How new-age media is changing content development

Scroll down your Twitter feed and every other ‘tweeter’ will have the prefix ‘Chowkidar’ attached to their handles. When the ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign hit our social media feeds, most of us dismissed it as just another gimmick. But we underestimated it grossly.

According to an ET report, 54 percent of the nation’s top digital media leaders believed that the ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign was impactful. That’s basically saying that a majority of voters have arguably sealed their votes in favour of one political party.

The power of new-age media is unprecedented. What is even more interesting to note is how it has also changed the type of content that is developed for consumption. Content consumers today have unknowingly become the most powerful audiences that most brands will ever see. So, whether or not they know this, they do end up dictating the kind of content companies, brands, and individuals create, and how it is distributed.

This has happened because technology has empowered this new-age audience to take control of conversations that are directed towards them. They have the tools to advocate, share their ideas, and hold leaders and brands accountable. This high level of involvement has changed everything.

This is probably why the Chowkidar campaign is seeing all this success. The campaign became a global movement, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging people to join the ranks of ‘Chowkidars’ who will guard the country against all things evil.

Chowkidar Tweet

One tweet got the support of crores of people, and the baton to carry this campaign forward was passed on to the audience. Every chowkidar on social media now started driving the discussion around elections — posting videos in support, engaging in conversations, driving leads, and eventually votes. All BJP did was create a social media strategy around one word and a tweet, and the consumers did the rest!

The singular work of brands should now be focused on giving relevant content. It’s the only gateway into the audience’s world and gaining their loyalty forever.


Cricket Advertising in The Time of Digitization

Cricket Advertising in The Time of Digitization

World Cup season is in full swing, bringing back memories of being huddled together in front of our TV sets with friends and family or being glued to the radio for updates. While the country’s adulation for the game remains, what has definitely changed over the years is the way we now consume cricket.

As India walks on the path of a digital revolution, one can witness a visible shift towards mediums like video streaming platforms, OTTs, cricket portals, and connected TVs to watch the game. One of the major factors for this is an increase in internet penetration in India, that has managed to bring many fans on to digital platforms. According to a report by research agency Kantar IMRB, the number of internet users in India is expected to reach 627 million this year, driven by factors such as internet growth in rural areas, and increasing affordability of handsets and high-speed internet. That, in turn, has led to users from even Tier 2 and 3 cities to watch matches on digital platforms. Additionally, being able to watch a match on your phone is crucial in this day and age, especially for those who are constantly on the move because of their work commitments. Or even for those who think investing in a television set doesn’t justify the cost when they can simply watch it on their laptops or mobile screens.

This has been a great boon for advertisers, opening up many opportunities for various brands, reaching out to millions of cricket fans in the process. Take this data for instance –the World Cup is expected to contribute significantly to the expected 12% growth in advertising expenditure (adex) in India this year. Moreover, 2019 will also see ad spending cross the $10-billion mark for the first time. Cricket is basically an advertising paradise.

Advertisers have come a long way from their first ambitious cricket campaigns. While earlier the focus was entirely on reimagining cricketers outside their game persona, now it is all about the cricket fan. For instance, earlier our television screens would include a spectacle of soaps like Palmolive and Cinthol, being endorsed by the likes of Kapil Dev. Cut to this year, when smartphone manufacturer OPPO has launched a ‘Billion Beats’ campaign for the World Cup, inviting consumers to share their heartbeats through the OPPO Billion Beats App, which is available on Play Store. According to the company, the heartbeats will be used to create a team song which will be composed by the dynamic Bollywood music director duo of Meet Bros.

Everything about these new-age cricket commercials is based on the premise that as a fan, your love for cricket surpasses everything, enough to lead you into buying almost anything — whether it’s soap or a phone. These ads muscle their way into an emotional territory by appealing to this ‘irrational’ love for the sport.

Detractors of this form of advertising say that commerce has overtaken the enjoyment of the sport, with non-stop commercials interrupting the proper broadcast of the game, and robbing it of its emotion. However, to understand its true power, you have to see these ad films for what they are — an attempt to bring out cricket’s irreverent, funny or sentimental side and engage the audience well after the sport fiesta is over.


