Kesavan Kanchi Kandadai , Chief Executing Officer , Tangerine Digital Pvt. Ltd
Kesavan Kanchi Kandadai is the Chief Executing Officer at Tangerine Digital Pvt. Ltd, where he is responsible for running content creation and management business. Kesavan understands the evolving digital landscape and is adept in creating innovative products and solutions to meet the ever-changing needs of the digital consumer.
As an alumnus of IIT Bombay, Kesavan started off his career with India's largest IT services company, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) as an Associate Technology, where he consulted one of the biggest financial institutions in the world. Post his stint with TCS, he had a seven year long association with Sapient as a Manager Technology where he was leading large scale IT development, transition and change management initiatives. He built his expertise in content management and multiplatform content delivery systems.
In this exclusive interview with Ratnika Swami for India Digital Review, Kandadai talks about the growing importance of the online content space in India, how the digital content market is changing in the country and the challenges faced by companies in making the most of digital. Excerpts:
Q. Can you briefly describe how Tangerine Digital has evolved into a digital content management agency, since it started in 2006?
Founded in 2006, the company started out with content production, content post-production and services. We were entirely focused on the media and entertainment industry at the time. We always kept digital as the primary focus area for the company.
Digital content in India started off in Telecom VAS; Tangerine’s services have also evolved with the changing VAS industry. We decided to shut down our content production and content post-production services and focused entirely on the digital ecosystem
Initially we were servicing the mobile VAS industry through our content services. Then later on video-on-demand portals came up, YouTube became big and VAS kind of went down. As the digital industry took shape, we were one of the front-runners and also the early adopters of everything digital. We have the credit of doing the first ever sports live streaming in India forr the T20 Cricket World Cup. We are also the first company to be YouTube certified in South-East Asia. In 2014, we were voted as the #1 digital content services company in India by AFAQS.
Q. How do you think the digital marketing space is evolving in India? And what are Tangerine’s plans for the future?
According to the latest IAMAI report, in 2014, there was a total digital ad spends worth Rs. 2,750 crores in India. That’s a 22% growth from the last year but from 2011 onwards it has been growing at an average of 25% or more. This year, it is expected to grow further by 30% to Rs. 3700 crores. We are seeing tremendous growth in the e-commerce space, the smartphone penetration and the growth of bandwidth and internet users in India. In the coming times, digital marketing is set to grow faster.
Right now, we are entirely focused on content services. Globally, on an average, almost 25% of the marketing budgets are being spent on content. In B2B business model, the companies spend around 28% of their digital marketing budgets on digital content and in B2C model the companies spend about 25%.
If we assume Rs. 3700 crores is the total digital marketing spends in the next year, and 25% of that will be for content marketing, there is almost a Rs. 900 crores opportunity in India in the space that we operate in. So there is a huge opportunity coming their way for all parties involved. If the US is spending 25% of their total spends on content, India is currently spending at 10%, according to me prediction this is going to grow exponentially in 2015.
Q. How important is it for brands today to have an online content strategy? And how do brands influence through content creation?
Companies who do content strategy are far more successful in their content marketing plans than companies who don't do content strategy. Almost 90% of all companies’ money for content strategy involves social media and blogs.
For example, for the AskMe app launch we came up with a content strategy, where we advised them that they should involve blogger engagement as a major source in terms of the digital promotion of their brand and their app. And the result was that they engaged with around 1000 bloggers who reviewed the product and wrote about it.
The top three reasons why brands use content are brand awareness, lead generation and engagement (80 - 90%). There are around 18 tactics that one can use in terms of content marketing and out of the 18- the largest growth in the past couple of years has been seen in video and infographics.
Q. What are the most common mistakes that brands make while creating an online content strategy?
The most common mistake is to not use analytics in terms of your brand or your competitors to help create online strategies. The study of these analytics will bring out interesting numbers and metrics in terms of what content and what platform will carry forward your brands’ message the best. Still, there is no set formula. One has to do a lot of experimentation with putting some money here and some there and seeing what works best. The other mistake is to not have a strategy and ape someone else’s or competitors’ plans.
Q. Sometime back, Tangerine Digital had launched analytics driven content solutions for different sectors, including travel and FMCG. How is the adoption of those solutions going? What are the new trends in analytics that brands should look at?
Within our group, TO THE NEW, we have an analytics solution called Omnio G. With that we have worked with a lot of organizations globally. We have worked in the lifestyle consumer space and the financial industry space and both of them are doing decently well.
As far as the trends in analytics are concerned, the traditional metrics of how to measure digital marketing campaigns are not enough and people are looking at engagement as a major feature. This would mean that the quality of content will also play a major role going forward.
Another metric is the readership in terms of the number people reading the content and the time spent reading it. One needs to set certain goals in strategic terms to keep people engaged to the content and this is where the focus is shifting to.
Q. How methods do the brands need to adopt to boost online content and what are the limitations they should keep in mind?
First thing any brand should do before promoting themselves is doing a bit of analytics. Then they should come up with a strategy that details where and when they should spend the money. There are some technologies globally that help brands promote content. Now, to promote content on social media there exist distribution technologies. These are technologies like NewsCred, ContentFeed and Skyword etc. These technologies not only help you distribute content on your own channels but help you identify new channels and to promote your content on those channels. The second type of amplification is in terms of reinvigorating the content itself and how easy have you made it for people to like and comment and share in the organic way.
Now, one of the major limitations is going to come from how great the content is. The other limitation is the metrics being used to measure the quality of one’s content. The third limitation is that there is no instant gratification in content; it has a slow boiling point.
Q. Recently, you have also launched customised content solutions for brands in the burgeoning e-commerce sector. Could you elaborate on that?
One thing we kept in mind is that we need subject matter experts to review the quality of content. You also need content sources that are specific to the genres. We have lined up subject matter experts, the aggregators and publishers, content sources like the books and the magazines and have packaged it in a very different way for the e-commerce sector. This as a factor doesn’t exist anywhere else and is working very well for us. Firstcry is an example and there is also another travel portal that is soon to be launched that we are currently working for.
Q. Companies have been talking about user generated content, for quite a while now, but only a few blue chip brands are able to gain any traction. How do think that other brands can leverage this and how does Tangerine help them accomplish this?
User-generated content moderation has slowly shifted towards either self-driven, crowd-driven on tool-driven moderation. Earlier brands wanted people to moderate the content but now it has shifted to tool-driven and community-driven moderation.
We help brands to engage with their influencers in a positive way and to get these influencers to write and engage with other audiences in a direct way.