How to bring authenticity to brand collaborations? 

Pranali Tawte
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brand collaborations

Ahead of the festive season, brands and creators talk about the evolution of short-form content and share how to create engaging content for brand collaborations on what is trending.

In a recent panel discussion at Meta, ‘Creators Keeping It Real’ covered the relationship between creators and brands, shedding light on their experiences, challenges, and the strategies that define successful content creation and brand collaborations.

The Panelists:

Saloni Shah, CDMO, Loreal

Sanjyot Keer, Content Creator and Founder, Your Food Lab

Aastha Shah, Content Creator

Moderator: Meghna Apparao, Director e-commerce, Meta

Blending the creator’s narrative with the brand’s objective

Today when social media is dominated by short-form content and evolving digital platforms, the art of storytelling has taken on new dimensions. Additionally, creators and influencers have become powerful voices that resonate with audiences on various social media platforms. 

As per the Meta Commissioned Study by YouGov, 66 % of Diwali shoppers agree that creators influence their purchase decisions. 

Brands and creators are seen leveraging the trends in short form content. Aastha Shah, who started with motivational content and expanded into fashion and lifestyle and Sanjyot Keer, a chef and founder of Your Food Lab, highlighted the evolution of short form content and the creative challenges posed by it. 

Sanjyot Keer shared that his content journey has evolved significantly over the years. Initially, he focused on creating one-minute videos for the first two years, despite the ability to upload longer videos on Facebook. He believes that this constraint taught him the art of capturing attention within a short span, which is crucial in today's fast-paced digital landscape. 

He said, “You need to grab that attention in the first two or three seconds and that's a difficult job to do as a content creator. But then slowly when you start creating content, day in and day out, you understand what people are liking and that is how you evolve as a content creator.”

He highlighted that brands have approached him for collaborations, and his approach to branded content is to seamlessly blend his narrative with the brand's objectives. He aims to preserve his style while incorporating the brand's message. 

I try to find a middle ground to work ways out. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but that is how it is.

Sanjyot Keer

He mentioned that over the past seven years, he has collaborated with around 45 to 46 brands, each association contributing to his journey.

Also Read: Contemporary & culture oriented – Building brand Suta…

Product placements and brand briefs

Aastha Shah highlighted that in her initial 6 to 7 months as a content creator, she focused solely on organic content since brand collaborations were absent. As brands entered the picture, she adhered closely to provided briefs and scripts, addressing every point. However, she realized that her audience, cultivated over the previous months, didn't immediately resonate with full-fledged branded content. She mentioned that it then became evident that a blend of organic elements was essential.

She said, “What brands really need to understand is sometimes what they expect is if you're promoting a product, they expect you to start the video with the product. If you're an audience, you're not going to watch the entire deal if it starts with it because they know it's branded content.”

She explained that as a beauty creator, integration within existing themes like 'get ready with me' yields better results. Similarly, for comedy creators, interspersing branded content within humorous segments proves more effective.

Shedding light on the brand's perspective and how creators contribute to authentic brand messaging, Saloni Shah explained that in the context of the beauty industry's nascent state in the country, creators play a pivotal role in bridging the gap of consumer education.

“Nobody voluntarily wants to see branded content. While we have that world and when we have rules with which we operate in that world, I think creators come in beautifully because they still help you deliver your brand message, but in a manner which is a lot more authentic and relatable.”

She further stressed the significance of balance in this collaboration. 

“Balance is key. So the rules that we have when we make ads, which is, you know, first three seconds your brand should be seen is not exactly the rule that works when you work with creators,” she added.

Addressing the marketers, she acknowledged the challenge and opportunity in this rapidly changing landscape. She believes that unlike traditional ads, there's a need to create effective communication in short video formats, and she sees this as a chance for marketers to pioneer a new playbook. 

She said, “For creating a regular ad, we have hundreds of years of playbooks on what works, but we are creating the right communication in a short format video format. So to that extent, it's a huge opportunity because five years later, this format is still going to exist and we will be the ones who created and deployed that playbook on what good looks like, what great looks like.”

Brands adapting to the language of reels

Saloni Shah explained that their brand philosophy involves embracing emerging trends, and they collaborated with content creators, brand teams, and agency partners to learn how to create content for the reel format. 

Highlighting the shift, she said, “Till now the way we used to create for a certain platform and that's in the larger thinking. But we're moving on to a world where you are creating four formats within the platform.”

She believes workshops help the community develop skills, enabling brands to communicate effectively with consumers.

Workshops help upskill a larger community on the whole which then helps you as brands to speak in a language that resonates with the consumers.

Saloni Shah

She emphasized the difference between ads and creator-generated content. She mentioned that as per their tests, branded ads on reels usually perform better than traditional formats. 

Additionally, content created with creators has led to a significant increase in message recall, proving the effectiveness of resonating with consumers and conveying brand messages. 

She said, “On average, we've seen in terms of message recall a lift between 2.5 to 3.5% with creators. So that's the proof that you've got it right. Because the consumers are resonating with the content and then are being able to recall the brand message.”

This approach reflects their journey of learning the language of reels.

Key takeaways 

For Creators-

  • Creators should prioritize maintaining their unique voice and narrative while integrating brand messages.
  • Creators should experiment with different formats, intros, and approaches to captivate viewers' attention within the first few seconds. 
  • Testing and iterating content can lead to more engaging results.
  • High-quality content and investing in production and good videographer will enhance content engagement.

For Brands-

  • Plan ahead for the festivals and events.
  • Collaborate with creators whose content resonates with your brand's values and objectives to deliver messages effectively.
  • Allow creators creative freedom to experiment and think outside the box.
  • Allow creators to integrate brand messages organically while staying true to their content style.
  • Consider long-term collaborations to amplify authenticity and engagement. 

This session was moderated by Meghna Apparao, Director of E-commerce, Meta at the Meta Marketing Summit.

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