When a favourite celebrity endorses products and brands, we often aspire to use the same. In 2017, when Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma endorsed Manyavar, they created lakhs of shoppers for the brand because of Kohli and Sharma´s fan following. However, a few months later, when the two celebrities tied the knot in reality, they both wore Sabyasachi.
This celebrity-led influencer marketing approach has been around for a while now, gaining a supreme position in the world of marketing, but several pain points remain. To find out what is hindering brands from reaching the right audience, The Tech Panda spoke to Ankit Agarwal, the Founder of Do Your Thng (DYT).
How many times do you think celebrities are promoting the products that they’re using? Most of them have not even used it once. Hence, influencer marketing came into play, where we started scouting for people who were actual product users
Do Your Thng helps brands connect with social media users and get them to recommend the brand or service to their friends and followers as opposed to being able to connect with the 0.1% subset who are called influencers. On the other hand, users can express support for brands, causes, and passion points by creating content in three steps and get paid based on their influence.
Agarwal says the whole reason why the influencer marketing game is becoming so big is because of the celebrity led approach.
“There’s a very strong celebrity led approach, where brands go and find people who would have similar personalities as the brand or the product and say, I want you to promote my product. Doesn’t matter whether this particular person is using that product or not,” he says.
While that’s where the whole brand positioning or product positioning comes into play, lately, the realization that it won´t work all the time has come.
“How many times do you think celebrities are promoting the products that they’re using? Most of them have not even used it once. Hence, influencer marketing came into play, where we started scouting for people who were actual product users,” he explains.
Unfortunately, the whole influencer marketing approach is also led by the celebrity led approach. Brands are still finding influencers based on their reach, based on the kind of content they do, so that the crucial parameter of the person to be using that product or to be using that brand has been pushed back.
Advertisers are now changing this by trying to bring authentic product users to do what they call advocacy marketing instead of influencer marketing. This is a change being seen internationally as well and DYT is among those harbingers.
Advocacy marketing works through real word-of-mouth. As an example, if a brand approached DYT for promoting a brand of coffee, they´d go and hunt for people who are already drinking the coffee, instead of finding people who have talked about something else, which the brand would want to promote.
“The prime factor here is people who are using the product and who have either spoken about the product in a positive sense or would love to speak about it, because they have had good experience with the product. This is where you replace the influencers with brand advocates,” Agarwal explains.
Need for Transparency
Branding and advertising face several problems that ultimately hinder a brand from connecting with the real audience of a product or service. Agarwal explains them in some detail as well as how at DYT, they are trying to break the barriers.
The need for transparency is a challenge in this sector. While the Indian influencer marketing scenario is getting regulated, there is still no law that mandates creators or influencers to clearly reveal when they release a fake piece of content. Countries like the US and the UK already have stringent laws in this regard, but India is still picking up on that.
There are many areas where it´s unknown what exactly is happening. Information such as how much a particular agency is paying to a particular creator can be dubious. Thus, if a creator is charging X amount, by the time it reaches the client, it becomes 2X for no reason at all, because there are multiple people involved in between.
“We’re trying to break that chain. We´re trying to be as transparent as possible and as ROI driven as possible,” says Agarwal.
Among the many trends that are hot right now in this industry in India is regional content. Languages like Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Bengali are creating a niche market for reaching out to those relating to these languages.
Languages like Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Bengali are creating a niche market for reaching out to those relating to these languages
“That’s another thing which is picking up really well. And we expect it to grow by leaps and bounds in the coming years, if not the coming months,” says Agarwal.
While working in the UK, primarily around influencer status and content marketing, the 35-year old CEO saw the huge potential in the Indian scenario, especially with respect to regional content, where Indians don’t have many options.
Content Creation Shift
Consumer related content creation has seen many innovations, including Instagram, TikTok, and Canva, but branded content is still the same.
“If a brand has to create content, there still are only two ways, either very expensive shoots or unrelated stock images or stock footage. There is just no other third way out,” explains Agarwal.
Consumers have become more tolerant to not having those perfectly shot images in perfectly shot videos from the brands, but to have relatable content coming from brands
This has led to a content creation shift, which is an area where DYT has ventured as well. As consumers, we are evolving from starry eyed viewers lured by camera tricks to those looking for authenticity.
“There are changes which are happening from a consumer perspective. Consumers have become more tolerant to not having those perfectly shot images in perfectly shot videos from the brands, but to have relatable content coming from brands,” he adds.
This is one of the reasons why brands have started producing and releasing content, which is done by creators instead of an expert crew. This change, says Agarwal, can be seen internationally and India is picking up as well.