The Zoya Factor: Titan Zoya’s content strategy

Most brands talk of a ‘content strategy’ besides other forms of marketing and communications (including advertising), but very few truly go all the way sticking to their strategy. A couple of brands like Zomato, Dunzo, and Swiggy, among others, have successfully cracked the digital content strategy, while Amul has cracked it as a channel-agnostic strategy using vehicles including billboards and print advertising (Amul topicals are just paid-for ads, and not editorial pieces, despite them seeming so because they opine on topical events and news).

Within this context, Titan’s luxury jewellery brand Zoya’s content strategy deserves a closer look given how interesting it is, particularly the ‘Finely Crafted Journeys’ series in which they feature a ‘Zoya Muse’ periodically. These muses are famous women achievers from a wide range of industries and areas.

While Zoya uses digital channels like its brand handles on Instagram and Facebook to talk about these women, the series also gets featured in print publications like The Economic Times’ Panache supplement (which is an ‘advertorial and promotional feature’; in plain-speak, it means, “everything in this page is paid for”).

Zoya’s content strategy within the long-running ‘Finely Crafted Journeys’ series is quite interesting.

1. The choice of ‘brand ambassadors

The first interesting element is the choice of women they choose as brand ambassadors. While Zoya does include conventional brand ambassadors like Sonam Kapoor (the brand recently signed her up. That she starred in a 2020 film called ‘The Zoya Factor’ in which she played the title role is entirely incidental, I presume), the way the ‘Zoya Muse’ is utilized within the content strategy is vastly different.

All these women are stellar achievers within their chosen domain of work/interest/profession. They do not fit the conventional definition of a ‘brand ambassador’.

Most of these women also don’t fit the usual categories like ‘will model for a fee’, ‘influencer’, or ‘brand ambassador’.

Consider Hina Nagarajan, Managing Director and CEO of Diageo India.

Or, Jayna Kothari, co-founder of the Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR) and a senior advocate herself.

They hardly fit the ‘brand ambassador’ profile, and most definitely don’t need to work with a/any brand for a fee. They seem like women who need adequate convincing to be featured in a brand’s marketing campaign (in this case, ‘content strategy’) because they have an impeccable social/corporate standing on their own.

Other Zoya Muses from the past include Shereen Bhan (news anchor), Nawaz Modi Singhania (an artist who also happens to be industrialist Gautam Singhania’s wife), Gauri Shinde (film director), Dr. Latika Nath (conservationist and ecologist), Dr. Indu Shahani (educationist), Pallavi Shroff (managing partner and national practice head, dispute resolution, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.), Brinda Miller (artist), Anupama Chopra (film critic), Amal Allana (theater director), and Radha Kapoor Khanna (founder and director of ISDI School of Design & Innovation, Mumbai) among many others.

It’s a mighty impressive list! The only way Titan and Zoya convinced them to be part of the content campaign, from what I believe, would be that there is a mutual rub-off effect: these women achievers gain from the credibility of the iconic Titan/Tata brand, and the luxury positioning of the Zoya sub-brand in particular, while Titan/Zoya gains from these women achievers’ professional/social standing.

That brings me to the next point – the kind of content that is generated in association with these women achievers!

2. The kind of content

Take Hina Nagarajan, for instance. Here is the Economic Times piece. While this is an advertorial piece (paid advertising created to look like ‘news’), the focus is extensively on celebrating the woman achiever, using the same 4 questions:

  • what inspired you/can you tell us about your journey?
  • what do you enjoy most about your craft?
  • how has your journey renewed your connection with your true self?
  • (and the only Zoya-centric question) Zoya and you?’

The content is mainly about the women and the Zoya connection is almost incidental.

But the online/digital version of the same content goes beyond this template and features the specific pieces of jewellery (from Zoya) that these women are wearing.

It’s a clever hand-off, between print and digital, and demonstrates the amount of thought that has gone behind this entire effort.

3. A long-term effort

From what I understand (and saw online, besides print), the content series has been going on for quite some time.

The earliest that I found online was from 2018, even though many of the links that point to the Zoya website are now dead (leading to an error page). The print series in The Economic Times has been active for quite some time too, with the last 3 pieces published on July 27, 2023 (Anita Nair, writer), July 13, 2023 (Abha Narain Lambah, architect), and June 21, 2023 (Hina Nagarajan, Managing Director and CEO of Diageo India).

The fact that the brand (and the agency, both advertising and public relations) looks at the series not as a one-off effort and as a sustained long-term effort (running for more than 5 years) is impressive.

4. A perfect match for the brand’s target audience

The brand defines its target audience as, “the Zoya woman is typically well-heeled, well-traveled and seeks exclusivity”. Given this profile, the choice of women enlisted as ‘Zoya Muse’ is not only super impressive and appropriate, but the fact that these women’s stories have been peppered across a long timeline helps with the brand’s contextual visibility.

Someone may miss a particular women achiever, but because it’s an ongoing series, the next one would perhaps catch their eye. And because the content does not seem like advertising, it would perhaps be engaging as a piece of content.

More importantly, for a target audience like this, what matters is not necessarily the glamor value (which conventional celebrities like Sonam Kapoor would offer the brand anyway), but that they can truly look up to the chosen set of women for their impeccable achievements… and style (that Zoya provides, of course).

Overall, this is an excellent effort by Titan and Zoya. It traverses multiple internal divisions: There is advertising, of course. Then there is public relations that would be instrumental in the content creation element, and there is media buying too for the paid push. The effort is a great blueprint for any organization that considers the use of content for marketing.