Impresario Entertainment and Hospitality opened the 50th outlet of the popular restaurant chain Social in Hyderabad last year, and the 51st in Faridabad this year.
Divya Aggarwal, the company’s Chief Growth Officer, spoke to Stoyboard18 about how Impresario has been leveraging brand Social, the brand cross-pollination and cross-promotion they have been doing, moment marketing, and partnerships with Netflix and Spotify.
Edited excerpts below:
How was 2023 for Impresario, from a marketing and advertising perspective?
SOCIAL is where the maximum work happens. Impresario believes in being consumer-first, understanding trends, and enabling some of those trends by looking at our target group — which is a mix of Gen Z and millennials — for brand SOCIAL. SOCIAL is literally sitting in the middle of cultural conversations, and youth and pop culture.
We focus on consumer centricity, consumer-driven marketing, and storytelling. When it comes to marketing, the national campaigns and the topical moments really work for us, whether it’s New Year's, Christmas, or Valentine’s Day. We also do special menus; we try to bring an experience together.
In one of our sports verticals called #DoosraStadium, we tried to bring the experience of IPL and World Cup to the customer. So, if somebody came to SOCIAL during that time, there was a special menu for them created around the World Cup. Also, Social's screens and music created the ambience you want people to have when they're watching the World Cup.
Last year, we tied up with FanCode, which is the official merchandising partner for the World Cup; the customer could buy something special with the code he got from SOCIAL. So cross-pollination and cross-promotion for the right brands is also something I think we do really well. We tied up with a couple of cricketers — Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan — and created some films telling customers to come to Social to watch matches.
How is Impresario leveraging the partnership with Spotify?
Spotify's audience is similar to SOCIAL’s. SOCIAL is a network of creative neighbourhood cafes. Our commitment is to enable connections between people and communities. There are communities that we really identify with, and we want them to use SOCIAL as a base.
Music is also about communities, and Spotify is all about music, upcoming artists, and genres. Therefore, we kick started this collaboration with them last year. At the end of the year, Spotify does Spotify Wrapped, where they tell people how their year has been on Spotify.
In 2023, Spotify created 13 music-listening personalities. For each of those, Social created a special cocktail that reflected that personality. If a user’s Spotify Wrapped included these personalities, they could come and show it at our outlet and get a free drink. And also enjoy the special menu we had curated. SOCIAL is there in 10 cities now and we just opened our 50th outlet in Hyderabad.
Tell me about the Netflix collaboration?
Netflix comes up with content for specific target groups. With Netflix's Kho Gaye Hum Kahan (which is about friendship and social media addiction), we created the "Disconnect To Connect Challenge." That did really well for Social because we also focus on creating connections in an offline world.
The concept was that when people walked into an outlet, we requested them to put their phone inside a locked box, which is Netflix + SOCIAL co-branded, and actually have a chat with each other. All of us are addicted to our phones. And even when we are sitting with our loved ones, with our friends, we tend to give more attention to the phone. So the idea was for Netflix and us to basically give people this platform where they can talk to each other for half an hour at Social outlets.
You also mentioned moment marketing a while back…
RJ Pranit has a video where he is seen to be roasting Social. He came to SOCIAL Dadar (Mumbai) and created some engaging content around us. And we actually spun the roasting, aka negative marketing, into positive marketing.
Because of his roast, a lot of people came to Social to hear him talk. We are always on the lookout for what's happening, trend-wise, to see how we can convert such things into an interesting peg for marketing.