How brands are telling stories to woo consumers

Industry observers say that creating relevant content helps brands resonate with the target audience but needs to be relatable and interesting

e4m by Shantanu David
Published: Feb 3, 2023 8:59 AM  | 7 min read

While doing research on a recommended product, treatment (cosmetic or otherwise), supplement, or even an activity, you go down the rabbit hole of internet searches, you often find the best, certainly the most accessible and easy-to-understand information, personal accounts, and stories on websites that are curiously purveying just what you’re looking for, a quick hyperlink away.

Product demos and reviews, long-form or short video tutorials and how-to(s), and behind-the-scenes looks are all examples of content to commerce, an advertising strategy engineered to help us become members of a tribe who buys better, because we know better, resulting in the self-satisfaction of even more sweet dopamine.

Keerthi R Kumar, Business Head-South, FoxyMoron (Zoo Media Network), says that brands can build trust and establish themselves as experts in their field by providing valuable and relevant content to consumers, which leads to increased sales.

“Furthermore, thanks to technological advancements, brands can now easily integrate e-commerce functionality into their content, making it easier for consumers to make a purchase directly from the content they are viewing. This can be accomplished through simple tactics like shoppable on different social media platforms or by linking directly to a product page from within a video or even a blog post,” Kumar said.

Watch, research, buy

Manish Solanki, COO, and Co-Founder, TheSmallBigIdea, says that for the model to work effectively, brands have to invest in building engaging and informative content through LIVE streaming, augmented reality and virtual reality, which can be used to create immersive shopping experiences.

“Creating valuable and relevant content that resonates with the target audience will help brands attract customers who are more likely to be engaged with the brand and more likely to make a purchase. I would like to call it ‘assisted reality’, where we can use relevant content to effectively guide and assist the customer in making a choice,” he says, adding that while advertising can help build recall, content can help augment the brand’s value through related content.

An interesting example would be the Good Glamm Group, which was one of the first to adopt this model by investing in content companies like Miss Malini, ScoopWhoop, and POPxo. Another example would be the beauty and personal care brand Mama Earth, for which the content strategy worked well with the mother-focussed content platform Momspresso.

Shivani Kamdar, Associate Creative Director, SoCheers, observes that there's been a paradigm shift in the way consumers make their purchase decision today.

“They trust an informative/educative and credible piece of content more today over just another promotional ad. It's them who decide where and how they want to consume content making their purchase journey much more seamless. By probing through reviews, blogs, and websites, they arrive at their purchase decision and these serve as the perfect touch points for brands to leverage their communication,” she says.

Stories in shopping

Shubham Singhal, CEO, Dot Media Solutions Pvt. Ltd., believes that the content-to-commerce base is the most important way to establish a brand personality and create an identity. “It is not a process of a few days but something that brand’s need to be consistent about for years in order to solidify their connection to their audience. If you have a story to tell, ensure it's interesting and relatable. If not, make it up. Ensure the content you put out on the internet is from the perspective of informing, not selling,” he says.

According to a recent study, D2C brands in India are expected to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 30% over the next five years, with the market projected to reach $3 billion by 2026. Dharmender Khanna, Country Head- D2C India AnyMind Group, says this rapid growth is being driven by several factors like the growing importance of social media and digital platforms, the increasing popularity of influencer marketing, and the growing focus on customer experience.

Additionally, D2C brands are also leveraging the power of influencer marketing to further boost their content-to-commerce efforts. According to a report by the Influencer Marketing Hub, the influencer marketing industry in India is expected to grow by more than 20%, reaching $5 billion in 2023.

Khanna says partnering with influential figures in their industry or niche, these brands are able to tap into a pre-existing audience and drive more traffic and conversions to their e-commerce sites. As brands gain a deeper understanding of the model, they are shifting their focus from quantity to quality. Instead of hard-selling their product, they are focusing on telling their side of the story in the most interesting way possible.

Singhal notes, “You forget the products, prices and offers, what you remember is the story. An example that is particularly effective are the advertisements created by Cred. Sure, they showcase their USPs but what their content focuses on is establishing their brand personality.”

Arihant Jain, CEO at meme marketing company Wubba Lubba Dub Dub, points out that content has been around since time immemorial, but it is not always preferred due to the assumption that content may not guarantee sales. “As for ads, you can be absolutely certain that your investment of Rs 1 crore will make an X number of sales in a specific period of time, and since it’s data-driven, it’s easy to rely on it without having second thoughts.”

