Marrying data with storytelling is where the magic happens for branded content: Aditi Shrivastava, Pocket Aces

As part of the Social Samosa 30 Under 30 Jury, Aditi Shrivastava, Pocket Aces shares insights on marrying data with storytelling, measuring the impact of branded content, and their commitment to empowering women through their communication.

Pranali Tawte
New Update
Aditi Shrivastava

An average human encounters thousands of ads every day, so there is so much noise that it’s increasingly difficult for brands to stand out. When it comes to branded content, storytelling has emerged as the beating heart of this format. Certainly, there's no one-size-fits-all approach to storytelling. It's the narrative that captivates audiences, draws them in, and keeps them engaged. 

A recent survey shows that 92% of consumers want brands to make ads that feel like a story. As per psychologist Jerome Bruner, humans will remember a fact 22 times more when it has been wrapped in a story.

One crucial element of effective storytelling in branded content is understanding the audience. After all, what good is a story if it doesn't resonate with those it's meant for?

Aditi Shrivastava, Co-Founder & CEO, Pocket Aces explains how in this rapidly changing digital landscape, where countless content formats and platforms vie for attention, audience-centricity remains the universal principle that guides brands and creators towards success.

Shrivastava shares insights on marrying data with storytelling, optimizing content for various platforms, measuring the impact of branded content, and their commitment to empowering women through their communication.

Edited Excerpts:

Pocket Aces content channels have been known for the use of data extraction and management systems to design content pegs according to consumer inclinations. Please share a few insights on this process, its significance, and how marrying data with storytelling works for branded content.

Data analysis and audience content consumption behavior recognition are the backbone of our content creation process. By analyzing consumer behavior, preferences, and inclinations, we gain invaluable insights into what captures their attention and piques their interest. This data-driven approach empowers us to design content pegs that are not only aligned with current trends but also resonate deeply with our target audience. Marrying data with storytelling is where the magic happens for branded content. This approach transforms branded content from overt advertising into a captivating story that not only entertains but also subtly conveys the brand's message and values. At Pocket Aces, we understand that modern audiences seek authenticity and relevance. This approach not only strengthens brand-consumer relationships but also drives tangible business results.

Shorts, Reels, AVOD, SVOD, long-form video, Premium OTT, there are several video formats that brands and creators have the option to choose from, but this variety could also lead to several ill-suited choices. What is the one universal principle that a brand or a creator can apply to know the right platforms for them and optimize their content?

In the dynamic landscape of digital entertainment, where a multitude of video formats and platforms exist, the key universal principle for brands and creators seeking to optimize their content lies in understanding their audience. By deeply comprehending their target demographic's preferences, behaviors, and consumption habits, brands and creators can make informed decisions about which platforms to choose.

The universal principle is audience-centricity. By prioritizing a deep understanding of their audience, brands, and creators can make strategic decisions that align with viewers' preferences, ensuring that their content thrives on the platforms best suited to reach and engage their target demographic

Measurement metrics on branded content have been a significant concern. Apart from engagement metrics, no tool or tactic can trace (for example) brand recall on Instagram or web search or walk-in after seeing a product on the branded content. What can be the solution for tracing or metric attribution for branded content?

It's clear that traditional engagement metrics alone are insufficient in providing a comprehensive understanding of the impact of our content on platforms like Instagram or web search. We can leverage advanced analytics tools that go beyond standard engagement metrics. These platforms can provide insights into user behavior after interacting with our content, enabling us to track actions like web searches, website visits, and even purchases.

Implementing post-interaction surveys or feedback mechanisms can provide qualitative insights into brand recall and impact. We can gather valuable data on how our content influences their decisions by asking users about their interactions with our content and subsequent actions.

Whether it's an ad campaign storyline or a congratulatory post revolving around women, a certain misogynistic trait is engraved in (most of) these communications. How can brands truly empower women through their communication? 

To effectively empower women, it's crucial to portray them in a realistic and diverse manner. Representing women from various backgrounds, ages, and walks of life in your communication helps break down stereotypes and resonates with a broader audience.

Authentic empowerment is not a one-time campaign but an ongoing commitment. It is necessary to ensure that the brand's values align with the message we convey and consistently reflect those values in all aspects of the business. We must create content that educates the audience about gender equality, the challenges women face, and the importance of empowerment. This not only raises awareness but positions the brand as an advocate for change.

Having started with video content creation on social channels to having an OTT Original and producing crossing billions of views, you have garnered over seven years of experience and witnessed the content evolution first-hand. What are a few of the content inclinations that have changed and a few that have not changed?

Over the course of this seven-year journey in the industry, we have observed a remarkable transformation in content trends. Initially, we catered to the fast-paced nature of social media with shorter, humorous content. And with time, as the landscape of content evolved, a shift toward longer-form content, especially on OTT platforms emerged. This allowed us to explore more intricate storytelling, character nuances, and audience engagement via web series and original productions. This change also resulted in a notable diversification of content genres, extending beyond comedy to include drama and romance, demonstrating the fluidity of viewers’ preferences. The power of relatability and authenticity that forges genuine connections with our audience, strategic collaborations with influencers that expand our reach and inject fresh perspectives, and our commitment to using data-driven insights to refine our strategies and make informed creative decisions have remained constant despite these shifts. These enduring principles guide Pocket Aces' content voyage as we continue to embrace evolving trends and experiment with various formats.

What was the reason that encouraged you to join this line of profession in the first place? 

My journey into the world of digital entertainment was sparked by a strong desire to connect with young people and influence them in a positive manner. This industry's focus on catering to the interests of the youth was intriguing to me. I believed that to bring about meaningful change in our country, we needed to shape the way young minds think. This personal belief became the driving force and eventually gave birth to our firm Pocket Aces. I've come to realize that my journey from engineering to finance to social development to media was a natural progression. It was all about my strong urge to empower youth and transform society by changing their perspectives with responsible content.

How can women who are inspired to be in a position such as yourself make it through the gender-driven hindrances in the industry? How can employers/companies foster this environment of growth for them?

In today's dynamic landscape, fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace is paramount for our digital company's growth and success. Firstly, an emphasis on meritocracy must guide our recruitment process, ensuring we hire talented people in the workforce. Secondly, the dedication to prioritizing the inclusion of women reflects our commitment to addressing historical imbalances.

Emphasis on nurturing young women within our organization is crucial. Creating an environment where they feel empowered to voice their thoughts and ideas is pivotal. Recognizing that many women battle with self-doubt compared to their male counterparts, providing mentorship, growth opportunities, and platforms for open dialogue can significantly bolster their confidence and contributions. Acknowledging the challenges that women historically faced in our industry, our insight aligns with a changing tide. The strides being made in terms of gender pay equity and the growing presence of accomplished female role models exemplify progress. We must rightly underscore the need to cultivate resilience and confidence among our female employees. Eliminating the fear of repercussions for speaking out against any injustices or misconduct is essential to nurturing a supportive work environment.

Storytelling Pocket Aces data digital entertainment AVOD