Apoorva Chawla on the new era of content creation and marketing
In recent years, the mushrooming of a variety of social media channels has transformed the way people consume content and the way they perceive various brands. Therefore, service providers and product brands are trying their best to adapt to the new models of content creation. Apoorva Chawla, Head of Content and Creative at Arvind Fashions Limited, talks about the nuances of content creation and marketing in a riveting interview.
Experts from the free-wheeling conversation:
1. How has your professional journey been so far? What is your role as the Head of Content and Creative at Arvind Fashions?
I have been in the content space for about 11 years now and like any content marketer, I did not start as one. Content used to be very different back then when I started. So, I began very small, explored a lot of areas, and picked up the nuances of content. And now, I have come to a position where content is considered content creation and an important resource tool for marketing.
I have pretty much been in the fashion and lifestyle space for the last 11 years and now I am working with Arvind Fashions, heading both creative as well as content for them. Content and creativity in an e-commerce space pretty much go hand in hand. But for the first time, I am handling both positions simultaneously with a big team of content planners, graphic designers, and video editors.
I am also handling publishing and UI UX. So basically, anything that you see on the front end of our site, whether it's content, creative, or format, is handled by me and my team. We also plan various calendars pertaining to fashion, content, and launches for the quarter as well as each month. Then we have photoshoots in place, we create a lot of content for socials, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) activities, marketing, and offline activities. For instance, putting up a hoarding or a standee falls in our domain. But I want to say that this was not the case 10 years back. It was all differentiated and segmented.
2. Out of these responsibilities, which one do you enjoy the most? Is it the photoshoots, when you see a new hoarding coming out, or a sprint ad? What are you most proud of?
There are two things that I would like to mention here. One is of course the photo shoots which are basically where all your content starts. Also, because there is a lot of creativity involved, where you can have that kind of leeway. Sometimes, when it comes to making creatives and writing content, you do have to stick to a structure and follow numerous guidelines. Although we do get a lot of freedom to do what we do, much of the written content and creatives are moderated by guidelines.
But the photo shoot is where you can just go wild and explore your creative side, right from planning to executing them, selecting models, seeing how the makeup happens, and more! So there are a lot of things happening behind the photoshoots as well. It is not just a model standing in front of the camera, but a lot of work goes behind the scenes.
The second thing is UI UX, which I have been introduced to pretty recently when we started to redo our website. I found the whole process interesting. It is all about creating a base for something and how it is going to end up looking, maybe 6 months down the line. The whole process has turned out to be very interesting for me.
3. Since we are talking about what you enjoy about your work, tell us about the pain points of a content creator and marketer.
I think, one of the biggest pain points in my opinion right now is that there is too much content, and there are too many formats in which one can consume content. It could be a blog, an article, a creative, a website, a reel on Instagram, a story, a youtube video, and whatnot! There is so much to look at and you do not know where your customer or the user is going. You do not know what your user might end up liking because the attention span is so small these days. Even if you want to write something creative or churn out a video or a reel, you have a very small time frame to catch their attention. Even if you are doing a one-minute-long video, you need the first 10 seconds to be so strong that the user sees the entire video. Similarly, with the creatives, your first 2-3 words have to be the most important in a way that the user will take pain to read the entire thing. So, I feel the attention span of the user is very low is a pain point.
And, I would like to discuss the data analytics involved. This is a huge part of the content in current times. There are so many platforms that are rendering you the correct set of data. But, the user is so fickle-minded these days that even if you are giving your one hundred percent and working on that data, everything could change at the snap of a finger. And then, you do not know what will be the next thing that your user will like or put their hands on.
The whole journey of the user and how quickly it is changing these days is one of the biggest pain points for content creators and marketers.
4. What according to you is the difference between ordinary and extraordinary content? Is there a rulebook for creating content?
Anything that entertains your user first and then engages them is good content or creative. Of course, here conversion plays a huge part. But I think that any piece of content that can entertain the user is great content. For instance, if someone is scrolling through Instagram, the primary purpose is entertainment, right? There is no set purpose, but to pass the time. And anybody who is creating content, be it a brand, influencer, or content realtor, the first purpose is to entertain.
If your content is entertaining and engaging, I think that’s great content. At the same time, your content cannot be unethical.
5. How do you build the right content strategy for a brand?
The first part of building a robust content strategy is knowing your user. You can do it in different ways including conducting a survey, sending mailers, and the like. If you do not know your user or your target audience, you will never be able to create the right content strategy.
Second, I would want to go back to the content being entertaining while keeping the core of the brand intact. If these two concepts are there, then one can make a strong content strategy for their brand. It all starts with a content calendar and then you build yourself in the market.
If your content is mapped into your marketing funnel, you will have a bang-on content strategy!
6. Since AI is becoming more and more prevalent in the creative industry, where do you see technological advancements in content creation and marketing headed?
Many tools can be used for managing and scheduling content like Hootsuite, which helps in easing the publishing and scheduling process. But these tools are pretty basic right now. But now I am seeing the enhancements in technology and many brands and people in general using it for content. I recently heard about an AI photo shoot as we were planning our campaign. I do not know the exact term for it but it involves AI models that look ‘creepily’ realistic. They would pose exactly as you want them to, you can try various designs on them when it comes to fashion clothing. And it's all in all digital!
So, if anything helps your content creation process and renders similar or better output, why not go with it? But honestly, I haven't had much experience with any creation which is fully technologically driven. But I know that there are AI tools and applications available in the market that can help you create content from scratch. I think it can be beneficial for a small brand, startup, or micro-content creator.
7. How are you helping position Arvind Fashions in this dynamic market?
We do have some big things going. I don't want to reveal all of it, but we have recently doubled our marketing efforts for the brand. Arvind Fashion is doing better than ever in terms of revenue and content creation is at the heart of it. So, I can only say that everything is going on an upward trajectory since the beginning of this year. We are aiming to see ourselves emerging as leaders in the fashion and beauty space.
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