“However, I believe that content marketing has reached a crucial stage right now, making it imperative to start creating content on your platforms - Insta, YouTube, Twitter, and Discord, to reach out to audiences organically and convert them into customers. Unlike Ads, it’s easier to interact on platforms via content since it’s a two-way street and the engagement can be tracked down easily,” Jain added.

Beyond Walled Gardens

Kumar points out that the content-to-commerce model has a significant impact on major walled gardens such as Facebook, Instagram, and Google because it enables brands to leverage the platform’s vast reach and audience to promote their products and drive sales. “The platforms benefit by providing brands with tools and functionality to easily integrate e-commerce within their content, such as shoppable posts and product tags, and by allowing them to reach a highly targeted audience.”

Kamdar adds, “To put it in simpler words, it is data democratization, which means it's like breaking their monopoly right? With brands adopting intelligent commerce platform strategies and consumers being receptive to the same, content-to-commerce does pose a serious competitor for these big leagues from their individual business point of view.”

Experts say the content-to-commerce model has adversely affected major walled gardens. There is an influx of content on a daily basis on these platforms disguised as influencer marketing, digital marketing and SEO, that is designed to fit in and stand out on these platforms at the same time.

However, the content-to-commerce model presents difficulties for these platforms. One of the most significant challenges is the possibility of increased brand competition as more companies seek to capitalise on the content-to-commerce model. This makes it increasingly difficult for any single brand to stand out and capture consumer attention.

Sharing thoughts on this barrier, Kumar says, “As these platforms evolve, they may need to adapt to new technologies and trends, such as augmented reality and virtual reality, in order to remain relevant and provide value to both brands and consumers. Another issue that the model faces is privacy concerns and the use of consumer data.” Platforms need to ensure that they comply with data protection regulations and maintain consumer trust, Kumar noted.

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Rakul Preet Singh highlights the need for responsible gaming in A23's new campaign

The platform is set to release more such films in the coming two weeks showcasing its portfolio- A23 Rummy, A23 Fantasy and

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 22, 2023 4:44 PM   |   3 min read

rakul preet

Multi-gaming platform A23 (Head Digital Works), launched a fresh cluster of brand films under its ‘Chalo Saath Khelein’ campaign featuring Rakul Preet Singh. With the initial leg of these ad films, the brand highlights a variety of online rummy formats available on the A23 Rummy application on which users can play online together with friends and family.

The new ad film shows Rakul Preet Singh and other players enjoying a game of darts, each with their own unique style of play. She goes on to talk about how players can choose from a variety of rummy formats on the A23 Rummy app, best suited to their skill set. A23 has also ramped up their enduring ‘Responsible Gaming’ campaign, endorsing the need for players to game within reasonable limits. Rakul Preet Singh, who is seen running on a treadmill, draws a parallel between exercising and online gaming and the need to take breaks between both.

The brand film coincides with the ongoing cricket season and the upcoming IPL, which always draws attention. Both the ad films are live across all major social and digital platforms.  

The ads were released on OLVs & OTTs alongside traditional mediums on live cricket. A23 is set to release more such films in the coming two weeks showcasing its portfolio- A23 Rummy, A23 Fantasy and Apart from Rakul Preet Singh, these films will also feature popular digital creator, Niharika Naga Malneedi.  The message of ‘Chalo Saath Khelein’ will be telecasted across multiple regional languages including Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Kannada, Malayalam and Gujarati.

Speaking about the campaign, Gunnidhi Singh Sareen, VP- Marketing, Head Digital Works said, “At A23, we are committed to providing our players with a responsible gaming experience, and our new ad films ahead of the IPL season reflect that. We believe in offering customized game play options to all our players, ensuring that they can enjoy our offerings in a safe and responsible manner. As we launch our latest campaign, we are proud to say that our responsible gaming narrative remains at the heart of our business. We are also excited to highlight our fantasy gaming experiences and offerings this season in the second leg of the campaign. The IPL season presents an excellent opportunity for us to reach the right audience, and we are excited to showcase our offerings on TV to millions of viewers."

 These new brand ads aim to leverage the various personalized in-game features to encourage users to enjoy an unparalleled gaming experience by playing together with their friends and family. A23 continues to drive its messaging of ‘Chalo Saath Khelein’ and ‘Responsible Gaming’ and believes that online gaming is one of the most engaging means of entertainment.

