Global Creator Network (GCN) – a digital branded content vertical of OML Entertainment Pvt Ltd. was started in 2016 with the first campaign association with Nathan Bartling (also known as My Mate Nate in YouTube) in Thailand, Global Creator Network grew to 12 countries in 2017, and today, GCN continues to grow stronger with 30+ brand campaigns active across 18 countries.
At GCN, we are constantly pushing boundaries and experimenting with different content forms. In Poland, we created a reality show ‘Dai Lesha’ with one of Russia’s biggest content creators Klik Klak. 7 of the 8-part show trended in most of Russia for 7 continuous weeks. Our campaign in Thailand produced what became their biggest music video for the year, ‘can’t bear’, with Urboytj garnering 20 Mn views within a month. We also envisioned the first-ever Hip-Hop awards in Poland attracting raging country-wide attention for the brand. India saw about 7 trending videos across categories just within this year. GCN does not just help build campaigns for brands. Our content in the regions we are working in also helps strengthen creators’ outreach. While we were working with one of the most popular comedians Eric Omondi in Kenya, his online presence doubled with our branded content campaign, hitting 7 Million views and 742K conversations and 2 videos that trended on Youtube.
Over the years, Global Creator Network has built a strong and diverse network of content creators and branded campaigns ranging from wedding series with Bar Zomair in Israel, food cook-off show ‘Fork Off’ with Daddy Foody in Lebanon, award-winning cooking show ‘You Got Chef’d’ in India, ‘Tapecast’- a unique chat show property that showcased the winning streak amongst popular Indian personalities and much more.
Tusharr Kumar, SVP & Business Head, Global Creator Network in an exclusive chat with Medianews4u spoke on the reach of GCN in a short span of 4 years.……
Why was GCN launched and the journey?
The youngest vertical at OML, the Global Creator Network has launched 4 years ago with the aim of bringing together creators and brands to build branded content solutions that impact popular culture.
We tapped into our 17 years of experience of working and managing creators – to identify the right brand for the right creators to collaborate with and that has helped deliver more efficiency for the brands than what most have seen with any of their digital marketing efforts.
GCN campaigns span 22 countries across the regions of SEA, India, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America – with local partnerships, network agencies, and some colleagues in remote markets as well. ,
Our solutions are always backed with strong data insights and impact measurement through our proprietary tool & processes which also enables brands to standardize their performance measurement across regions.
Over the last few years, we’ve co-created over 15,000 pieces of short and long-form content working with over 550 creators globally, delivering 1.75 billion views for brands.
This pandemic saw a huge surge in digital usage, be it the CEO or the person in Tier 3/4 towns how did you go about identifying the right TG for the right brand.
The upward growth trajectory of digital content consumption was supercharged by the pandemic. We have seen new platforms, a larger creator ecosystem, and fans spending more time on multiple devices.
The need for data-based planning and buying in the branded content space has become even more imperative. Choosing to work with influencers and creators just based on their follower count or ‘brand fit’ are archaic and risks the brand losing out on the impact of their investment and even talking to the wrong audience entirely.
Just as media planners in more traditional forms of media identify the right combination of channels to reach the right audiences, influencer and creator campaigns also require the same amount of strategic planning. The difference is that a much more robust platform and influencer/creators data is accessible to digital planners to enable decision-making and planning.
At GCN, we’ve mastered the science of media planning in the branded content space using our proprietary tools and processes. This has let us deliver over 6X ROI on campaigns for our clients.
Every campaign starts with an evaluation of the digital landscape. We look at relevant platforms, content genres, internet penetration in the market and layer these with cultural nuances relevant to the brand.
Based on the audience demographic that the brand is trying to engage with, we identify the right creators/influencers/publishers ensuring that their audiences overlap with the brand’s target. We also marry the brands’ passion points with insights like audience content preferences.
We use proprietary tools and processes to access this data and plan the most efficient combination of creators for the brand based on the campaign objective. It also enables us to track and monitor the campaign in real-time making optimization changes as we go and putting together comprehensive campaign reports.
Today more and more brands understand that mass advertising is not effective. They just need to target their TG, how do you create customized content?
More and more consumers are using ad-blockers and most finding advertising intrusive. When was the last time you didn’t skip a pre-roll advertisement?! Creators & brands building entertainment together break the aversion fans have toward traditional advertising.
