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We assess celebrity associations with a purpose-driven approach: Sunil Kataria

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Sunil Kataria, CEO – India & SAARC, GCPL, tells us how topicality and authenticity played an important role in the recent Godrej Expert Rich Crème’s campaign with filmmaker Karan Johar

Last week, Godrej Expert Rich Crème (from Godrej Consumer Products Limited) had partnered with Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar, a campaign cleverly launched to coincide with his birthday.

Talking about the company’s recent association especially in the current scenario Sunil Kataria, CEO – India & SAARC, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd., explains why effective communication focused on solutions, not selling and the reach of the celebrity make a brand-celeb partnership meaningful. Signing on a popular personality without a real connection to the product leads to just another brand campaign, notes Kataria as he tells us more about the campaign.

On celebrity partnerships during this unusually tumultuous time

The current business landscape is undergoing an unusual scenario, prompting brands to reinvent their marketing and consumer outreach activities. Today, in the new normal, consumers want to see how brands can help cope with pandemic-related life challenges. When considering celebrity associations or endorsements, we assess them with a purpose-driven approach. Although celebrities bring the star power, we want our communication to be natural and honest enough to make people believe that we are offering them a solution. An effective communication focused on solutions, not selling and the reach of the celebrity would make the association meaningful.

On the recent association with Karan Johar for Godrej Expert Rich Crème

For Godrej Expert Rich Crème’s digital activity with Karan Johar, we wanted to communicate the simplicity of colouring hair at home. Regular hair colour users neglected hair care because they are at home with no social or formal commitments. Additionally, many people are unsure about colouring their hair at home. As a leader in the hair colour space, Godrej Expert Rich Crème wanted to nudge people to colour their hair as well as highlight the simplicity of the entire process. We chose to partner with Karan Johar as he just went public with his grey hair look. With Karan himself colouring his grey hair at home, it was a strong testament to emphasise hair colouring even when people are indoors and how simple it is for anyone to do it.

Towards strategic digital partnerships with influencers and celebrities

As people are spending most of their time at home, digital consumption and the time spent on social media has increased. So a very important aspect that will determine brand partnerships is the digital influence of celebrities and the reinforcement they may give the brand message. We are also looking at new set of ‘digital celebrities’ emerging from the space of OTT, content creation and influencers. For digital-led campaigns, it is important to consider that conversations on digital mediums have hastened the process of judgment making. The celebrity gives an amplified reach to the campaign but the communication needs to be well thought through from multiple stakeholders’ perspectives. Therefore, the messaging should be sensitive and acceptable to the consumers.

Forging genuine consumer connections in a timely manner

Roping in a celebrity without a real connection to your product or the category will only lead to just another brand campaign. A few days ago, Karan (Johar) posted an image of himself in a new grey hair look. This unseen and latest look created a lot of social media buzz after he announced his availability for fatherly roles. With the various reactions he received however, it was clear that most people preferred his earlier look without the greys. In fact, his own kids felt he was looking old, as can be seen in his many Instagram video posts. He never tried hair colouring at home. That was where Godrej Expert Rich Crème spotted the trend and collaborated with Karan to build an honest piece of communication. Through the communication, we emphasised that irrespective of who you are and wherever you are, it is possible to colour your own hair and look good even while at home.

Topicality is also an important element for a digital campaign and if not done at the right time can lead to a lesser impact. That was why we timed the release of Karan’s new coloured hair look video on his birthday, giving the brand higher eyeballs and engagement.

About the author / 

Christina Moniz

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