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“We create a narrative & use YouTube as a channel to reach consumers” – Srikanth Pinninti, VP Marketing, Myntra



Though brand channels on YouTube began as a place to dump commercials, it has now become a destination to engage in brand conversations. As a fashion e-commerce brand, Myntra has been using it’s channel on YouTube to build a narrative around the brand as well as gain visibility and reach using YouTube ad inventory. As a fashion e-commerce company, Myntra has been using it’s channel on YouTube to build a narrative around fashion as well as gain visibility and reach using YouTube ad inventory. In conversation with MediaNama, Srikanth Pinninti, VP Marketing of Myntra speaks about the company’s approach on YouTube, partnerships with content creators, usage of traditional media vs digital, among others, in the first part of this two part interview.

Brand approach on YouTube

MediaNama: What is your approach to YouTube? How are you building your brand on YouTube?

Pinninti: Fundamentally, video is an important content tool or device these days, especially for a company like ours that is in the fashion business. Therefore video is a great device for the visuals as well as the story telling. We are in the fashion business which is visual and video plays a great role in building the narrative around a brand with multiple story lines around this. So yes we do use YouTube extensively and we work closely with YouTube on this. The content we put out varies between some of the hygiene content like the Do-It-Yourself content to content that helps you understand fashion and look good.

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If you see our channel, you will find look good videos, DIY videos, makeovers. So that is content that our loyal fan base who follow our channel consume consistently. They turn to us as the guide in making them look good and therefore all of this content is put out. Now over and above this, we keep creating stories about the brand. Like when we transitioned to the app, we had the app rap videos, we had brand Myntra talking to the consumers, employees talking to the consumers on why are we going app only. It was a video called It is personal, it not business. Now these are videos about the brand, its positioning, choices it is making etc.

We create narrative and use YouTube as a channel to reach out to the consumers. And there is also the way of using YouTube as a broadcast channel for advertising any campaign or commercial that we have. We use YouTube to find out and target the kind of TG, markets, base when we want to get to. We use some of their ad properties like a TrueView to reach out to the customers we want to.

Positioning through YouTube

MediaNama: Do you also push your original content through the ad inventory? Have you done that?

Pinninti: We do that, but that is a limited push that we give. It is usually very targeted, specific to people for example, based on geography, based on what kind of content they are watching. We push our original content but we don’t push it as extensively as we push some of our commercials.

MediaNama: Why push original content? What positioning are you trying to build by pushing your original content?

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Pinninti: The way we understand fashion is that fashion is a lot about inspiration. People want to understand and learn more. Our big bet around fashion has been content even if you go to our app and see it, you will see that we have deeply invested in content. Home page has a content feed. You will see a lot of stories and mentions that you would have seen even on the YouTube channel. They are articles or videos. Content is a big bet for us because we think that is where the consumers will engage with us as a platform rather than as a store.

Hence for consumers to know that there is great quality content that is available that it needs certain amount of push. Yes, we can create good content but just keeping it on our channel may not be good enough and therefore we reach out to people who we believe are deeply engaged fashion consumers by finding out on YouTube and reaching out to them. Slowly, over a period of time if you have the right kind of people following your content then it begins to spread.

MediaNama: When do you choose to place ads using the ad inventory model on other YouTube channels?

Pinninti: That is simply a factor of the reach that we really want. The original content is geared a lot towards tips, advice, looks, new season collections, colors that are in etc. The way the consumer would engage with them is subscribe to the stream of this content. They are not high engagement material. But over a period of time if you engage with more and more of such content, your engagement gets deeper. The strategy there is to have a series of such content pieces.

We choose ad inventory model when we have something big to say. We used it when we moved to app only or when we have big sales event like End of Reason sale or when we have big thematic campaigns. That is when we use ad inventory on scale, to get really, really huge reach.

Content creator partnerships

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MediaNama: Which are some of the YouTube content creators that you have worked with? What are the parameters based on which you choose them?

Pinninti: We do work with YouTube content creators. If you look at the content that we put out for instance when we went app only, we worked with Culture Machine. If you see some videos that we have put out like our End of Reason Sale, we had Culture Machine to create some content to create some engagement around the sale. We have worked with independent YouTube creators also. We working independent YouTube creators for the app rap videos. So we have worked both ways, with Culture Machine as well as try and reach out to independent creators.

MediaNama: What is the difference between working with a MCN and an individual content creator?

Pinninti: A MCN brings in a lot more. If you give a MCN a brief, they will figure out which talent to bring in. They will have music talent, humour talent, who is right etc. They also help you with the dissemination of the content. Individual content creators work when you have an extremely clear idea saying this is the piece of content I want and you know this one person that you want to work with. May be when you are rushed for time, you could do that. But largely, MCN gives you the benefit of bringing you a wide talent network, you give them a brief and they will be able to get you different kinds of creators that suit your brief and manage them for you also. To work with an individual guy, you have to manage everything.

Usage of traditional media

MediaNama: When do you choose to use traditional media as well?

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Pinninti: Again traditional media is not something that we use for look good original content because television is way to expensive to put out that kind of content. Television at the end of the day, gives you a certain reach which is good. For example, you might have a really big revenue event that is happening. Like we had a sale a few weeks back. We need buzz for this sale. So you say you want people who are not on Myntra to come on Myntra. I need all our consumers to know about this sale. When we need that kind of scale, then we choose offline.

We choose the plan according to the event. If it is a big revenue event, we would have a big plan leading up to that event. The other time when we use offline is when we are doing a large positioning or repositioning campaign as well. We would use offline to say hey this is the positioning but we would use digital to let people more deeply understand the positioning. May be offline serves a announcer/reach purpose. We would use it may be two times in a year based on our need but engagement strategy would be focused on digital, Facebook, YouTube etc.

MediaNama: How do you measure the impact for the investment that you make for offline?

Pinninti: We follow some of the traditional methods while we are trying to evolve deeper ones. Media effectiveness would depend on the campaign that you are running. Hypothetically, if I were running a campaign to increase app downloads, that becomes a very clear metric for me. If I were to do a campaign to do a revenue event, what kind of traffic we got, revenues we got becomes a metric for us.

At the same time, we use traditional means to figure out what did it do to our brand, what is the awareness, what is our preference visa vi other e-commerce brands, how is it strengthening our positioning attributes etc. There are both business metrics as well as brand metrics. We are in the process of developing deeper methods to track the effectiveness of offline sales. When we crack it, we can speak about it.

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