How Creativa built a robust content strategy to boost conversations around authors and books for Penguin India

Case study by Creativa for Penguin India wherein it built a contextual content series to help drive conversations around books and authors, submitted under the category: 'Best Branded Content Series’ for LI Content Marketing Awards 2017

The Client

Penguin India, established in 1985, is the largest English language trade publisher in the subcontinent. In 1987, they started with 6 books, 30 years later, they add almost 250 new titles every year. Although Penguin India is known as a platform for classic fiction, they are also known for modern fiction as well as narrative nonfiction, including biography, travel, business, politics, history, religion and philosophy, lifestyle, cookery, health and fitness, sports and leisure, illustrated and children’s books.

Penguin India is a subsidiary of Penguin Random House, a renowned name in publishing. With offices across the globe, Penguin Random House understands the market and new forms of literature styles like none other.

The Agency

Creativa India is a creative and digital marketing agency based in New Delhi. Started in 2010, we have worked with over 30 brands with some major names from the publishing, technology, lifestyle, development and pharmaceutical sectors.

At Creativa, we believe in the brilliance of powerful thought provoking content and visuals that engage, educate and inspire.

Problem Statement

Penguin in India publishes around 250 new titles every year, along with a backlist of 3,000 titles . The global arm of the company publishes over 15,000 new titles. The brand boasts of a burgeoning author list ranging from Rudyard Kipling to John Green, with new names being added every year. The challenge arises when in light of new books, there is not a lot of conversation about authors that had been published years ago.

Identified Objectives

  • To keep earlier published (both Indian and International) authors in readers’ memory
  • To publish content which is engaging, entertaining and informative around the authors and the books they have written
  • To create and curate content not being shared by any other content platforms and competing brands
  • Drive readers to talk about the books by these authors

The Strategy/Execution

To increase author and book recall, we came up with campaigns around the authors on their birthdays.

The idea was to share:

  • Trivia about the authors’ lives and their bibliography (Things lesser known about some books and the author’s life)
  • Quotes from books – often getting people to revisit the books they may have read and wanted to re-read
  • Excerpts from diaries and other works done by the authors – beyond the realm of books published by Penguin

These regular campaigns were initiated on Facebook, Twitter and the Penguin Blog as:

  • Graphics
  • Listicles and long-form blog posts

Short author videos

Campaign Inclusions

Jane Austen’s Birthday

A campaign aimed at highlighting the not-so popular male characters from Jane Austen’s book. In order to do that,  we curated character profiles and did a Facebook album titled #TheMissedMisters.

Anytime someone talks about an Austen hero, the name that pops up is Mr Darcy. Right? It's time we talk about #TheMissedMisters from Jane Austen's world she carved so remarkably!

Penguin Indiaさんの投稿 2016年12月15日(木)

We also did a blog post on 10 Quotes from the Wittiest Woman in Literature to increase the recall value around her books that feature in Penguin Classics.

Haruki Murakami’s Birthday

The two-time Nobel nominee, Haruki Murakami, is a well known author from Japan. In order to mark his birthday, we did a customary wishing creative, a quote album from his various books (keeping the japanese design aesthetics in mind) and a trivia blog post titled ‘6 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Haruki Murakami’

Happy birthday, Haruki Murakami

Penguin Indiaさんの投稿 2016年1月11日(月)

On the birthday of one of the greatest writers of our times, we look at some of his amazing quotes that give a wonderful…

Penguin Indiaさんの投稿 2017年1月11日(水)

This campaign also acted as a build up to his collection of short stories Men Without Women which was published in May 2017.

We revisited Murakami’s old books in May again and shared quotes from his works using red, black and white – the basic Japanese art colours.

Gulzar’s Birthday

In order to mark one of India’s most-loved lyricist’s birthday, we focused on his songs and published content through a Facebook album with his lyrics, an interesting blog about the rationale behind writing ‘Dil Hoom Hoom Kare’  and not writing ‘Dil Dhak Dhak Kare’ in the film Rudali which got us very good traction. The blog post was titled ‘Why Did Gulzar Write ‘Dil Hoom Hoom Kare’ and Not ‘Dil Dhak Dhak Kare’?’ In addition to this on Twitter, we shared translations of his popular songs in English and asked our users to guess the original Hindi titles. The campaign was overall titled #GemsByGulzar.

On his birthday, we bring you some #GemsByGulzar.#HappyBirthdayGulzarGet your copy of #100Lyrics by Gulzar now: http://bit.ly/Gulzar100Lyrics

Penguin Indiaさんの投稿 2017年8月18日(金)

Have you ever wondered why #Gulzar used “hoom hoom” to denote the heartbeat against the commonly used “dhak dhak”?#HappyBirthdayGulzar

Penguin Indiaさんの投稿 2017年8月18日(金)

Ruskin Bond’s Birthday

Ruskin Bond is one of the most popular authors for both Penguin India and its children’s imprint Puffin India. In order to mark his 83rd birthday which also involved the launch of his memoir, Looking for the Rainbow and Confessions of a Booklover, we played on nostalgia and share a quote album from his previous works and a blog post on five of his lesser-known works titled 5 Lesser-Known Books by Ruskin Bond that You Must Read.

On Twitter, we undertook two engagement based campaigns and used the hashtag #MyRuskinBOND.  One of the two was non-incentivized campaign where we asked the users to tweet about their bond with Ruskin and his stories while the other involved them to guess the Ruskin Bond book by its cover.

