Indian Brands Cast Online Video In Lead Marketing Role

Here’s how Microsoft India, HCL, and Nestle India, among others, have integrated digital video into their overall content marketing strategies.

Indian Brands Cast Online Video In Lead Marketing Role

The amount of video content on the Internet continues to grow steadily, and the future looks even more promising for its creators. In fact, Cisco predicts that, by 2020, 80% of all Internet traffic will consist of streaming video content, up from 64% in 2014.

With its unique ability to captures consumer sentiment and establish an emotional connection between the seller and the consumer, video has opened creative pathways for marketers in India.

“Online videos have tremendous power to engage the target audience using their own native media forums. Hence, brands are now shifting funds from their advertising budgets to the online space, and this is a key shift,” said Anshul Sushil, co-founder of Indian agency Boring Brands.

So how are marketers currently using this format, and where does video marketing go from here?

Visual Storytelling: A Smash Hit

India has been described as the sleeping giant of online video consumption. Video content now comprises 66% of all Internet traffic (PDF), up from 49% in 2015, according to a report on the media and entertainment industry by market research firm KPMG and FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry).

The report also reveals that digital advertising spending is expected to break INR60 billion (US$900 million) by 2020. The rise of the smartphone is largely behind India’s increase in video consumption. India is expected to become the second largest smartphone market by 2017, overtaking the U.S. In addition, India’s Internet penetration is expected to reach 50% by 2018, due to increasing smartphone availability and usage, according to a Morgan Stanley report.

The climate is therefore ideal for Indian marketers to use digital video to reach an unprecedented number of potential consumers. Another favourable indicator: Production costs are coming down due to readily available talent and easy-to-use technology. Meanwhile, the increased use of broadcasting apps on social video platforms, such as Meerkat, Periscope, Vine, and Facebook Live, have contributed to the rise of video as the go-to format.

But while video as a medium allows for greater experimentation than other media, integrating it into an overall content marketing strategy is where the real challenge lies.

Brands In Action

Brands are increasing their digital video budgets as part of their media planning, accounting for 25% of total Indian digital advertising spending in 2015, according to the KPMG-FICCI report. In some cases, this spending is being used to create a stream of video content in line with an overall marketing strategy.

Microsoft India, for example, now sees digital video as an integral part of the marketing mix. The company is using video for product demonstrations, for driving thought leadership, to showcase its own technology and for in-house training. Video has become integral to Microsoft’s advertising strategies, too. In 2013, the company launched several campaigns for Windows 8, leveraging video assets on mobile and social media.

“Content marketing and storytelling are integral elements of our marketing mix, and we leverage video broadly across a variety of messages,” said Jyotsna Makkar, CMO of Microsoft India. Makkar said she expects that focus to intensify. As Microsoft moves into services and devices, it’s increasingly using video to tell its product stories.

Other marketers see video as an important differentiator that gives their brands an authentic and intimate feel. It also is being used for brand building within and outside companies. One example is HCL Technologies, the global IT services company, which made creative use of viral video concepts to produce video job descriptions for four key profiles in a recruitment marketing campaign.

“A strong video strategy has become indispensable for any 21st century marketing organisation,” said Apurva Chamaria, HCL’s vice president and head of corporate marketing, who spearheaded the campaign.

A brand video’s success also depends on how well it is optimised for social media. Nestle India, for example, used social listening to tailor its videos as a result of the Maggi noodle controversy, which kept the product out of grocery stores for months in 2015.

The hashtags #WeMissYouToo (prior to the relaunch of the product), #welcomebackMaggi (during the launch), and #nothinglikeMaggi (after the relaunch) were used by the brand to gauge consumer sentiment and create tailored videos.

“Real-time video measurements have gone a long way in influencing content optimisation in terms of both creation and distribution,” a Nestle India spokesperson said. “In the future, social sharing and content will be central to the evolution of brand videos.”

Video is integral to the marketing mix of Himalaya, an Indian herbal drug company that develops a range of personal care products rooted in Ayurveda medicine. For its baby care portfolio, it recently created an emotional vox-pop video for Mother’s Day in which customers shared their real-life motherhood experiences. The video led to high brand engagement.

“One needs to bear in mind that video is a format, and the emphasis should be on content and creative storytelling,” explained N V Chakravarthy, general manager of marketing for the Himalaya Babycare division.