Cutting the content clutter: Khushboo Benani, Diageo India

Guest Column: Khushboo Benani, Content Head, Diageo India says brands today can use content marketing as a strong differentiator to drive cultural connections with consumers

e4m by Khushboo Benani
Updated: May 21, 2019 9:32 AM
Khushboo Benani Diageo

If we juxtapose chess analogy with the role of content in a brand’s marketing plan, then I would say that Content is the queen and not the King due to the agility it brings to storytelling. Brands today can use content marketing as a strong differentiator to drive cultural connections with consumers which are tougher to deliver through 20-30 sec TVC spots.

4G has reframed our media consumption with personalised entertainment and information choices are growing exponentially thanks to on-demand access, solo viewing, and media on the go. This has led to numerous interpretations of content growing in different formats depending on various platforms.

But as the love for content grows among consumers and marketers, so does the clutter. This clutter is so overwhelming that it is a challenge not only to get content noticed among consumers but also to ensure that the brand is recalled in the noticed content. It is not an easy task in a world where everyone with a smartphone can qualify to be a content creator and platforms keep changing algorithms to ensure organic branded cut through is minimalistic.

To my mind, creating impactful content has many thumb rules depending on the context but if I have to list personal top 5 then they would be:

Play in Culture

Content if done right can add significantly to meaningful and distinctiveness scores for a brand as it delivers an emotional connect and not just vanilla reach or recall. That also means that for content to be engaging, it needs to be rooted in strong cultural insights or moments to make it extremely relevant and relatable. A personal favourite example is when we wanted to tell the Keep Walking India story for Johnnie Walker, we identified landmark moments of progress for the country and then decided to retell the story of Mission Mars as it had the strongest cultural connect with the brand’s purpose.

It’s all about shareability 

Media monies can buy reach and views but shares are one metric that only good content can deliver. People will only share content that they really connect with and hence marketers should use it as a true yardstick of success. Shares are the digital interpretation of what qualified as word of mouth and there is enough data which indicates that it is the gold standard for driving brand influence.

Content and Media should be made for each other

If people’s attention span on Facebook is that of a goldfish, then it is wise to stick to short formats, if the brand is creating a music video or short film then one should lead with YouTube, Twitter should be a lead medium when you know your content will generate a debate/discussion. It is only when media and content start behaving like chicken and egg where you can’t figure what came first, you get the best results.

Keep reminding yourself that the content world changes every day

First came videos and gifs and then came Filters, Stories, Vertical Formats, AR, VR, Tik Tok and much more. As content marketers, we need to really be able to adapt and experiment with new formats and platforms at the same speed as consumers to be relevant. This need for early adoption is only going to get more critical as brands start focusing on Gen Z along with millennials.

Work with experts

Because how fragmented today content has become, every stream needs a different kind of expertise/partnerships and a singular creative agency might not be the best solution. For McDowell’s No.1 on Women’s Day, we wanted to do a listicle video format about celebrating women friends and hence we partnered with Filter Copy instead of creating owned content. Not only did the content turn out really great but because the format and platform are tuned into each other, the video got over 10MN organic views.

As marketers, we sometimes get into an echo chamber and start believing that the content we are creating cannot fail. Hence, it’s always important to take a step back and ask yourself a question about whether you would share that content or not, if you were not working for the brand. If the answer is No, then go back to the drawing board until you come up with an idea that is culture and consumer first.

After all, to win hearts we need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in, that should always be the role of content.


(The author Khushboo Benani is Content Head of beverage alcohol company, Diageo India)


Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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