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Shyam Steel joins hands with Lucknow Super Giants as Principal Sponsors

Players and official members of the Lucknow Super Giants will sport the Shyam Steel logo on the jersey

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 22, 2023 1:16 PM   |   2 min read

Principal Sponsors

Shyam Steel has announced its association with IPL franchise Lucknow Super Giants as the principal sponsor of the franchise. The association will help Shyam Steel to enhance its brand and business presence across the HSM markets and nationally.

Aligned to the association, the players and official members of Lucknow Super Giants team will be sporting the Shyam Steel logo on the back of the official match day jersey. The logo will also be prominently visible during the on-ground matches of the franchise. The brand will have the right to use player images and team logo for internal use and promotional purposes. The association will also be amplified across, print, outdoor, television, digital and social media platforms which will run through entire duration of the tournament. The duration of the association is three years.

Commenting on the association, Lalit Beriwala, Director, Shyam Steel Industries Ltd said, “We are very proud to associate ourselves with one of the most popular franchise, Lucknow Super Giants. The team is the perfect amalgamation of talent, experience and enthusiasm. India is a cricket frenzy nation, and this partnership will help us to build a high brand recall amongst our target audience nationally. Uttar Pradesh is a key market for us as it serves as our gateway to the North Indian markets, and we hope this association creates a positive impact in the region. We look forward to a very successful season for both the brands.”

Colonel Vinod Bisht, CEO RPSG Sports said: “We are absolutely delighted to be entering into a long-term partnership with an esteemed brand like Shyam Steel. There is a lot of positive synergy between the brand and the franchise, and we look forward to working with them in this prestigious tournament.”

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Explore the era of agility at Pitch CMO Summit Mumbai 2023

The summit will be held on Friday, 24th March, 2023, in Mumbai

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 22, 2023 8:38 AM   |   3 min read

Pitch CMO

exchange4media Group is back with the on-ground Mumbai edition of its flagship property - Pitch CMO Summit after three years. The upcoming edition of the conference will be held on Friday, 24th of March, 2023, from 10am onwards. Fancode WebEngage and ABP News are the Co-Powered by Partners for the summit while the Co-Gold Partners are DoubleVerify, Pepper Content and Torc ai. 

Pitch CMO Summit Mumbai 2023 brings India's most reputed brands and top management to interact and share insights on their game-changing success stories under one roof.

The theme of this edition of the conference is ‘The Agile Marketer’.

Apart from the keynote sessions and two panel discussions, many spotlight sessions are also part of the summit agenda.

In today’s world led by the likes of ChatGPT and Google Bard, brands that are shying away from using AI for advertising are at a continuous competitive disadvantage. Most advertisers are already using AI to identify and segment audiences, build ad creatives, test ads, improve ad performance, and optimize spend — all automatically, in real-time, at scale. To take us through the enormous opportunities that can emerge by marrying Human creativity and AI, Pawan Rochwani, Head of Brand & Partnerships, Pepper Content will speak about ‘Content ROI With & Beyond Generative AI’.

AI has revolutionized the advertising industry by enabling marketers to deliver personalized, targeted, and relevant ads to consumers. AI-powered advertising solutions use machine learning algorithms to analyze vast amounts of data on consumer behaviour, preferences, and demographics to predict and target ads to the right audience at the right time and place. To share some case studies of ‘Many Industry Firsts With VI Ads’, ROHIT VERMA, Chief Executive Officer, TorcAI will speak at the summit.

Conversational commerce is transforming the way consumers interact with businesses, allowing them to shop, order, and pay for products and services through messaging and chatbot technologies. No more clunky websites, no more frustrating phone calls - just natural language conversations with brands they love. Sharing more on ‘End of Broadcasting, Beginning of Conversations’ will be Tamanna Dhamija, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Convosight.

Gone are the days of Mad Men-style marketing, where creative ideas were enough to win over customers. Today, marketing is as much about technology as it is about creativity. The rise of MarTech (Marketing Technology) has given birth to a new generation of marketers who are just as comfortable with code as they are with the copy.  To share more insights on ‘Rise of the MarTech EXPLORERS & Insights From the State of MarTech In India’ joining the summit will be Mihir Karkare, EVP, Mirum India.

The conference will be followed by the award felicitation ceremony of The Pitch Best CMO Awards 2023.

