Content marketing is about 'Return on Objective', not ROI, says UB's Samar Singh Sheikhawat

Speaking on Content Marketing Measurement, the Chief Marketing Officer of United Breweries lists three important things that should be kept in mind while approaching content strategies – innovation with scale, relatability and moment marketing

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Content marketing is about 'Return on Objective', not ROI, says UB's Samar Singh Sheikhawat

Samar Singh Sheikhawat

At a time when each marketing activity is linked with ROIs, the metrics that are used to measure content marketing results should be clear. It should never be about ‘return on investment but ‘return on objective’ on content marketing strategies, said Samar Singh Sheikhawat, Chief Marketing Officer, United Breweries. He was speaking at the recently concluded Content Marketing Summit Asia at The Leela Gurgaon.

“It is all about measuring the return on objectives and not the return on investment. What is the objective that you have laid out? Was your objective to drive brand awareness or to have a conversation, to drive engagement, affinity and relatability?” Sheikhawat said.

Sheikhawat went on talking about creating native content to drive a long lasting perception. Acknowledging that native content landscape involves the creators and the distributors of content,he said, “Brands are the stakeholders because they need to create branded content and push the brand agenda. The brands have the primary responsibility in terms of creating native content.”

There are content specialists like Scoop Whoop, Filter copy and TVF and the content distributors like Indiatimes, PopXo, Amazon Prime Videos and Netflix.

Sharing an example of one of the native content produced by UB group, Sheikha watreferred to the TVF Pitchers, keeping in mind the seamless integration of the brand into the story.

The web series is based on the lexicon ‘Tu Beer Hai’, implying that the beer is of no use if bottled up, it needs to flow. Similarly, for human beings, we can’t be confined with the mental barriers.

Sheikhawat added. “Hundreds of people I met at various occasions did not know which brand this show was associated with. For me, it was a success. I did not want them to know that Kingfisher is associated with this. The brand was seamlessly and organically woven into the story.”

Another example that Sheikhawat gave was of Tata Tiago’s TVF Tripling where it drove the brand’s sale multi-fold.

The most important aspect is to drive the purchase intent and one needs to be able to measure it. “One needs to ask specific questions on the digital initiatives because at the end of the day, the CEO or the sales head will come and ask that we are in the business of marketing beer and not writing web series. If you can measure and prove that these initiatives can deliver on those measures, which in turn drove purchase intent, brand awareness, volumes, conversations and whatever the objective is, only then are you making any sense,” said Sheikhawat.

He also mentioned three important things that should be kept in mind while approaching content strategies – innovation with scale, relatability and moment marketing.

“An ideal content approach needs to have three things. Firstly, it needs to be innovation with scale. Secondly, the digital world is very fond of micro moments. Thirdly, it has to be relatable to our geographies, cultural mindsets and technology enablement,” explained Sheikhawat.

Sheikhawat pointed out that brands do path-breaking innovations, but these can only bear results when are scaled to reach out to the masses.

He shared a few examples of how the brands used these three metrics to achieve results. For example, Oreo biscuits broke into the highly competitive category of biscuits through its campaign in which the brand created a ritual of eating Oreo. This was scaled with the launch of the mobile game as part of the campaign ‘Oreo Dunk Challenge’ that led fans of the cookie brand to launch Oreos into space and watch them fall into glasses of milk all over the world. As part of the game, the players took a photo of an actual Oreo cookie. Once the photo has been taken and “cookie recognition” has taken place, the Oreo transforms into a digital version of itself. Players can then swing their phones to determine how far they want their Oreo to go; the faster the swing, the further the Oreo will “travel” before descending and dunking into a virtual glass of milk somewhere across the world.

Giving the example of moment marketing, Sheikhawat mentioned about Nike’s association with Michael Phelps ‘Under Armour’ campaign. Michael Phelps was in training for Rio when he had just come back from his smoking offence. His comeback resonated well with the Nike’s target audience. Even after not being the official partners at the Olympics, the brand made the most out of the timely association with Phelps and created content by involving him and not selling themselves directly.

Explaining the third point of relatability, Sheikhawat gave the example of Levis ‘" target="_blank">#ShapeMyWorld’ campaign. Levis gapped on every women’s latent desire of wearing skinny jeans through the campaign.Since then not just Levis benefited out of the campaign, but the skinny jeans also segment has grown by 22 per cent.

Samar Singh Sheikhawat content marketing