[Interview] Neeraj Kakkar takes us through Paperboat’s social media journey

Banking on just one emotion – Nostalgia, Paperboat has managed to weave all their communication around it beautifully. Neeraj Kakkar, Co- Founder, Hector Beverages takes us through Paperboat’s social media strategy, future plans, and social media tips for start-ups.

As a start-up, which social media strategies have helped you create a market foothold?

For us, social media is a brilliant place to meet consumers and get real-time response/feedback on products or any type of content that we release. The beauty is that you can use these mediums to depict various layers of your brand which is beyond the product.

Keeping this in mind, we only produce content that helps us tell stories that are related to the drinks. Innocence forms the base of almost all our communication. Pumped with a lot of emotions, we try to put our illustrated memories which are drink specific and agnostic from time to time.

On Instagram, we indulge ourselves with creative liberties. We have an in-house team who work with exclusive partners to create stories. The design language takes a front seat when it comes to this visual medium.

Nostalgia has been the theme of all brand communications by PaperBoat. How do you maintain the same on social media? What is the brief given to the agency?

Our drinks are a result of centuries of history and lot of memories and that is consistent throughout our product hence, it even flows seamlessly into our communication as well. One example that could explain this is a campaign we did with Instagram. We wanted to drive brand awareness by positioning our drinks as perfect mock tail mixers for men and women. The challenge was to speak the same our viewers in a language that is synonymous to our brand.

The final presentation of the mocktails is what is driving the creative thought for this program. Remember how our mothers used to make that extra effort to make a simple curd dish look beautiful with a pattern made with red chilli powder and other spicy condiments, that’s the kind of special effort that will go into each and every creative.

Playing with food puns, the campaign showcases the mock tail in its original form while mix-media (clay, paper art) depicts the ingredients that form the scene of the concept

You have a thriving community on Instagram, how do you plan to engage with them?

Going to Instagram is like packing your bags for a day of fun and frolic at an amusement park. So we were prepped for an amazing ride. To keep this ride entertaining, we come up with relatable ideas that can be consumed without much stress and simply brings a smile. That has been the core of how we approach Instagram.

Do you have any special social media strategy for the summer?

Oh lots of them. One being our beloved project: The Jungle Book. All of us at Paper Boat are avid readers and so this becomes our dream project. Every year we reprint a classic book and give it out to our consumers with a few drinks they purchase. The communication for this project across all mediums was extremely fun to make. We used paper as a medium and re-create some of the most iconic scenes from the Jungle book.

Apart from this we recently release first of our short film, Rizwan. Rizwan is our first foray into legitimate fiction story-telling on film. It’s not a “video” in our new age understanding of that term but is really small-scale cinema. A little tribute to the full range of liberties that the craft of film-making allows – and we’re taking baby steps into that realm.

We strongly believe in the ability of stories to transport people – sometimes to another world; sometimes, it’s like holding a candle and taking a walk into the deepest recesses of ourselves. We especially have a weakness for stories told with love, and stories of our innocent, best selves. Rizwan is an exploration of just that.

Is influencer marketing a feasible option for start-ups? Do you engage with influencers? If yes, how? If no, why?

Absolutely feasible option. We were introduced to the power of these influencers very early in the brand journey. I remember how we used to go and drop off our samples to bloggers and other influencers from the food industry. And it has helped us immensely.

We try to talk to our influencers on almost every occasion, new launch or sometimes just to say hello. Last year during Diwali, we decided to surprise them with our new launch (Anar) along with Laddos. Along with doing the mandatory stuff, we believe in surprising them.

How has social media changed consumer consumption patterns in the F & B industry?

Word of Mouth – the most powerful way to spread a word. That recommendation that you are always looking for when you want to go to a movie or book a holiday and you know you will find something meaningful on social media.

I don’t remember the last time I went to a restaurant without a recommendation from a few close friends. So, I think the social media is shaping preferences and choices of consumers.

How would you define your video content strategy? How would you like to peg PaperBoat in the market using branded content?

We are suckers for good stories and we can’t wait to find a new one. Innocence is the key in all our stories. We have done films around Children’s day in the past and with Rizwan we have taken our commitment to storytelling to the next level. Hum Honge Kamayab was another attempt at telling today’s India stories.

Did you learn any viral marketing lessons from the success of Hum Honge Kamyab campaign?

The only lesson that we learned is that when a thought comes from a good place and intention, the result is beautiful. Hum Honge Kamayab video was our homage to all our start-up friends and the industry. The passion that they carry on their shoulders every day is commendable. They all helped us make this dream video come alive.

How do you place Social Media advertising in your marketing mix? Did advertising on these platforms contribute to your sales funnel?

Social media advertising is very important and is almost on top of the pyramid. It helps in keeping the chatter around the brand going.

 Please share 5 social media growth-hacks for start-ups

There are no such media growth hacks. One thing that has helped us a lot is listening to consumers very intently, every single day.