For more details, please check out the microsite:

To attend the summit and awards, get in touch with or

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Robin Uthappa named brand ambassador of fantasy sports platform Sportiqo

Sportiqo will also launch a host of digital campaigns with Uthappa in the near future

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 21, 2023 5:00 PM   |   2 min read

robin uthapa

Sportiqo, a blockchain-based fantasy sports platform has announced ace Indian cricketer Robin Uthappa as their brand ambassador. Sportiqo marked the beginning of its operations in India in the month of February and so far, amassed 32,000 active users owing to its beta launch.

The stylish batter from Karnataka, Robin is a generational talent, wanted by every cricket league in the world. Uthappa was a part of the Indian squad which won the ICC World T20 in 2007. He is known for his masterful batting performances and his great impact on his team’s success.

Speaking on the association, Robin Uthappa said, “Sportiqo is the perfect platform where I am able to find a cohesive link between sports and technology. The stock market is something that is often portrayed as being meant for a particular segment of the audience but with Sportiqo sports fans across age groups would not only be able to learn how the stock markets work but at the same time be able to use their sporting knowledge and skills to do it in a fun and engaging manner.”

He further added, “Making the youth learn about investing and trading using cricket is a great idea. India needs creative options to improve the financial literacy of the masses and I am glad that Sportiqo is addressing that gap. I am proud to be associated with the platform.”

“We are delighted to welcome Robin Uthappa to the Sportiqo family as our new brand ambassador. He is one of the most exciting cricketers of his era. said Anindya Kar, Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder of Sportiqo. “With his disruptive and instinctively innovative approach to his sport, Robin Uthappa embodies the same pioneering spirit that will drive Sportiqo to keep pushing boundaries in the sector.”

Sportiqo will also launch a host of digital campaigns with Robin Uthappa in the near future.

Sportiqo has so far, raised $1.25 million (Rs. 10 crores) in the pre-seed round from angel investors with a focus on user acquisition in its first phase post-launch. The cricket stock market platform is already live for the ILT20 League, Pakistan Super League (PSL) and additionally, in the coming time, Sportiqo will add a portfolio of other sports and leagues as well such as the English Premier League and the Indian Premier League among others.

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Jr. NTR and Kriti Sanon come together for Appy Fizz campaign

The campaign also introduces the newly revamped packaging design of Appy Fizz

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 21, 2023 4:02 PM   |   3 min read

NTR Kriti Sanon

Appy Fizz has unveiled an upbeat summer campaign kicking off the new era of the sparkling fruit-flavoured brand. For the first time ever, megastars and brand ambassadors Kriti Sanon and Jr. NTR will be seen together onscreen, as a part of Appy Fizz’s campaign. The fresh onscreen pairing is testimony to the brand’s commitment to infusing new energy into the brand. The theme revolves around embracing the new i.e. doing something new, exciting and unique by inspiring consumers to take bold next steps for a much needed change.

The campaign also introduces the newly revamped packaging design of Appy Fizz through their summer brand film and activations for consumers across India.

Free of caffeine and a healthier alternative to colas, Appy Fizz continues to wow audiences with its edgy and exuberant campaigns. The ad film’s captivating cinematography pulls the viewer in on an exciting journey across highly stylised graphic backdrops. The seamless transitions seen in the Appy Fizz brand film adds to the mysterious, stylish and confident vibe of the brand. Kriti Sanon and Jr. NTR's enigmatic personalities invite audiences to ‘Feel the Fizz’ and embrace the new, against a setting of magnificent graphics and catchy, pulsating music.

Commenting on the summer campaign, Nadia Chauhan, Joint Managing Director & CMO, Parle Agro said “This season’s summer campaign for Appy Fizz is symbolic of our legendary brand of 20 years, shedding its old look and marking a new chapter in its prolific legacy. We are celebrating this elevated identity in a massive way as our brand ambassadors, Kriti Sanon and Jr. NTR join forces for a memorable multi-channel campaign. With our commitment to innovation and quality, we have plans to further drive growth of the sparkling fruit flavoured category that we’ve created, to newer heights and reinforce consumer affinity for the much loved brand.”

