Jonathan Sreekumaran

Brand Head At Amala Earth

Crafting Exceptional Content Strategies With Jonathan Sreekumaran

In today's marketing landscape, content plays a pivotal role in engaging and connecting with audiences. It serves as the foundation for brand storytelling, conveying messages, and building relationships. Quality content not only educates and entertains but also establishes credibility and authority within the industry. It drives organic traffic, fosters customer loyalty, and fuels social media engagement, making it a cornerstone of successful modern marketing strategies.

In this insightful conversation, Anusha Aravind, Director at Pepper Content, and Jonathan Sreekumaran, Brand Head At Amala Earth discuss all this and more.

As we navigate through Jonathan's journey, we gain an insider's view of the marketing trajectory. The conversation uncovers emerging trends, the transformative impact of AI, the challenges that marketing professionals grapple with, and the elusive quest for exceptional content strategies.

Here are some excerpts.

1. Tell us about your journey so far.

My journey commenced with a stint in journalism during college, where I first encountered content creation and advertising dynamics. Working with the Indian Express and publications like and Digit magazine exposed me to the fascinating realm of consumer technology journalism. My curiosity led me to WizCraft, an events agency, where I was involved in noteworthy projects like the Commonwealth Youth Games ceremonies.

This marked the point where I transitioned into the agency landscape, with enriching experiences at WebChutney, Isobar, and Brand Movers, nurturing my affinity for digital marketing. Today, as the Chief Business Officer at 4 AM Worldwide, I'm embarking on new endeavors and embracing fresh challenges.

The ever-evolving marketing landscape is punctuated by emerging trends and the profound impact of AI. As technology intersects with creativity and strategy, AI stands out as a game-changer. It empowers creators to craft targeted, engaging content, and AI-driven marketing strategies are reshaping how brands connect with audiences. The collaborative integration of AI and technology between brands and agencies is ushering in a new era of creativity, redefining traditional roles,es and revolutionizing the industry.

2. What's your perspective on the trajectory of the industry? What emerging trends are you observing?

From my vantage point, the marketing industry is undergoing a transformative shift fueled by technological advancements. Creators, whether in the creative or strategy sphere, are benefiting immensely from the surge of technology that facilitates the development of more refined outputs for clients. This paradigm shift is underpinned by the increasing integration of AI and emerging technologies. This adoption is steering brands and agencies towards achieving enhanced engagement and reaches with their target audiences, signifying a substantial game-changer. As we look ahead, this trend is set to intensify, compelling the industry to gear up for imminent changes.

Collaborative endeavors between brands and agencies to embrace these technologies will likely take center stage, reshaping how content reaches audiences.

In the present landscape, the power to generate high-end content no longer remains exclusive to well-established agencies. The rapid evolution of technology has democratized content production, allowing even small teams to create compelling content using cutting-edge tools.

This democratization is upending the traditional agency hierarchy, ushering in a new era of content creation and distribution. Simultaneously, data and MarTech are evolving rapidly, gaining precision through these technologies, and effectively reaching out to consumers. This trend is poised to fuel a flurry of activity in the months ahead, catalyzing fresh approaches to customer engagement and brand-consumer interaction.

3. How do you think AI will impact marketing?

The ongoing debate about whether AI can replace roles like copywriters and designers is a pertinent one. As someone who is closely involved in the industry, I believe we're standing at the brink of significant changes. Job profiles within agencies are likely to undergo a shift.

For instance, while the role of a copywriter remains centered around generating compelling content, there's an emerging need to elevate the skill set.

Copywriters will need to enhance their proficiency in working collaboratively with AI systems to refine the content output. The exact evolution of job roles is yet to fully materialize, but the rapid adoption of AI by creative teams is a clear indicator of its transformative potential.

Major brands like Razorpay and Britannia are already integrating AI to reimagine their creative content, suggesting that a significant portion of creatives could soon be AI-generated. This could lead to cost efficiencies and quicker turnaround times, ultimately shaping the future landscape of agency work and client engagement.

AI's influence stretches beyond content creation. Its impact is poised to reshape our research methodologies and shape our perspectives on products and consumers.

