[Interview] If you don’t enjoy the creative process, consumers won’t enjoy the final outcome: Sujot Malhotra

Sujot Malhotra

In conversation with Social Samosa, Sujot Malhotra, Chief Business Officer, Beardo unravels the brand’s communication strategy in the times of a pandemic.  

Beardo is celebrating beards and facial hair across the country in a new video that shines the spotlight on the beards grown during the lockdown. ALWAYS A BEARDO, an original music track was made free to download through an Instagram post. Men were encouraged to share videos and images of their lockdown beards using the song. 

Sujot Malhotra, Chief Business Officer, Beardo takes us through the campaign conceptualization and execution, the brand objective from social media, communication in the times of COVID-19, and more.

How did you go about executing the campaign, especially in these times of crisis?

It was a 10-day turn around the project, which began with composing the catchy song with our close agency partners. At the same time, we initiated the UGC activity, urging users and Beardosto to participate.

As part of our post-launch program, we have collaborated with TikTokers to get grooving on.

Everything was managed internally by the Beardo marketing team over video calls, emails, WhatsApp messages, etc.

What was the objective set? Please take us through the conceptualization to the execution of the campaign?

We had one clear objective for ‘ALWAYS A BEARDO’, to build pride in the beard & the bearded look for the new entrants in our Bearded brotherhood.

We began with releasing a catchy upbeat original music track – ALWAYS A BEARDO which was made free to download through an Instagram post. The idea was to encourage all the Beardos to share videos and images of their lockdown beards using the ALWAYS A BEARDO song as the soundtrack.

We had a team of 20 who were constantly in touch with the participants, got the footage right, and edited the conceptualized campaign video. Because we could only feature some of them, we actually went ahead and created 5000 personalized videos and dimensioned it further. As a part of our post-launch program, we have collaborated with Tik Tok influencers to get grooving.

Also Read: Marketers must question themselves about how they can spread positivity: Rishabh Sharma, Twitter

All of this was managed and coordinated via video calls as work from home has become the new normal for us.

How has social media been helpful in engaging with your consumers? Which platform has yielded maximum results for the brand?

Beardo has always been a digital-first brand, so social media has been a key element for us when communicating with our consumers. All our campaigns are content-based which are promoted on social media platforms- Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and now tapping TikTok as well.   Our core idea is to create engaging and witty content for consumers and bring a smile on their faces using humor and pride in the beard.

As a company, how are you approaching COVID-19? How are you trying to help your consumers survive this difficult phase?

We are all in this together, so the ideal way is to stay transparent with your stakeholders &consumers about what your business is going through.

Finding new ways of encouraging and engaging locked- in- people with activities that seek to keep them positive and motivated has been our mantra which is precisely what led us to our campaign – Always A Beardo. We are constantly encouraging them to simply stay safe, stay indoors, grow and groove, and reassuring them that we’re there to back them up. Always.

When the pandemic became prominent in India in March, most brands had to revisit their marketing & communication strategy. What was it like for Beardo? How did you decide on your current content hooks?

Our communications have always been around growing beards so we were quite sure that we would like to continue the strategy. In fact, a quarantine beard has become a new trend during this lockdown. So we shall be continuing with our communication of letting that mane grow, to come out looking like beasts.

How does the team coordinate to execute the real-time marketing strategy? Please take us through your creative, communication & marketing team’s day to day hustle.

Our belief has always been that if you can’t have fun during the creative process, the consumers will never have fun with the final outcome. It’s teamwork through and through – whether It’s coming up with ideas, or finalizing the creatives, now everything is over team video calls over a cup of coffee & loads of laughter. Likewise, with the creative agencies – the relevant stakeholders are in Our teams are then in constant touch with the agency who partner us at every step.

With the lockdown in place, an impact is bound to appear on the business front. What kind of impact are you looking at? How do you plan to deal with it?

We believe there is always a scope for grooming& grooming brands. The larger impact is due to supply chain restrictions – as the same lift, we hope for a return of buoyancy in business.

3 things that the COVID-19 situation taught you in terms of marketing & advertising

  • Social distancing can indeed get you closer (through technology)
  • Power of Good Content irrespective of media spends
  • Importance of Consistency in communication