Future will truly be here when infrastructure to access metaverse is accessible en masse: Mehul Gupta – IGWIIKI

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Mehul Gupta, Co-Founder & CEO of SoCheers talks about identifying the right media mix, how nobody can afford to leave out digital from their marketing mix and more.

Social Samosa in conversation with Mehul Gupta, Co-Founder & CEO, SoCheers and a jury member of the SAMMIE Best Social Media Brands Awards 2022, talks about the increment in the digital share of the media mix, consumer trends, and his focus areas for the new year.

Edited Excerpts

Any tips on what brands and agencies need to keep in mind while creating a media blueprint?

Identifying the right media mix for a particular brand or project is key. The exact combination of not just digital and traditional but also the specific platforms within this division will result in genuine conversions, along with ensuring touch points with the desirable audience cohorts. For this, we have to constantly keep evolving our understanding of the communication variations across platforms – traditional and digital, both established and the newer ones. 

What are some of the challenges that the advertising industry and creative heads are facing this year?

The clutter is the biggest challenge this year for all of us. Considering that a lot of brands are only just restarting their marketing efforts in full force, there is a steep increase in the amount of digital content from the brands these days. It is amplified by the fact that brands have a renewed understanding of digital’s significance after the pandemic. From churning out 1-2 brand campaigns a year earlier, it’s now upwards of even 6 digital campaigns a year in some cases, not including all the other topical communications. So, the sheer volume of campaigns has visibly increased, which sometimes poses a challenge in terms of being creative, not being repetitive, and coming up with “clutter-breaking” communication ideas. 

The way around this, I think, is by developing an understanding of which time period, space and opportunity are right to push out a particular brand communication.

Being selective in our approach, and putting all our might behind the timely approach, can help garner better social & business level impact. 

What are some of the consumer consumption trends that have emerged recently?

The biggest and most obvious consumer trend in terms of content consumption has been short-form videos. Online users are consuming a considerably large amount of video content on Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and several dedicated short-form video platforms. But that’s not to take away from the overall popularity of digital videos as the preferred medium of content consumption. In the case of long-form video content, the audiences prefer something that delivers its proposition in an entertaining way, giving rise to genres like edutainment and infotainment, in addition to the continued popularity of comedy content. 

We can also chart significant growth in the creator economy, so much so that more and more viewers are taking their shot at creating content and becoming a part of the creator community. This is helped by the increasing ease of creating and accessing content – be it due to the introduction of newer technologies or the platforms evolving their interface to better allow it. 

With the evolving trends, how do brands need to realign their approach toward media spends?

Building a little on the last point, the growth of videos – short-form videos specifically – has been a major factor towards brands realigning their approach to media spends. It has been realized that a short video ad will work better than a static ad in the current digital landscape. Instagram has also recently allowed marketers to advertise on Reels for the same reasons, and brands can’t be happier! Also, in line with this consumer trend, a lot of brands are now creating bite-size video content, specifically for ads, smartly and creatively conveying the brand proposition within the minuscule time-frame. What hasn’t changed is aligning the right media for different cohorts of the audience, instead, it has grown to include more and more digital platforms into the mix. 

Another talk point this year has been the Metaverse. What is your take on the Metaverse as the future of marketing? How do you see brands benefitting from this?

Having just gotten out of a collective experience that made us realize the importance of in-person physical interaction, it is interesting to see how and when the masses converge towards the virtual reality of Metaverse. And for the metaverse to be beneficial, it is imperative that several million people find themselves in this space, because only then will it make sense for the brands to be there and market themselves.

Another point of consideration is the infrastructure. The future will truly be here when the infrastructure to access the metaverse is accessible to the end users en masse. 

As the year ends, what would be some of the focus areas in the coming years?

One of the major focus areas in the near future should definitely be social commerce. It has already created visible benefits for a lot of businesses and has been growing at a good speed since the pandemic. I think brands and advertisers will be diverting more of their focus to this branch of e-commerce in 2023. 

Then, I see a rather interesting trend of brands leveraging the growing creator economy to create dynamic content in volume to communicate to the relevant audiences in a more relatable way. Basically, brands building creators building brands! This will in turn boost the creator economy. We’ve already seen this happening in the recent past, now it’s going to double down on short-form videos.

Additionally, using micro creators to reach out to the tier 2-3 market segments will see a surge. 

Finally, at this point, it feels almost like an understatement to say that technology will be prominently integrated into the fabric of digital marketing. But the focus will be on using advanced technology to augment certain aspects of marketing rather than replacing them. Technologies like AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) are already being used to better understand the audience and craft curated communication tools. It’ll only find a stronger footing from hereon. 

Also Read: Occasion Marketing Campaigns that achieved functional objectives with emotional stories

Can you share what is the winning formula that participants can take note of this year at SAMMIEs?

Be simple. Keep the narrative simple. The user journey should be simple, they should experience the campaign seamlessly without going through multiple steps. And each piece of your campaign needs to communicate the proposition in a real and truthful sense. If you are able to achieve that, your campaign will derive business results and no one can stop you from picking up awards! 

Lastly, what are you expecting from the nominees this year at SAMMIEs?

Honestly, the expectations are sky-high! I’m hoping to see campaigns spanning across the pandemic period and the time after it, so excited about seeing the wide variety of executions & how it can help us. We’ve been seeing some amazing insights recently driving really strong campaigns, which have had a genuine social impact, in addition to the business one. That would be something to look out for – work that has done well not only from a business perspective but also socially. 


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