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Neha Puri

Vavo Digital, the influencer marketing agency, is all set to launch an app that connects brands and influencers. The app currently has influencers who are open to barter-deal associations with brands. 

Speaking about the need for such an app, Neha Puri, Founder and CEO, Vavo Digital, said, “A lot of brands, as well as influencers, in India are at a nascent stage. Brands in the beauty, and skincare space have grown by associating with influencers on barter deals. However, the biggest problem is that there is no set process for the influencer industry to streamline the association in the country.”

“The platform basically is a place for the influencers and the brands to talk directly, you don’t need Whatsapp chats, Email conversations or DMs. A brand always has to chase 35% more influencers than what is actually required for the campaign to get them to agree. Hence, both parties don’t need to look for partners through multiple channels,” she stated explaining the benefits of the to-be-launched app. 

The app is named ‘Sehay’- which in Sanskrit means ‘affiliate’ or ‘support’. In English, it sounds like ‘Say Hi’. Currently, the platform is free for influencers and for brands it charges a fee depending on the number of people it wants to associate with. 

Barter on the rise 

A few years ago, when the influencer space wasn’t as evolved, a number of D2C brands relied on ‘barter’ deals. In layman's terms, they offered freebies to get influencers to talk about the product. However, as the industry evolved, influencers started demanding remuneration from brands. 

However, as per Puri, the barter system may again see a rise - considering the crunch in ad spends from brands. “Barter system may be prevalent for the next six-seven months in the influencer space as brands look at reducing spends,” she said.

Challenges in the influencer ecosystem 

According to Puri, another big challenge is the delayed payments and lack of established payment cycles in the industry. She admitted that Vavo is also dealing with the same problem as an agency but is working towards improving it. 

“The app will in the future take care of their (influencer) invoices, taxes, returns etc,” Puri said.

She also said that as they are focused on streamlining the entire influencer marketing process, the app can also have make-up artists, writers, and photographers as well as assistants for influencers. 

Puri further spoke about the trends in the influencer marketing space and said that the days of likes and shares have gone by. 

“What’s in demand are people (content-creators) who can tell genuine stories. The dependency on regional influencers has improved and will only keep increasing. A lot of brands want to keep their communication local and connect locally. A lot of influencers are also understanding the importance of affiliate marketing and long-term relationships. It’s a lot of trial and error in this industry but one thing we know is that content is at the core,” Puri said on a concluding note.