Deepti Kartik


Unraveling Secrets of Humanizing Brands with Deepti Kartik

Engaging with brands on a deeper level has become a quintessential aspect of modern consumer behavior. This is a riveting discussion on marketing techniques and content creation that drive a brand's relationship with its audience. In this conversation, Kishan P., Head of Business at Pepper Content, talks to Deepti Kartik, Founder at DECISION PINNACLE, about the strategic layers of digital marketing, humanizing a brand through content, the role of a brand manager, and the future landscape of content creation. Deepti emphasizes the power of voice format, augmented reality, immersive content, and influencer marketing – the insights that shape future strategies.

Whether you're about to embark on a brand development journey or seeking fresh perspectives, this expert conversation is an essential resource. It provides a deeper understanding of the evolving dynamic between content creators, brands, and consumers, shedding light on forming lasting bonds with audiences. Dive in and uncover a brand's path to success.

1. Can you share your journey From BP brand marketing to relaunching Nokia in India, and now founding Decision Pinnacle for B2C startup strategies?

At the beginning of my career, I worked with big companies with a clear separation between the marketing team inside the company and an outside agency. It was like two teams – the agency and the internal one. But when I joined DaMENSCH, things changed. We had a mix of both – an agency that worked inside the company. This meant our whole team, including writers and designers, worked together. As a brand marketer within this structure, I learned to talk directly to the designers and writers, which helped me understand their work better. This made me appreciate their roles more and improved how I gave them instructions. This way of working also helped us understand each other better.

Speaking of Decision Pinnacle, it's something new I started. The name Decision Pinnacle has two meanings. First, decisions can take you to the top. Second, you're at the top as a founder, and your decisions affect everything below. Our slogan is: Right decisions, better outcomes, significant impact. I'm excited to work with brands and make a big difference together.

I think content is what humanizes a brand. Otherwise, it's just limited to a product, and tomorrow they can always be a better product.

2. In the thriving Indian D2C scene, how do you handle content for both product and brand, given your expertise?

Building a product, refining its execution, and ensuring success are initial steps. Then, in the monetization phase, platforms like WooCommerce or BetterCommerce enter the picture, and content becomes crucial. Shifting from product focus, founders must embrace the role of storyteller, utilizing content to share a brand's narrative that resonates, empathizes, and builds advocacy.

For instance, my connection with DaMENSCH highlights how content shapes a brand's identity. Transitioning from innerwear to apparel, we redefined DaMENSCH beyond comfort. Our campaigns celebrated diverse masculinity, individuality, and embracing choices. The content wasn't a one-time effort; it consistently conveyed the concept of comfort.

This approach, like peeling an onion layer by layer, added depth to DaMENSCH's brand. Content is pivotal, fostering an emotional connection that outlasts products and technology. Iconic brands like Nike epitomize this transformation, where an emotional bond becomes content's core, ultimately defining branding's essence.

3. In D2C and varied settings, how did you create potent content vertically, acknowledging its vital role in brand growth beyond distribution?

Transitioning from a legacy organization, I've gained insights into building a strong content team, which I initially found challenging. Here's my learning for those entering content management, especially in the dynamic D2C realm. Starting in this role, I faced a similar learning curve as you might. While familiar with brand and performance marketing roles, content operations were uncharted. During the initial 100 days, I concentrated on creating a solid foundation. I crafted strategy decks covering content essentials, customer loyalty, CRM, and social media. With a clear strategy, effective team structuring ensued, avoiding excessive recruitment. Prioritizing team growth, especially in the D2C landscape, meant establishing developmental paths beyond traditional agency norms. Recruitment emphasized skill sets over sector-specific experience.

