This Festive Season, Brands Must Drive Discovery On Social Media To Unlock Growth

This Festive Season, Brands Must Drive Discovery On Social Media To Unlock Growth

*This is in partnership with BloombergQuint Brand Studio

To address the opportunity of accelerating digital adoption and the challenge of economic uncertainty; marketing experts both in creative and media industry recommend driving brand discovery on social media.

Festivals are about shared celebrations. The 2020 festive season however is overshadowed by economic uncertainty and consumers are re-evaluating their relationships with categories. Consumer shopping this season may be about considered choices, and that may impact spending. How can brands play a special role in igniting celebrations in this context?

Discovery and inspiration, and reminding consumers of the emotions their favourite brands evoke, can unlock brand growth. To be discovered, brands need to be where consumers are, and digital, particularly Facebook and Instagram, are platforms where India discovers joy and inspiration. A recent BCG study found that digital influence has risen to around 70% due to the ongoing pandemic and nearly 80% of Gen Z and millennials say that their festive shopping is influenced by Facebook and Instagram.

It’s no surprise therefore that industry experts recommend marketers leverage social for driving brand discovery this season. With discretionary spends decreasing and value-consciousness increasing, marketers need to nudge consumers to enter the consumer’s consideration set, eventually helping consumers in their purchase decisions.

Digital is the most powerful influence on customer buying decisions:

This Festive Season, Brands Must Drive Discovery On Social Media To Unlock Growth

In this light, industry experts from Facebook, Ogilvy and GroupM shared critical insights about driving brand discovery, understanding evolving consumer media habits, and leveraging creative storytelling on digital.

Marketers are looking forward to turning the tide this festive season. How can they drive brand discovery and business growth in this season that is uniquely challenging in many ways?

Sandeep Bhushan: With the drastic alteration in media consumption, this festive season offers opportunities for marketers to connect with consumers like never before. Consumers are discovering brands on social media, and businesses need to focus on solutions that are relevant for the new normal, such as hyper-localisation, creating virtual experiences, re-looking at the media-mix to build efficiency, and focusing on truly incremental business outcomes.

Sandeep Bhushan
Sandeep Bhushan

With the rise in digital, are there new creative strategies which marketers and creative teams need, to drive brand discovery?

Kunal Jeswani: The rise of mobile gives marketers and creative teams new ways to bring storytelling alive, making it more engaging and more effective. That is why we developed a Creative Playbook in partnership with Facebook – to help marketers leverage mobile marketing better. To tell better brand stories, to engage consumers better on the platforms on which they spend the most time, to drive commerce, and to build brand experiences. The devices and platforms on which consumers are consuming content are changing. The way we tell stories needs to change as well.

How should marketers leverage creative storytelling on digital, especially Facebook, to drive business outcomes in the festive season?

Sandeep Bhushan: In the age of reducing attention spans, advertisers need to tell compelling stories through short-form Thumbstoppers and leverage fast-growing formats like Instagram Stories and Interactive Ads. This season, brands should leverage influencers as authentic voices, across marketing tasks like new launches, brand-building, and driving purchase. Facebook and Instagram have become a natural home for partnerships between people, influencers, and brands to come to life. With continued social distancing, brands need to leverage new innovations like Augmented Reality to bring alive the in-store experience creatively and help consumers in their purchase decisions.

Are there new creative principles for marketers to connect with consumers in this digitally-influenced festive season?

Kunal Jeswani: We approach all mobile communication development with a few simple principles that make it easy to respond quickly and yet create work that is on brand, connects with the consumer and leverages the best the platforms have to offer.

  1. Be true to the platform. This may seem like a throw away motherhood, but I’ve seen brands discard everything the brand stands for on digital in the name of being contextual or cool. Our desire, as an industry, to keep churning out bucket loads of social content, means we often stray from the brand platform. Create less content but keep it on brand.
  2. Engage relevant consumers. Again, this seems simple enough, but we often see work that is lazy and does not do enough to leverage the full targeting capabilities of each platform.
  3. Leverage the device capabilities and the full suite of advertising assets available on the platforms.

There are also 5 simple hacks:

  1. Build a consistent visual language.
  2. Keep the content short – just as long as you need to drive the story home.
  3. Use the full mobile real estate available – think Square and Vertical formats for social.
  4. Make the creative interactive – make sure your call to action is clear and your creative is designed to drive action.
  5. Make your creative work in mute.
Kunal Jeswani
Kunal Jeswani

Across most categories, Indians say that the Facebook Family of Apps is their leading online source for discovery:

This Festive Season, Brands Must Drive Discovery On Social Media To Unlock Growth

Do you see marketers adopting these digital creative best practices already, or do they face any challenges in adopting these practices?

