How brands can do influencer marketing beyond influencers
Dec 13, 2022
At a time when influencer marketing is booming, industry experts discuss how brands need to relook at their influencer strategies
In layman's terms, influencer marketing is a form of marketing that involves the use of influencers, people and organisations who have a great amount of influence on a certain subject. However, that definition seems to be changing every day.
With internet democracy here, everyone is an influencer. This is why now more than ever brands need to look beyond the realms of what we have known to be influencer marketing according to a panel conducted at the 18th Marketing Conclave by IAMAI.
The panel included Arnab Mitra, Managing Director at Liqvd Asia; Kiran Giradkar, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Nilon Enterprises; Vikram Bhayana, Head of Marketing at Bajaj Allianz General Insurance; and Sarah Sarosh, a beauty and lifestyle influencer. The panel was moderated by Chandrashekhar Samiappan, Head of Creator Partnerships at Google India.
According to Samiappan, brands today are themselves becoming creators due to the demand for content.
Giving out some figures about the Influencer Marketing industry today, he said, “Globally Influencer marketing is a 10 billion dollar market, expected to reach 15-20 billion dollars by 2025. All of this is because of the explosion we have seen on the content and creator side and brands leaning in and spending money on influencer marketing. There are 6,000 creators just on YouTube and the format of content like long-form, short-form, podcast, mobile-first etc has also increased.”
According to Mitra of Liqvd Asia, the way brands are allocating budgets towards influencer marketing has changed over the years. He said brands have also realised that they are creators first and then influencers.
“Yesteryear’s TV commercials have taken a hit and a significant part of that is being allocated just for content creation. Meanwhile, Influencers are treated like media vehicles,” said Mitra.
Influencer Sarah Sarosh spoke about the changing landscape of influencer marketing and said, “I’ve been here for seven years and have seen the landscape of content creation shift from being just us speaking to our audiences to now it being very fast and trendy. People’s attention spans have reduced quite a lot which has caused the short-form content market to groom so much.”
“I strongly believe that it is important to pay attention to both short and long-form formats to truly garner the attention of audiences. If you only create short-form content people might see you on reels and remember your face but scroll through. Relatability still lies with long-form content,” she explained.
How brands are using non-traditional influencers to influence
According to Giradkar of Nilon Enterprises, the consumer today is very smart and understands the difference between an ad, sales pitch and content. He said that a lot of brands mess up when they can’t differentiate between a content creator and an influencer.
“An influencer is somebody who should not sell your product. The moment he picks up the product and talks about it, he becomes the endorser. The consumer knows that this is an advertisement. An influencer is someone who you should know, uses your product and you know that because you know his lifestyle. This is where credibility comes into the picture, so as a marketer, if you can really cross-check the credibility of your content, then you have done it right,” he explained.
Giradkar spoke about one of their campaigns where they did not use influencers but got actual audiences to speak about the product. “Every region in India has a unique achaar so we launched a contest where the winner’s achaar recipe will be picked up and sold by us.”
“We have done so many campaigns but they just give us reach and likes, not sales. This campaign is giving me sales because when these ladies who are making achaar speak to their community, they are very genuine and are ready to sell my product at the top of their hat,” he explained.
Asked how can brands in the finance space make use of influencer marketing, Bhayana of Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance said, “At Bajaj Allianz, we are very clear that insurance is a conversational sale, only if you talk about it will sell. We have taken that to the next level.”
“We have people who are very familiar with what happens at hospitals and God Forbid if someone has to get admitted, they will get in touch with you, get the right doctor, and amenities, and during discharge, they will do all the behind-the-scene work necessary. The beauty here is that I am using our RMs as content creators and the end consumer as influencers. If the consumer is happy, they take a testimonial on the spot. I am not running after the fact that we need influencers but we are using our own employees as content creators and our own customers as influencers.”
He explained another one of their campaigns and said they tell their consumers to use their app, click photos of the damaged vehicle and upload them on the app in case of an accident. According to Bhayana, in 20 minutes the consumer will get the money for the claim.
“We have got videos back of people saying this actually works and is not a marketing gimmick. We are creating a facility and talking about it where the end consumer is themselves sending us testimonials. So it's not about influencer marketing not being for your industry but about how you use it,” he concluded.