How Indian Brands Are Telling Stories On Instagram One Picture At A Time

A look at the various ways in which Indian brands are making use of Instagram to tell their stories and build engaged communities around the brand

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Ever since Instagram was made available on Android, it opened up a world of visual stories to most smartphone users in the country. A majority of Indians began discovering the joy of sharing their special moments instantly. All it needed was a smartphone, a data connection and an Instagram account. Brands saw a small yet strong opportunity to engage with their consumers; a trend that was boosted by the rise in smartphone sales in the country.

Presently, the Facebook-owned photo sharing app claims to have over 300 million monthly active users sharing 70 million photos per day that garner over 2.5 billion likes daily. Instagram has come a long way from the app for sharing your selfies and food pictures to the app for discovering interesting people, all powered by the thousands of hashtags floating on it.

For brands this meant a virtual goldmine of opportunities to make direct connections with people. And, unlike Facebook which has curbed a brand’s reach to its fan base, Instagram has no such restrictions. The app offers a clean slate for visual storytelling to just about anybody.

We looked at quite a few Indian brands on Instagram making phenomenal use of the visual medium. Despite having built smaller follower bases as compared to their Facebook followers or Twitter fans, their Instagram followers are an engaged, thriving community with a personal touch.

Chumbak, the company that sells quirky Indian souvenirs and lifestyle products could not ignore Instagram. It was a tailor-made medium for the brand to tell its story, stories that tied up with its brand philosophy of ‘Make Happy’. Read “Inside Chumbak’s #MakeHappy Philosophy On Instagram”.

Fans always make it a habit to flaunt their new Chumbak buys on Instagram. They look forward to its posts on Hugo, the Chumbak Dog. The brand ensures its product pictures make a quirky impression, are less intrusive and trigger engagement. This picture for Yoga Day features Hugo receiving training from Yogi Baba, one of Chumbak’s most loved bobblehead.

Yoga Day’s coming up & Yogi Baba approves! He loves teaching everyone here, even Hugo #yogaday #bobblehead #collectibles #MakeHappy

A photo posted by Chumbak (@chumbak) on

Chumbak also drives engagement through sharing what goes inside the making of a product. Here’s an Instagram video capturing a wall art in the making.

This is how we do wall art! Full link in bio! #MakeHappy #chumbak #ThisIsHowWeDo #makingof #artprints #lifeatchumbak #design

A video posted by Chumbak (@chumbak) on

For Kingfisher, the beer brand from United Breweries, Instagram was the best platform to showcase premium visual content. The ‘King of Good Times’ uses Instagram to tell ‘Good Times’ stories of real world events & experiences with the product playing an integral part of the story. Read “Inside The Kingfisher “Good Times” Stories On Instagram”.

It also helps that beer as a category is one of the more shared content pieces by consumers on Instagram. The Kingfisher bottle has a personality of its own on Instagram.

I guess I’m rising up to some swag today. #Kingfisher #KingfisherPremium #kingfisherbeer #kfpremium #BeerMane #moustache #gameface

A photo posted by kingfisherworld (@kingfisherworld) on

The beer brand is among the few who are making interesting use of Instagram’s grid layout. For occasions like October Fest and Beer Appreciation Day, Kingfisher makes sure to share unique and memorable grid visuals like this one.  

Talking about leveraging Instagram’s grid layout, there’s Zee Khana Khazana, one of India’s leading food and lifestyle television channel (now operating as Living Foodz) that made innovative use of the grid to create India’s first ever #InstaCookBook – a unique compilation of multiple summer recipes and tips on its Instagram page. Read “How Zee Khana Khazana Created The #InstaCookBook On Instagram”.

#InstaCookBook brought together summer delights like lemonades with a twist, tango with mango, fresh summer salads, fun recipes for kids, pesto beyond pasta, quirky ice creams and more. The brand used the Instagram functionality to create another handle that was tagged to the image directing one to the various recipes. One had to just tap on the image and click on the tagged profile to discover the recipes for them. The below image for summer salads holds 10 recipes each, a tap and a click took one to the salad recipe they were interested in.

We have compiled the best, freshest, most flavourful salads from all around, just for you! Go ahead, make the most of summer till it lasts. Just tap on the image and click on the tagged profile to feast your eyes on some amazing summer salads. #salads #summer #best #fresh #flavourful #InstaCookBook #food #healthy #instafood

A photo posted by Living Foodz (@livingfoodz) on

Paper Boat, the maker of traditional Indian drinks ensures its Instagram page is reflective of its brand philosophy of ‘Drinks & Memories’. A combination of cute doodles, two lovely puppies called Hector and Beverages, little visual stories around the brand and childhood memories tell the Paper Boat story on Instagram. Read “How Paper Boat Is Building Its Brand On Instagram”.

An in-house team creates a new visual every day for its Instagram page. So a ‘Jamun kala khatta’ becomes superman, a “Ginger lemon tea’ a little teapot.

Our #jamun #kalakhatta turned up at work as #superman with complimentary #supertaste. Art by the #super #talented intern Debasish. #paperboatdrinks #paperboat #Cape #gola #superheroes #instapic #instaart #art #freehandsketch #sketch #memories #indiansuperman

A photo posted by Paper Boat (@paperboatdrinks) on

Our #ginger #lemon #tea recites: I’m a little #teapot Short and stout Here is my handle Here is my spout. When I get all steamed up, Here me shout, Just tip me over and pour me out. #nursery #rhyme #tea #icedtea #paperboat #paperboatdrinks #memories #nostalgia #chai #readytoserve #beverage #allnatural #true #brew #glutenfree #noGMO #NOPRESERVATIVES #noaddedcolors #goodoldgoodness #bangalore #office #interns #MICA #instaart #instapic #instagram

A photo posted by Paper Boat (@paperboatdrinks) on

One of India’s leading women’s magazine, Femina already has a large chunk of its target audience on Instagram – women looking to stay updated on fashion, makeup, food, lifestyle, love, women’s issues, etc. All the brand does is pay attention to what the followers are liking and looking for – the next trend, the current issue in the country and serve it on a platter for them. Read “How India’s Leading Women’s Magazine Femina Is Building A Community On Instagram”.

It creates unique videos and photos for Instagram and makes sure to use the already popular hashtags like #fashion, #beauty, #makeup, etc. This video captures a little disco at the closing of Lakme Fashion Week from Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla.

Closing at #AbuJaniSandeepKhosla It’s a disco riot! @lakmefashionwk

A video posted by Femina (@feminaindia) on

For the IIFA 2015 awards, COLORS, the official broadcaster of the show created an Instagram anti-gravity booth. On the way down the carpet, Bollywood stars had a chance to defy gravity at this installation. This resulted in some pretty incredible photos, in which the celebs appear to be floating in mid-air. Actor Shahid Kapoor is having a ball of a time defying gravity here.

The sensational @shahidkapoor shows his funny side at the #Instagram anti-gravity booth. #IIFA2015

A photo posted by iifa awards (@iifaawards) on

These brands show us how Instagram can be a great tool for visual storytelling. Churning out consistent, quality content on the network that helps the brand build its story one picture or video at a time, indeed goes a long way in building an engaged community on Instagram.