Prem Narayan: Most marketers are extremely engaged with the new practices of storytelling on mobile phones. We often hear about the debate between brand building and short-term sales on digital platforms. Some of them believe that digital is predominantly for performance marketing. According to Les Binet & Peter Field's report on ‘Marketing Effectiveness in the Digital Era,’ there should be a healthy mix of about 60:40 between brand building and sales. While Facebook offers interesting formats, the creative idea is the most important. A huge proportion of what works on these platforms is a combination of the brand and what they communicate. The common challenge for marketers is to tell the story in a short time, and we are seeing adoption of short-form Thumbstopper films in recent times.

Prem Narayan
Prem Narayan

Consumer media habits have evolved significantly due to the pandemic, with the acceleration of digital adoption being the most noticeable habit. Tell us your thoughts on how the brands should re-pivot their media strategies to drive discovery in this festive season?

Prasanth Kumar: Digital influence has increased significantly while e-commerce adoption has accelerated by 2 to 3 years. There is massive growth in digital video and gaming. Digital is no more a support media platform but is central to media plans. GroupM and Facebook partnered to develop the Media Playbook to help brands and businesses with efficient media strategies to drive business outcomes in these current times. The evolving consumer trends like the rise of the smart shopper who spends time on 2 to 3 channels before making the actual purchase, the acceleration of e-commerce adoption, and bringing outside inside because of continued social distancing norms, have a strong influence on new media principles.

What’s top-of-mind for marketers/media teams as they craft their media strategies in these current times?

Sandeep Bhushan: Business outcomes and efficiency from media spends are top-of-mind for marketers in recent times. It’s proven by the MMM analysis conducted by Nielsen, done across 53 brands and 14 categories that digital is highly efficient, delivering higher ROI of around 1.5x, and Facebook delivers an ROI of around 1.9x as compared to traditional media. Marketers and media teams have access to all the tools necessary to drive business outcomes efficiently. They should embrace the full spectrum of consumer segmentation, master performance marketing, and optimise the media-mix to drive ROI.

What are the key principles that are outlined in the Media Playbook, which can help marketers drive brand discovery leading to business outcomes in this season?

Prasanth Kumar: The four key pillars are:

  1. Segmentation: which needs to evolve from ‘broad-narrow’ definition to ‘segmentation to drive business outcomes’ by leveraging the data.
  2. Performance marketing: Traditional brands are now evolving from just ‘top-funnel’ to ‘full-funnel’ marketing by activating D2C channels.
  3. Innovation: Leverage innovation tools like AR tools to simulate ‘touch-and-feel’ experience and drive purchases.
  4. Media Mix: Leverage digital to optimise media mix and drive business outcomes.
Prashant Kumar
Prashant Kumar

In the post-COVID world, e-commerce adoption has accelerated significantly. How should traditional CPG brands leverage this trend and win with e-commerce in this season?

Tushar Vyas: Marketers should simplify purchase journeys and collapse the funnel by leveraging the right digital tools. Digital offers an opportunity to hand-hold consumers across the purchase funnel. Brand building and performance marketing should not be operated in silos. Facebook offers strong brand-building solutions through video products, and also performance-specific commerce solutions like Instagram Shopping ads. Conversational marketing solutions are driven by Messenger, and digital CRM tools can prove to be very effective to engage the consumer and close the purchase cycle.

Marketers are optimistic about this festive season lifting the spirits of consumers and bringing back business growth. What is one key media principle which you recommend to marketers?

Tushar Vyas: The key principle is to optimise the media mix for business outcomes. Marketers should look at the brand and business outcomes and not just intermediate metrics. They should leverage robust measurement models like Media Mix Modelling, to optimise media monies and deploy marketing spends on the channels offering high-ROI.

Tushar Vyas
Tushar Vyas

Discovery through influencer campaigns:

For new launches in this season, brands can leverage social media influencers to create a buzz. The Hyundai Aura launch campaign leveraged influencers, using Branded Content Ads on Facebook and Instagram, and delivered a +3.7-point increase in brand favourability.

Discovery through video:

To build consumer engagement this festive season, brands should consider creating social videos to engage with relevant consumer segments and drive brand and business outcomes. Aashirvaad Atta ran a campaign leveraging Facebook’s In-stream ad product. The campaign encouraged consumers to participate in a contest, and delivered a 16-point lift in ad recall.

Discovery through local language content:

For building brand equity and driving consumer resonance, brands can use the targeting capabilities of Facebook to run campaigns in local languages. Cadbury 5 Star launched the 'Do Nothing' campaign with multiple Indian language ads, delivering an average of a +3-point ad recall in key markets.

To download the creative and media playbooks, visit


  1. YouGov Study 2019
  2. Consumer journey survey by Kantar profiles (Online survey across 2019, 2020)
  3. Turn The Tide reports by Facebook and BCG (Automobile, CPG, Insurance, Mobile, Apparel reports)
  4. Commissioned Nielsen MMM meta-analysis, 2014-2019. Base: A list of studies compiled by Nielsen. This list includes studies across 53 India Brands across the Total CPG category. Efficiency is Retail ROI, defined as total incremental sales divided by total media spend. The ROI numbers in the claim are spend-weighted averages across all studies for each channel
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