These gradual but profound changes are set to forge a new path for both consumer agencies and brands, fundamentally altering how we approach and execute our strategies. The industry is embracing AI-driven advancements, and as we move forward, the fusion of human creativity and AI capabilities could open up new realms of innovation and efficiency.

4. What would be your dream marketing stack?

In envisioning my ideal marketing stack, I place a strong emphasis on adapting to the evolving content distribution landscape. While content creation remains a cornerstone for most agencies, an effective stack should extend its focus to encompass content distribution strategies. Brands are constantly seeking highly engaging, short-format content that resonates with consumers amidst ever-changing consumption trends. To meet this demand, a blend of strategic thinking, technological prowess, and data-driven insights becomes essential.

In this context, I advocate for the construction of a robust marketing stack. This would involve nurturing a creative nucleus empowered by emerging technologies and informed by data-driven strategies.

Along thisside, a firm grasp of data security measures is paramount, considering the responsibility of handling clients' sensitive information for campaign execution. To build an effective stack, it's crucial to harmonize creative excellence, technological innovation, and astute data analysis, all culminating in a holistic approach that ensures brands are equipped to navigate the dynamic marketing landscape with confidence.

5. What are the main challenges you face as a marketing professional?

As a marketing professional, several challenges occupy my mind, but one that stands out prominently is the adoption of emerging technologies. While the potential of technologies like AI is undeniable, translating ambition into action can be quite daunting.

The complexity of diving into the world of artificial intelligence and its multifaceted applications is akin to a rabbit hole. I often find myself strategizing how to lead my team into this realm effectively, harnessing its power while ensuring a smooth transition. The pace of technology evolution adds to this challenge, as staying current demands constant learning and adaptation.

Another concern that keeps me awake at times revolves around crafting impactful campaigns. Achieving the sweet spot where a campaign garners recognition and resonance across the board is every marketer's dream. Balancing creativity, strategy, and execution to organically propel a campaign's success requires careful orchestration.

This pursuit involves not only the agency's efforts but also collaboration with influencers, content platforms, and other industry players. Striking the right balance between scalability and maintaining a distinct brand identity is a puzzle I constantly work on to ensure our agency stands out in the crowded marketing landscape.

6. What according to you is great content?

To me, great content is a blend of various key elements. First and foremost, it needs to be highly engaging, capturing the audience's attention and holding it throughout. This engagement should stem from the content's relevance to the audience's interests and needs.

Understanding the pain points and desires of the consumer is essential in creating content that truly resonates.

Moreover, great content is often innovative and fresh. While established formats like thumb-stopper content have their place, there's immense value in carving out a unique space for a brand by crafting original content offerings. This requires a strategic approach, backed by data insights that ensure the content aligns precisely with what the consumer is seeking.

This blend of data-driven understanding and creative storytelling is what elevates content from being good to truly exceptional, making it more likely to leave a lasting impact on the audience.

7. How do you ensure your content strategy is consistently exceptional?

Ensuring a consistently exceptional content strategy is no straightforward task, as it involves a dynamic interplay of factors. At 4 AM, we approached this challenge by prioritizing a robust strategy that's rooted in a meticulous questioning process.

We asked critical questions about the brand's objectives, offerings, and target audience. This laid the foundation for a data-driven approach that identified the various touchpoints within the consumer journey and informed our marketing mix recommendations.

Strategic planning remains pivotal. While AI tools like chat GPT can assist in expediting initial briefs, a comprehensive strategy isn't fully outsourced to AI just yet. Human due diligence, backed by data analysis and consumer insights, ensures sharper and more contextually relevant outputs.

It's not solely the responsibility of agencies; brands must also play an active role in shaping a strategic outlook. Having a dedicated strategic function on both sides fosters a collaborative environment where insights, ideas, and goals are aligned, resulting in a more refined and effective content strategy.

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Global Marketing Leaders 2023 by Pepper Content is an exclusive curation of the brightest minds who have revolutionized the world of marketing. These visionaries have pushed the boundaries, disrupted the status quo, and transformed the way we approach content and marketing. Check out the full exhibit to be informed and inspired by the insights shared by these trailblazers.