Shishir Mahendrakar is the Creative Technology Manager, Phosphene, Zoo Media’s creative technology agency, using disruptive technology like AI, VR, mixed reality, amongst others, and the study of consumer behavior.
Agency Reporter – How has been your experience with conceptualizing and implementing creative tech for Brands considering its relatively newer marketing technique to promote customer engagement?
Phosphene has been quite an exciting journey for us on both ends of the spectrum; internal as well as external (client facing). Internally, we’ve been quite excited about exploring different technologies across AR (camera tech), VR, Interactive Video Tech, Bots, AI, ML & NLP and taking these technologies to clients and adapting them to solve business needs.
For us, use of technology is more about the experience than the engagement; whilst engagement is the gold standard in the digitalverse, an experience allows for the brand to create a dent in the consumers mind. Recently, we teamed up with Sakshi Sindwani ( fashion blogger and macro influencer) to build a cool AR experience on Instagram with filters which were personalised to her personality like this Self-Love / Hustle one. Our groundbreaking campaign, #Interact With The Future for Aditya Birla Capital, where we brought out an interactive contrast between two futures. One with savings and one without was extremely well received and super fun Hershey’s India Valentine’s Day campaign #SayItWithAKiss got some accolades, we built this interactive web app which got people to select a message for a loved one, upload their favourite pictures with them and see it transform into a personalised video, which they could share with their loved one.
AR- How does it help from an audience engagement standpoint?
Today, the audience has little or no time. We have to maximize brand impact and create efficient engaging pieces of content. Every second spent by a user on the content is counts and our job then is to create a long lasting impression on them within those seconds. With an interactive piece of content, not only do you engage the user but you also get an opportunity to understand user behavior and learn how to adapt to a changing environment. We did something really out of the box for Swiggy. We were given a brief about improving insight, time spent on the app. We built Swiggy Santa Ride, this in-app game and saw some whopping results. As a result, we saw more than 19 lakh game plays over 6 lakh game sessions in a span of just a week!. Over 1,50,000 form submissions happened and with an average time spent of 60 seconds we saw around 2,500 hours of time spent. These were some phenomenal numbers, purely from an audience engagement standpoint.
AR – Can integrating a game or game mechanics in your marketing boost your conversions significantly soon afterward?
Absolutely. Games and engagement related creative tech activities lead to instant and sure-footed results for our brands. We have seen a significant increase in conversions on creative tech content pieces as they are more fun and engaging. The numbers prove that audiences love to interact with a brand through a gaming setup. A gratification-led activity gets a lot more attention. We’ve married creative and tech to create result-led campaigns. In fact, we recently launched a web-based game application for Kotak 811 in which the idea was to talk about the benefits of the product. We brought this out innovatively with a simple hyper casual game which was rounded off with an instant reward to users with high scores. We saw more than 70,000 game plays and over 7,000 completed interactions in a span of just 4 weeks! This just proves the effectiveness of simple games done effectively with great creative output and robust technology. It’s an amalgamation of all these elements.
AR- How has been the brand’s reaction so far?
All of our brands who have used creative technologies, have experienced great success with their campaigns. Brands enjoy this unique space and have made this genre of content a part of their annual operating plans. Today, brands are not only looking at content that can reach and engage their audience in an efficient manner but also content that can give them meaningful data in terms of performance and analytics. With Phosphene’s offerings, we have been able to successfully bring out this particular aspect effectively.
AR- What do you have to say about the adaptiveness of this strategy?
Every brand is unique. They are defined by their products and the culture they bring in along with it. At Phosphene, we have imbibed every aspect of this in our brand’s campaigns and enhanced it. We believe in creating robust campaigns that are high on impact and recall. The technology does the rest. Time and again, our team has been able to deliver results with this strategy.
AR- The use of gaming and creative tech in digital marketing strategies is limited to a few industries or businesses from various distinct domains. Can we look at creative tech and gaming to drive greater audience engagement in the future?
We believe that no brand is out of our reach for a creative tech-led campaign, this is an inclusive medium. In our experience, we have already catered to a wide diaspora of brands including FMCG, food delivery, BFSI, network television, car brands, and even engine oils.
AR- Why is it imperative to experiment with creative tech more now than ever?
The audience is always looking for something fresh and new. The reason Phosphene happened is because we wanted to offer a platform for the brands and their audience to connect on something unique and rich inexperience. The audience is slowly moving from one-dimensional content towards interactive content and creative tech offers a channel where we can engage with your customers on a much closer level. Like I said earlier it’s a great medium to understand user
AR- What are the Sectors that are actively utilizing it currently and what the immediate future adoption looks like among others?
A lot of FMCG brands rely heavily on creative technologies to promote their campaigns. The banking sector has picked up on this offering and really made it big. Automotive, food, and fashion have started adopting this medium as well. In a few more years,a lot more sectors such as real estate and tourism industries will tune in as well, as we brand’s are increasingly moving towards efficiency-driven content.