Should a start-up hire freelancers?

Should a start-up hire freelancers?

You have your product up and about, and now the next step looms large — how do I scale quickly? The answer lies in hiring people. However, the next question that pops up is, should you hire freelancers to do it or share all tasks with your in-house team?

There is no right or wrong answer to this because it all depends on who you already have in your team and what stage of growth your company is at. However, there are some tips that can help you figure out whether or not you need freelancers. Because if done right, freelancers can be a great catalyst to your growth.

Do you know your priorities?

Is the work you need to hire freelancers for a priority? To understand that, you will need to figure out whether good content, or graphic design or digital marketing can actually move the needle in your favour. It’s okay to experiment, but at the end of the day, the projects need to bring the business some measurable value. It’s easy to get sidetracked by all the well-meaning suggestions to do podcasts, Instagram stories, video content, and everything ‘new-age’, but you’ve got to stay focused and not drown in never-ending ‘what-ifs’. Hiring freelancers for this can make it dangerous too because initially, it won’t cost too much, but if the content is not effective, it will all go to waste. So, don’t end up hiring too many freelancers who will only make lots of poor content. Instead, focus on rolling out one project, hire a few top-notch freelancers for the job and get the ball rolling. It’s a cliché, but it’s all about quality over quantity.

Can you afford a freelancer?


While hiring a freelancer may be cheaper than getting on-board a full-time employee or an agency, you still do need to pay them. Especially if you want to hire freelancers who’ll promise quality work. You need to be transparent, consistent and reliable when it comes to paying them. You cannot also change the budget for a freelancer midway through the project. It’s their livelihood and not just a hobby. And please, don’t offer them ‘exposure’; it won’t pay their bills. They paid a hell lot to get educated, and it’s only fair they get compensated for their hard work with money.

Do you need to move quickly?


As someone running a start-up, it’s understandable that you don’t have time to interview candidates, sort out paperwork or hand-hold them through their job. Here, hiring freelancers will prove useful as they will not only manage work on their own, they will also give you a platform to test all your creative ideas, and give you enough time to work on the gazillion other things more important for your business.

Is your team overworked?


If you’re at the stage where your team is working 20 hours a day and are still unable to meet targets, it’s a good idea to unburden them a little by delegating that work to freelancers. This will also give your staff the opportunity to be more creative and even help you with strategy.

Make sure you have clarity and then brief right

Once you are clear in your head about hiring a freelancer, the next step is to get clarity on your project. The only way to do that is by understanding who your customer is, what they need, and whether this project will provide any value to them. Make sure you and your team are on the same page. If not, then maybe it’s not the right time to hire a freelancer.

Once you do get clarity and hire someone, make sure the brief is crystal clear. You can’t just tell the freelancer you need an infographic. You need to sit with them and make them understand how doing X, Y, Z project will help enhance brand awareness or bring revenue. That’s more likely to hit the mark and ensure that the freelancer gets it right. It’s also okay if you want the freelancer to take the ultimate creative decision, but then you cannot complain about how it doesn’t look the way you imagined it to be. Set the base expectation and then start working. Also, remember to factor in their time for research, and don’t rush them too much.

Think this through for the long run

While freelancing starts out as a short-term need, it does have the potential to transition to a full-time hire, especially if you end up finding the right person for the job.

With start-ups, deadlines are constantly moving and priorities keep changing. When you have a team with a common goal of getting things done, it’s easier to manage them and set your business on the path to growth. While freelancers are good in the beginning, they may end up falling behind when your business decides to go full throttle. Hence, remain open to the idea of offering them a full-time role when the need arises, define a work structure, and help them make the transition so they can deliver better results.

In the end, do remember that bad experiences can still happen. Any business owner or CEO has to make careful decisions about who they hire — whether freelancer or not. But for a start-up to grow, going the freelancer way is a good call. When done correctly, the positives will far outweigh the negatives and ultimately even get more revenue for your company.