How owned brand platforms are changing the marketing game

Sujit Patil, VP & Head of Corporate Brand & Communications, Godrej Group, writes about owned media platforms by brands are turning out to be a game changer for engaging consumers in an authentic manner. Gone are the days when brands were looking at traditional marketing to engage consumers. With the advent of digital space, rise of influencers and a need to engage consumers in a personalised manner, brands are creating their owned brand properties. The objective is not just consumer engagement, but to achieve the goal of Experiential Marketing, Influencer Engagement and Digital Content. 

In a tech-yug, the marketplace is both cluttered and cut-throat. Every brand is vying for attention. 

Engaging the millennial consumer is a different ballgame today as the average consumer is well informed and well-pandered to with multiple choices. So, merely offering a high quality product isn’t enough. Right engagement is the key. 

Brand owners, including marketers, PR professionals, and digital marketers, are finding creative ways to showcase brand narratives through innovative experiences that will help build sustained brand equity. Brands have to provide customers with personalised experiences within the overarching brand narrative that can help them connect with the brand. 

Experiential PR can play a strong role in ensuring share of mind space and this is supported by data. A Harvard Business Review survey showed that 93 per cent of business owners say that hosting an event is integral to their marketing plan. This, after 91 per cent of consumers say they look at brands more favourably after attending events, and 85 per cent are more likely to buy a product or service after going to one. 

Experience it, believe it! 

Through strategically designed experiential owned media platforms, brands can help foster trust and brand loyalty; they also help build a community, especially when experiences are effectively combined with influencer engagement and digital storytelling. 

Experiential owned brand properties are increasingly becoming a powerful tool for building communities and advocates. Such platforms can also be used to mobilise influencers – celebrities, bloggers and key opinion leaders – who have their own followers and, more importantly, understand the kind of content that will appeal to their base. Influencers can also help marketers in creating focused, relevant and engaging content around a brand’s offerings. Such platforms mobilise key influencers who are then able to churn out authentic content around your offerings as they have experienced your brand and understood its purpose better. 

The One Plus Music Festival, which included a star-studded line-up of artists such as Katy Perry, Dua Lipa and Amit Trivedi, is a good example. Through this unique experience, the brand catered to its own community as well as youngsters who craved for global music festivals. 

A meaningful story 

Another example of experiential marketing that is trending now – and has the potential to evolve further – is immersive storytelling. A brand can get consumers to ‘feel’ the brand and forge a meaningful connection by crafting a unique and engaging sensory experience that forms the center of its story. One brand which has successfully used an immersive platform and digital storytelling to reach out to its consumers is Bacardi. 

Casa Bacardi – the brand’s latest experience-driven consumer engagement initiative – features music, fashion, sustainability and mixology. The alco-bev brand has been co-creating fresh digital content that resonate with consumer passion points to drive the message of its global #DoWhatMovesYou campaign. 

Case study - Godrej L’Affaire 

A research three years back showed that the affinity towards brand Godrej amongst youngsters could be much better. Various research studies also depicted the dwindling trust in advertising and sponsored content, more so among the millennial audiences. So, as a part of the overall Masterbrand strategy to address this issue, we felt that a meaningful experiential engagement of our brands in the lifestyle space with influencers and key opinion leaders (KOLs) was key. This could lead to authentic content creation for social media, build communities of brand advocates and help us reach the appropriate TGs in an effective manner. 

We began with the food space as seven of Godrej businesses have a significant share of the kitchen (Interio kitchens, appliances, Nature’s Basket, Real Good Chicken, Protekt hand wash, etc.). The runaway success of ‘Vikhroli Cucina’ as a platform to engage with KOLs in the food space encouraged us to launch ‘Godrej L’Affaire’, which is our owned media property that enables brands and businesses in the lifestyle space to meaningfully engage with audiences in an experiential manner. As our owned media platforms, including Godrej L’Affaire, grow bigger, we expect our traction with the young audiences’ gets better, authentic content is generated for the participating brands and we are able to build a very good and positive digital safety net in the social space. 

The three pillars of Godrej L’Affaire are – content creation, experiential engagement and building a community of advocates for the brand Godrej. Over the last three years, Godrej L’Affaire has consistently delivered on all these parameters for each of the participating brands. Case in point, Season 3 witnessed about 40 million impressions on social media, about 100 plus videos (testimonials, engagement, endorsement, etc.) were created across the participating brands and a community of lifestyle influencers, advocates is getting formed. L’Affaire has helped multiple businesses within and outside of Godrej engage meaningfully and in an immersive manner with influencers and key opinion leaders like chefs, designers, lifestyle experts and generate content that is authentic and impactful.

The overall admiration scores for the Masterbrand Godrej have improved (Milward Brown Research 2019) and the connect with younger audiences has become stronger. 

Experiential owned brand properties are increasingly becoming a powerful tool for building communities and advocates. Such platforms can also be used to mobilise influencers – celebrities, bloggers and key opinion leaders – who have their own followers and, more important, understand the kind of content that will appeal to their base. 

The advantage is that digital opens up the path to highly creative engagement strategies that can get the brand to connect with the consumer on practically a one-on-one basis. The older digital marketing platforms will of course continue – newsletters, email campaigns, social media campaigns and other marketing tools – that will help spark conversations and sustain them. However, it is experiential marketing that will deliver the ‘wow’ factor that will help your brand grow in the digital era.


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