At GCN we look at creating the right content for the brand’s audiences by first understanding what content their audiences are consuming. Within those genres of content, we identify the right creators and then work together with them to create customized content that puts across the brands messaging in the most organic way. Creators & Influencers know the kind of content that works for their fans – who are also the brand’s target audience.
Creators are storytellers, brand custodians, producers, creative thinkers, and media distribution channels – all rolled into one. They can work as the face and voice of the brand so it’s important that we don’t overpower their voice when we work with them. We need to let creators craft customized messaging and talk about the brand in their own authentic way. It is this authenticity that makes them and the brand stand out with their fans.
Are Influencers an important tool for engagement?
Influencers enable two-way conversations that are authentic, relevant, and meaningful in fans’ lives and the best part of it is that it features on their timelines organically.
One of the learnings that we’ve had working on campaigns across 22 countries is that nearly all digital content platforms prioritize engagement where it works together with platform algorithms to deliver reach & impressions. So for the content to win on a platform, engagement needs to be a priority. This year itself we’ve had over 33 trending videos on campaigns we’ve worked on and that too organically!
We’ve achieved this organic pull by using our proprietary engagement-based metric to identify the right creators and working with them as they drive this volume of organic engagement across platforms.
Even if a brand wants to amplify creator content with media, the efficiency of media spends are interlinked with the quality of the content driving better media efficiencies.
As per you how long should an Influencer engagement last?
This really depends on what the brand’s campaign objectives are – is it tactical, is it desire building, is it a one-off promotion, or the creation of a brand platform? Depending on what the brand wants to achieve we recommend how long the engagement should be and how the campaign should be scheduled.
We have run successful campaigns where influencers were used to create excitement about a new product launch over a short campaign period. But we’ve also built out Global Brand platforms like Bacardi Sessions across Poland, the Philippines, Thailand, and South Africa driving longer-term associations with locally relevant artists in each market. For example in India, we’ve worked with artists like Rtiviz for over three years creating this platform – enabling upcoming independent musicians and creator
Is it right to say somebody with a huge fan following on social media platforms can become a brand custodian?
Not every person with a large fan following can be a brand custodian. It depends on the kind of content they’re making, and their ability to weave in brand messaging into their content as a creator/influencer.
If they have a large authentic fan following it means their fans are enjoying and engaging with their content. If this kind of content lends itself to what a brand would like to collaborate on and additional if their fans are interested in this content – then it could work.
Making the right brand and influencer collaboration happen and ensuring the messaging works for the influencer’s audience is key to this.
Way forward for GCN?
As a team, we’re passionate about creating branded-supported entertainment and pride ourselves in a ‘creator-first’ ethos – representing not just brands but also helping creators grow and develop when we engage with them. We continue to work with artists and brands in a way that delivers wins and effectiveness for both as a shared success.
Our work has driven impact for the brands we’re working with and been recognized globally. Award-winning campaigns from OML’s Global Creator Network include the “You Got Chef’D’” digital cook-off show with Dewar’s that won the IDMA award for the Best Benchmark Content in Branded Content (2019), and the SPOTT Award for Best Brand Placement (2020) – Non-fiction. The music property Bacardi House Party Sessions (#BHPS) also bagged the Kaleido Award for Best Surrogate Communication of the year in 2019.
Simultaneously the creators and influencers that we’ve worked with have also won many accolades on campaigns we’ve collaborated on. We produced “Jeet” by Ritviz as part of the Bacardi House Party Sessions property that was listed in Top 10 Music Videos in 2018 by Rolling Stones India. His tracks “Udd Gaye” and “Sage” trended consistently on Youtube, and were listed under Top 100 Apple Music India.
“Na Meaann” by South Africa’s Nadia Nakai won her the “Best Rapper act” at the All Africa
Music Awards 2018 (AFRIMA). Eric Omondi was awarded ‘Best comedian in Africa’ at the African Entertainment Awards 2019 in the USA. The World Blogger Awards 2019, awarded to Lebanese food creator Daddy Foody for the ‘Best comfort food blogger’, in Cannes.
With GCN we will continue to grow the brand content ecosystem as we push ahead with data-first creative solutions across the Globe.