Our team was divided into three core verticals: production, graphic design, and copywriting. The copy team differentiated between long and short-form writing. Graphic design catered to diverse content needs, from social media to performance marketing. A dedicated production team upheld a signature style, differentiating us from mass-produced content. Recruitment focused on mindset, seeking innovative Gen Z talents and unconventional professionals. Interviews served as opportunities to share our brand essence, followed by assignments reflecting an understanding of our brand's essence. Incorporating new members expanded our brand family, ensuring unity and elevating content quality and resonance. Building a thriving D2C content vertical involves recruiting for mindset, aligning with brand ethos, and nurturing team members as vital components. Their creativity becomes an invaluable strand woven into the brand's fabric.

4. Balancing viral impact and steady growth in relatable brand amplification concerns founders and managers. How to effectively maintain this balance?

As a brand manager, the ultimate goal is achieving a strong return on investment. When I invest one rupee in production and four rupees in dissemination, I can calculate the expected reach. However, meeting expectations is only the beginning. To truly shine as a brand manager or marketer, you need to surpass those expectations, which is where the concept of Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) comes into play.

Achieving virality is crucial. Viral content doesn't adhere to the usual one-to-four ratio of reach to cost. Instead, it offers expansive reach for a fraction of the cost. This indicates a deeper understanding of your target audience and their preferences. A recent example that struck me was the Mamearth campaign. The fact that my own mother forwarded it to me in our family WhatsApp group highlighted the campaign's virality. Even if she may not personally use the product, the conversation around the brand is spreading, potentially reaching a broader and unexpected audience. As a brand manager, achieving this kind of virality extends your reach beyond the immediate target group, making it a sought-after achievement. It's a testament to achieving more with less investment.

One of the first things I would say as a recruitment criteria should be recruit for skill, not for experience.

5. Have you ever been questioned about having a viral campaign on your CV?

I don't have a viral campaign on my CV, and that's alright. I believe people must grasp the bigger picture – while a viral campaign can create a buzz, it doesn't guarantee sustained success for a brand. It's a temporary high that fades quickly as new content takes its place. Consumers have short attention spans, and what goes viral today might be forgotten tomorrow when it's time to make purchasing decisions.

Let's take an example without naming names. There was a beverage brand that featured A-list celebrities and produced captivating ads. These ads went viral and garnered massive attention, but interestingly, the brand kept losing market share year after year. Why? Because entertainment doesn't necessarily translate to business success. In a world saturated with content, we've become adept at scrolling and consuming without genuinely connecting with every piece of content we encounter.

As a brand manager, my focus isn't solely on creating viral entertainment. What matters more to me is whether the content I develop influences purchase decisions and contributes to the brand's growth. While viral campaigns can offer a short-lived boost in reach, the real accomplishment lies in creating a lasting impact that drives tangible results for the business. In the grand scheme of things, I believe in building a brand's reputation and value over chasing fleeting moments of virality.

6. How have you tactically incorporated AI-generated content, like the dynamic images on your Decision Pinnacle site, while upholding the belief that AI enhances human creativity rather than replaces it?

I had a clear vision for the imagery on Decision Pinnacle, seeking chess pieces to symbolize decision-making and opting for the color purple to convey premium quality. Utilizing a text-to-image generator, I entered "purple glass piece chess pieces," and the platform produced the striking image that now features on the site. This shift towards AI technology has been remarkable. I've also embraced AI in my work with Sleepyhead, aiming to establish the brand as a symbol of innovation. With AI, I can easily craft imaginative visuals like an astronaut lounging on a Sleepyhead mattress or recliner, which would have been costly and time-consuming.

The introduction of social media initially sparked concerns about traditional job roles being threatened, but it created new opportunities and positions. Similarly, AI is a tool that augments human creativity rather than replacing it. As we progress, I envision a new avenue emerging with roles like AI specialists, AI copywriters, and AI graphic designers. Embracing technology doesn't just streamline tasks; it opens fresh possibilities and enhances efficiency. For instance, a skilled graphic designer can harness AI to produce numerous images in a fraction of the time it would take manually – a testament to how technology can amplify our capabilities and enrich our professional landscape.

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