Along with the ad film, there are activations planned across TV, outdoor, digital and radio to amplify the new avatar of Appy Fizz. An aggressive outdoor campaign has been put into action. Large impact hoardings and branding at heavy footfall and traffic areas have been set up to drive enormous visibility and reach for the brand. Appy Fizz is the associate sponsor for the IPL this season and the new campaign will play out during the entire run of the much-awaited sports event, capitalising on its massive reach and high viewership. Apart from ads, there are numerous innovations that will be done within prime-time TV shows across channels to feature the product. The idea is to focus on building the brand through in-show integrations, going beyond showcasing the product via advertisements. Appy Fizz retails at an unbeatable price of Rs.10.

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Ranveer Singh pips Virat Kohli to become 'Most Valued Celebrity of 2022': Kroll report

Singh's brand value of $181.7 million puts him ahead of Kohli, Akshay Kumar, Alia Bhatt and Deepika Padukone

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 21, 2023 3:52 PM   |   3 min read

ranveer singh

Kroll, the leading independent provider of global risk and financial advisory solutions, announced today the launch of the eighth edition of its Celebrity Brand Valuation Study titled, “Beyond the Mainstream”. The study provides a ranking of India’s most powerful celebrity brands based on brand values derived from their brand endorsement portfolios and relative social media presence. The overall brand value of the top 25 celebrities in 2022 is estimated at USD 1.6 billion (bn), an increase of 29.1% from 2021.

 Key findings of the report include:

  • Ranveer Singh becomes the most valued celebrity of 2022 with a brand value of USD 181.7 million (mn)
  • Virat Kohli secured second position with a brand value of USD 176.9 mn and Akshay Kumar stays steady at the third position with a brand value of USD 153.6 mn
  • Allu Arjun and Rashmika Mandanna feature on the top 25 list with brand values of USD 31.4 mn and USD 25.3 mn, making it the first time for a South Indian celebrity to be featured on the list
  • Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra debuted with a brand value of USD 26.5 mn at No. 23

Aviral Jain, Managing Director, Valuation Advisory Services, Kroll, said: This year’s theme ‘Beyond the Mainstream’ is driven by the stupendous rise of South Indian movie stars and sport celebrities. Notable names from the Tollywood industry, Allu Arjun and Rashmika Mandanna, were featured on the list of India’s top 25 celebrities along with India’s T20 captain Hardik Pandya and Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra. Amongst the Bollywood stars, Ranveer became the most valued celebrity brand in India, given his mammoth endorsement portfolio and widening global presence. Kiara Advani, Kartik Aaryan and Sara Ali Khan were other Bollywood debutants on our top 25 list.” 

2022 has been the second successful year for South Indian movies at the box office, resulting in many Tollywood faces being sought after in the advertising and media industry nationally. Further, with a splendid performance at the Olympics followed by the Commonwealth Games, Indian sports stars continue to bag several marquee endorsements benefiting because of lower competition from Bollywood stars with a limited box office collection. 

We present the list of our top 25 celebrity brands for 2022 below: 

Rank (2022 Report)


Brand Value (USD mn)


Ranveer Singh 



Virat Kohli



Akshay Kumar



Alia Bhatt



Deepika Padukone



MS Dhoni



Amitabh Bachchan



Sachin Tendulkar



Hrithik Roshan



Shah Rukh Khan



Salman Khan



Ranbir Kapoor



Rohit Sharma



Ayushmann Khurrana



Anushka Sharma



Kiara Advani



Kareena Kapoor



Kartik Aaryan



Hardik Pandya



Allu Arjun



Sara Ali Khan



Varun Dhawan



Neeraj Chopra



PV Sindhu



Rashmika Mandanna


 2023 marks 25 years of Kroll’s presence in India. Kroll Advisory Private Limited is a SEBI registered Category 1 merchant banker, enabling the company to provide fairness opinions and a wider range of valuation services to listed companies. In 2018, Duff & Phelps acquired Kroll, and the entire firm unified under the Kroll brand in 2020.

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Madison World turns 35

Known as India's largest independent communications group, the company was founded on March 21, 1988 by media veteran Sam Balsara

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 21, 2023 12:58 PM   |   1 min read


Homegrown communications agency Madison World has turned 35 today. The agency holds the distinction of being the largest independent communications group in India and the fifth-largest independent media agency in the world.

Founded on March 21, 1988 by media veteran Sam Balsara, the company has 24 business units across 11 specialised functions of advertising, media, business, analytics, outdoor, activation, events, PR, retail, entertainment, mobile and sports. The company posts a gross billing of Rs 4,000 crore.

Over 1,000 communications professionals work for the company in offices across India.

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