As we celebrate the icon's 83rd birthday, here are some mesmerizing quotes by him.#HappyBirthdayRuskinBond #MyRuskinBOND

Penguin Indiaさんの投稿 2017年5月18日(木)

#MyRuskinBOND trended in Delhi for a few hours on the day.

Rabindranath Tagore’s Birthday

In order to make the birthday of India’s only Nobel Laureate in Literature, special,  we took to his famous poems and quotes in our three-pronged approach—a quote album from his works, video on his famous poem  ‘Where the Mind is Without Fear’, and two blogs titled  5 Reasons why Rabindranath Tagore was Ahead of His Time and 5 Rabindranath Tagore Poems that Make Him the Master of Our Hearts.

Where The Mind is Without Fear – Rabindranath Tagore

Who wouldn't want to live in the India, the great Rabindranath Tagore dreams of?#WhereTheMindIsWithoutFear

Penguin Indiaさんの投稿 2017年5月7日(日)

Do you think #RabindranathTagore's greatness will be (or has been) surpassed?

Penguin Indiaさんの投稿 2017年5月6日(土)

Pablo Neruda’s Birthday

Pablo Neruda is mostly famous for his writings on passionate love, desire and hope. To celebrate his birthday, we focused on his works as well as took to engaging audiences in an interesting hour-long campaign on his birthday eve. We did a quote album, and a non-incentivized UGC campaign on Twitter called #NerudaNight where we asked people to add their lines to Neruda’s famous lines “Tonight I can write the saddest lines…” We ended the hour-long campaign by ushering in the poet’s birthday. We also excerpted his essay ‘Toward an impure poetry’ in a blog post titled Toward an Impure Poetry  by Pablo Neruda on Penguin’s blog.

Pablo Neruda, the master of expressing love and longing through words.#HappyBirthdayPabloNeruda

Penguin Indiaさんの投稿 2017年7月12日(水)

Ernest Hemingway’s Birthday

To celebrate the birthday of Ernest Hemingway, known in the literary circuit as “Papa of English literature”, we did the following things for his birthday—a minimal wishing video using his famous quote, a quote album from  from six Penguin titles from the reading list he recommended to a budding writer Arnold Samuelson in 1934. We also did a blog post on the two professions Hemingway took before he became a wordsmith titled The Fascinating Life of Ernest Hemingway: War-Veteran, Journalist, Wordsmith.

The Sun Also Rises but never sets on Ernest Hemingway.Here's wishing a happy birthday to one of the finest storytellers!

Penguin Indiaさんの投稿 2017年7月20日(木)

"Here’s a list of books any writer should have read as a part of his education. If you haven’t read these, you just aren’t educated." —Ernest Hemingway#HappyBirthdayErnestHemingway

Penguin Indiaさんの投稿 2017年7月21日(金)

William Shakespeare’s Birthday

In order to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday, we took to a fun approach and  showcased how characters from Shakespeare’s works would wish him on his birthday in our campaign called #BirthdayBard. The dialogues were conceptualized in the early Modern English which is very different from what is spoken today. The campaign included Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo, Juliet, Julius Caesar,  and Cleopatra while it also gave a shoutout to 5 of Shakespeare’s major works.

How would Shakespeare's creations wish him on his birthday?#HappyBirthdayShakespeare#WorldBookDay#BirthdayBard

Penguin Indiaさんの投稿 2017年4月22日(土)

Anne Frank’s Birthday

In order to celebrate the birthday of the braveheart, Anne Frank, we wrote a blog titled 5 Times Anne Frank Showed Us How to Not Take Life for Granted with a purpose to show her as a hopeful and courageous person, using quotes from The Diary of Anne Frank. To commemorate the 75th Year of Anne writing the diary, we included a brief history about it at the end of the blog.

Did you know Anne Frank started writing her diary 75 years ago today?#HappyBirthdayAnneFrank #Diary75

Penguin Indiaさんの投稿 2017年6月12日(月)

Results

Our aim of creating conversation around authors published back in time and their books has got us stupendous results and continues to do so.

Considering we’ve taken examples from over last 9 months and most of our campaigns are organic, it’s encouraging to see campaigns like #MyRuskinBOND getting 33 Million+ impressions on Twitter with 379 participants generating over 1100 tweets and trending in Delhi. It’s worth highlighting another campaign for Pablo Neruda, where we engaged users after 11 PM in the night on a weekday and still managed to get over 9.1 Million impressions on Twitter for no incentives given.

Campaigns like we did for Gulzar not only brought out the nostalgia related to his lyrics but also initiated a debate around his famous song (Dil Hoom Hoom Kare).

Our objective of generating conversations about ‘books and authors’ was very well achieved considering we gave our readers a lot more than any other content platform or competing brand had to offer.

Observations/Lessons

  • Whenever we have given our readers, more than they can get from any other content platforms, we have been able to generate a lot more interest. Eg. Pablo Neruda’s essay ‘Toward an Impure Poetry’.
  • Contextual moulding of content to a purpose helps in getting more traction. Instead of just doing an excerpt, we put a context to the content curated. Eg. For Anne Frank, we curated quotes that aimed at motivating the readers to strive for the silver lining in grave circumstances.
  • We’re not just talking to readers but aspiring authors as well. A very important part of our content strategy is to give out resources to aspiring authors and that gets us traction. Eg. Hemingway’s recommended reading list to aspiring writers.
  • Most importantly, Penguin India, always emerges as the leader in audience engagement when it comes to promoting its authors and their titles in comparison to other brands publishing the same authors.