doing to successfully distribute and monetise content?

We are building significant relationships with platform owners by partnering with them in their content understanding process. Our many years of work in the international markets with broadcasters and digital platforms across the world have given us access to valuable information and insights. We use our business acumen and consumer insights in predicting content trends and thereby distributing the right content pieces to the right broadcaster/platform at the right time in the right place.

Brands are trying to establish a direct relationship with their customers. How GoQuest connects both of them?

GoQuest Digital Studios spearheads platform partnerships – we work with platform owners and broadcasters very closely. When we offer a brand an opportunity to partner with us on our content pieces we give them an integrated business solution where, we not only help to create the right content but use the right platform to reach the right consumer. We are at the cusp of this triangular relationship and we understand the target audience of the brand and the target audience of the platform. We use this expertise as leverage while building our business.

How are you going to analyse the actual need of the end user, what they really want to see? Can AI predict the choice of the user?

We are not a platform or a broadcaster to use AI or any other algorithm to predict consumer tastes and preferences towards content – we work with owners, who heavily invest in technology to predict and recommend content which will appeal to the consumer. While, we deploy our research agency to help us understand what content in what form will appeal to our target consumer – we also follow the golden rule - the past performance of a show in a particular market (country) will tend to work the same way in a homogenous market, for instance, there is a high probability that content which works in South Korea will work in Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand.

How do you see the rise of regional content?

The next billion internet users will come from the regional markets. Essentially, India has many different countries within itself. The local language preferences are growing louder and louder and can be seen in the rise of regional General Entertainment Channels - to cater to this rising regional population, content will have to be served in their local language – Amazon Prime investing in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam films which are as recent as 2018 is an indication of the things to come – Every major broadcaster in the country, including news channels, has beefed up its regional content offering. So much so that messaging applications and social media platforms including voice-based search are being offered in the regional language. Regional content will fuel the demand and the revenue opportunities for every content player in the coming days.

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