Kumar asserts that what a media brand brings to the conversation is their ability to distribute the content effectively. When it comes to media brands, their ability to reach out to a wide range of the population with effective communication makes them distinguishable.As content consumption patterns are constantly evolving, panelists at the recently held afaqs! Media Brand Awards, debate what it takes for a brand to stand out in a sea of channels and platforms.
Many Bollywood movies are now being released on OTT platforms first, instead of cinema halls. This is a testament to how media consumption has changed recently. These changes have opened up a window for many new media companies to gain prominence.
With India’s media landscape evolving at a rapid pace, what does it take to nurture a media brand? What does it take for a brand to stand out in a sea of channels and platforms?
Sreekant Khandekar, co-founder and CEO, afaqs!, posed this question to a panel of industry experts at the Media Brand Awards held in Delhi recently. The panel included Niti Kumar, chief operating officer, Starcom India; Pinaki Bhattacharya, chief strategy officer, Wunderman Thompson; and Kartik Mahadev, CMO - content SBU, Zee Entertainment Enterprises.
According to Bhattacharya of Wunderman Thompson, media brands are like D2C businesses, in essence, as they heavily rely on consumer preferences. The fundamental principle of ensuring that a media brand gains relevance or continues to be relevant with consumers, is to stay on top of content consumption trends.
Kumar of Starcom India adds that a brand needs to find a balance in marketing the content it hosts on its platform and its image. "The main challenge for media brand marketers is to balance the brand's appeal and the content it host in the marketing communications it puts out," she says.
Bhattacharya highlights that the business dynamics for media brands differ from that of normal brands. For media brands, consumer loyalty is more fickle, as there are a plethora of options available and there are only a few programs or personalities that one can connect with.
"People are more passionate about the programs, personalities, and shows on a brand's platform. They'll follow them regardless of the platform they are moving to. A media brand makes a difference when it comes to user interface, how AI is incorporated on their platform and how it understands the preferences of the consumers."
Kumar asserts that what a media brand brings to the conversation is their ability to distribute the content effectively. When it comes to media brands, their ability to reach out to a wide range of the population with effective communication makes them distinguishable.
Mahadev of Zee, who has been in the media industry since 2016, says if content is the picture, the brand is the frame around the picture. “The framing, in a sense, creates a holistic perspective of what you’re showcasing to your audience. We’re storytellers. The kind of stories you chose to tell, is what makes you stand out from your competitors.”
Bhattacharya adds that consumers are brutal when it comes to media brand loyalty. They tend to switch at the drop of a hat. The biggest challenge is to keep on top of consumer tastes that are changing. The irony is that the stimulus for this change is triggered by the media only. Some brands are aiming for a disruption in the way content is consumed.
Agreeing with Bhattacharya, Mahadev believes that content shapes culture, but it doesn’t take giant leaps out of the blue. Small innovations move the narrative every day. Shows are successful because the characters and the storyline keep changing according to how the world is moving.
For Mahadev, the main challenge for brands is to figure out the changes. Brands need to adapt to the changes and develop efficient ways to engage with their consumers.
“In the post-COVID content ecosystem, consumption behavior has changed dramatically. At Zee, we want to look at the ‘videoverse’ as a whole. When you have a spectrum of devices to choose from, as is the case these days, people may be willing to pay for content on certain devices and watch some for free on others. You need to be able to serve content in various segments. You need a robust content design system in place.”