It has been five months and counting since India went under lockdown. The country is slowly opening up now. The recent outbreak of the COVID – 19 has caused a tectonic shift in most people’s lives.
WFH is the new norm now, many companies are now willing to extend this facility even after the lockdown is lifted. In our endeavor of bringing our readers views from a wide variety of stakeholders in the industry.
YAAP is a new-age, specialized content company that brings together technology, data and content to deliver high-quality creative solutions. YAAP has a presence in 6 cities across 3 different countries and has worked with likes of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), Visit Dubai, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), SBI Cards, Tata AIA Life Insurance, Assam Tourism and Coca-Cola, among others. YAAP has been around for over four years now. The company ran India’s largest Video-led Influencer Engagement Program for ITC Hotels.
Manan Kapur – Partner YAAP talks to us on the initiatives taken during this crisis and way forward for YAAP
Can you take us through YAAP’s journey?
We are proud to say that our journey has mostly been a successful one. We have worked with over 100 brands and have built a strong team through our talent-hiring and various acquisitions. This progress reflects in our organization’s growth: we had started with offices in two locations and now have spread to seven cities across Asia with over 55 employees.
Our initial struggles were mainly around getting a talented group of people and creating a team that could meet the organization’s dynamic requirements. However, the successful work that we have pulled off over the last 4 years has been hugely impactful in attracting talent. Today, we have an intelligent, experienced and motivated expert across our entire process of Design, Discovery and Distribution.
As WFH is the new culture which will be adopted by many companies, how have you positioned yourself?
Being a Digital Media company, we have been very comfortable in adopting the WFH culture. Most of us were already digital natives, and with new tools and technology, we have been able to develop real-time connectivity and interaction within the team.
We have observed that more traditional brands are re-evaluating how they have been going about digital and content marketing. Now more than ever, content and technology are leading the way as a result of content consumption and engagements being higher than ever. This has resulted in brands being braver and exploring territories they would not have traditionally explored. YAAP, as an organization, has not just embraced this evolution but has also grown with it. We continue to focus on breaking new ground with a content-first, platform-specific approach to deliver some great creative solutions.
The video- led influencer engagement program…can you elaborate?
There are mainly three types of communication that an influencer uses to communicate to their audience- Text, Picture and Video. Though Audio is also slowly coming into the picture category.
We have observed that video-led influencer programs tend to create much higher engagement with the user, and as a result, the brand recall and brand retention for our clients are much higher.
We had created a video led influencer engagement program for ITC Hotels-The thought behind the plan was to create a community of people who are keen to contribute to the society, to the planet and the ecosystem and while making the online audience understand the thought and ideology that ITC Hotels inculcates behind each element of Responsible Luxury.
We identified select influencers pan-India across different sectors. Influencers were selected basis their social media ranking, engagement on their social channels and interest.
The experiences captured were shared and amplified on ITC Hotels’ social channels for 6 months and gained massive engagement from the online audience and created a lively surround sound around #ResponsibleLuxury ecosystem and ITC hotels.
We have also led similar campaigns for clients like UPI, Dubai Tourism, RuPay, BBPS etc.
During this lockdown, many Brand communication has changed, your thoughts?
During the lockdown, the time spent by people online has increased drastically. Accordingly, the brands have also boosted their communication on the digital front, and we believe that this trend is here to stay.
Many companies have started to realize the advantages digital has to offer over traditional media such as – measurability, better consumer insights and cost-effectiveness.
We also have this 3 pillar approach that has kept our game strong during these times- Design, Discovery, Distribution.
The design begins right from research, strategy, ideation to execution; it is the entire packaging of an idea/content process. Discovery kick-starts and dispenses the packaged idea through channels such as Influencer Marketing. Distribution amplifies and optimizes the content via publishing partnerships, etc. So we believe that any piece of brand communication must go through this process.
As YAAP is using Instagram a lot, what is the thought process behind this?
Instagram is the most trending social media platform for the current generation, with over one billion active monthly users and 500 million daily Instagram stories. With the introduction of the new reels feature as a replacement for Tik-Tok, the platform is also set to attract the consumers of very short video watchers. Through Instagram, we can offer bite-sized content to the user regularly. Moreover, Instagram users are not just active — they are engaged. About 60% of the platform’s active users visit the site daily, and 21% say they check it weekly.
Thus, we post fun and engaging content daily. This ensures that our content is fresh and relevant to the fast-paced life of our consumers.
What are some of the post-lockdown business strategies will you be taking?
Post lockdown a critical strategy for us is to continue the digital-first strategy. Being a predominantly digital company, we can use our previous experiences to our advantage.
Companies are looking for shorter and simpler videos and generating new and up to date content for their consumer. We tend to leverage our expertise in creating Digital-first content, while at the same time using the power of each social media platform & Influencer marketing programs to get results for our clients.
As a Digital Media expert, what are your thoughts on this unprecedented pandemic?
This unprecedented pandemic has done its share of harm to print and traditional media but at the same time has created a lot more demand for digital media consumption. The use of social media & digital content among people of all generations has increased exponentially. This has led the industry to focus more on digital content creation and forced them to look for ways to harness the power of digital media.
We believe that the engagement on digital is limited only by the quality of the content on it. And we hope to fill that gap.
During this lockdown how have you boosted the morale of your team, and some of the measures you have taken at this juncture?
Then journey for YAAP, during these past few months has been a significant one. From going to the office to Work-From-Home and now to Office-at-Home. We have been very successful in adapting to these changes. New tools and technology have enabled us to maintain real-time communication within the team and with all stakeholders as well. While we eagerly wait to get back to physical office space and huddle with the team.
Learning and a message to the young millennials.
The world is evolving faster than ever, and hence, skills and knowledge have a shorter lifespan than they earlier had. The younger generation needs always to stay updated to stay ahead of the curve.
My only advice would be to keep re-educating yourself if you want to stay relevant now. How you re-learn is becoming more important than what you learn.