Brands and not just platforms need to empower creators, say experts

In the first episode of Good News Today presents BuzzInContent's 2022 Content Conversations, Vineet Kanabar, Host of the showbiz podcast, Story Tellers & Story Sellers, Shrenik Gandhi, CEO and Co-founder of White Rivers Media, Pragya Priyali, Director - Social Commerce, Myntra, Deepak Salvi, Co-founder and COO of Chingari, Akshay Bhatnagar, Co-founder of Hypd and content creator Bhoomika Thakkar discuss how brands can benefit from the booming creator economy

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The creator economy has been gaining big with each passing day, according to a report its size stands at $ 104.2 billion. Also, with the popular short-video app TikTok exiting from the country in 2020, the number of platforms, as well as the number of creators, has doubled. 

From home-grown platforms like Chingari and Roposo to MNC platforms like Instagram, all have been thriving off the creator economy boom in the country. However, with the advent of web 3.0 and the metaverse, the entire ecosystem might be revolutionised. According to experts, the decentralisation of the internet will mean that creators will have to be empowered not only by platforms on web 3.0 but also by the brands themselves. caught up with industry experts to understand how brands can benefit from the booming and thriving creator economy in the country. 

Watch the full conversation here:

Akshay Bhatnagar, Co-founder of Hypd, said, “The whole influencer marketing activation for the past five years has been seen as a top of the funnel activity, which is just lead and activation. What needs to be done is to look at it from the bottom-funnel approach and focus on activation and retention. Let the creator be the product. There is an interesting saying, ‘Every entrepreneur is trying to be a content creator, and every creator is trying to be an entrepreneur.’ These two fields are parallel and are growing together. The creator knows the content, how to build an audience and the entrepreneur knows how to make a business out of it. We at Hypd have stepped in to make this marriage happen.” 

The panel further agreed that in web 3.0 decentralisation will lead to creators being empowered rather than the platforms. 

Bhatnagar added, “You need to make them (creators) a part of your sales as well. In the industry we have seen that whoever does the final transaction gets a cut but when a creator’s content is influencing the audience to buy that product why should not the creator be monetised for that? Here the brands will find a third way of selling their products.” 

Pragya Priyali, Director - Social Commerce, Myntra, said there is a need for technology to be created to derive the creator’s real value. 

“In 2019 everyone wanted to work with those 20 creators, people had an early mover advantage. But only 5-10 out of those were ever paid. This concept of barter has to change. Because once technology comes, brands will have to rationalise the value they derive from creators and then form fair pricing models. A lot of adjustments for pricing is going to happen.” 

“Now at the studio (Myntra Studio), we have that technology so we know what the fair price to pay is and we mutually agree and pay that value. A lot of rationalising of pricing will consequently bring a lot more transparency in the system overall. Brands will start evaluating whether they need to do an influencer campaign or some other type of campaign because both will be equally competitive and both have an equal amount of transparency. The lack of transparency so far has meant that influencer marketing has been a fringe spent and now it is gouging to be at the heart of where marketing is done,” added Priyali. 

According to Shrenik Gandhi, Co-founder & CEO of White Rivers Media, brands need to stop micro-managing creators and give them freedom to do what they do. He added that brands also don’t need to force influencer marketing. 

“Do not force-fit don’t and use an influencer just because you like that influencer. We have had incidents in the past where the brand says this is my favourite influencer let’s get them on the campaign. What if he does not connect with the brand? There has to be an absolute natural marriage.” He further spoke about the campaign they did with viral sensation Khaby Lane and gave him his first Indian campaign. 

“We had a lot of APAC publications talking about the campaign. Khaleej Times picked it up. CNN also picked it up without us even contacting them. This is how far content can travel if it is true to itself.” 

“We need to decentralise; you can’t use content creators as virtual billboards. This is where it started from and it worked well but now is the time for conversion,” added Bhatnagar. 

Content creator Bhoomika Thakkar agreed and recalled the time she had to create content for a brand that micro-managed her content and how painful the experience was. She further explained that with the number of platforms and creators there today, it is important for creators to be true to themselves. 

“I think the first step is being yourself and not becoming something else for the sake of social media.   You have to personally relate to what you are showcasing on your profile. Increasing the reach and being consistent is also very important,” she said. 

Vineet Kanabar, Host of the showbiz podcast, Story Tellers & Story Sellers, stated that the entire ecosystem is continuously evolving and spoke about the need for qualified representation that creators need. He added that creators are also important when it comes to building media and entertainment brands. “I think creators have made us realise how diverse talent can be, I spent my early years at TVF with a lot of young creators. To see a 17-18 year old guy you met some months ago have a massive following just because he did a few videos is incredible power. I think this is why all the platforms have a high, low and mid-level creator engagement program. The next 100-150 years of entertainment will be built on the back of creators,” he stated. 

Deepak Salvi, Co-founder and COO of Chingari, spoke about how the platform plans to further empower the creators. “We have introduced Gari which is a token wherein every creator who creates a good video can be monetised. Secondly, for the brands, we were the first ones in India to start social media commerce. Every video that the creator upload is a shoppable video, that’s a technology that we introduced in India first and we are experimenting more upon it.” 

“Other social media are just taking their videos and monetising them, we feel that the creator owns the content, not any other third-party MNC.” 

Adding to Salvi’s thought Priyali said that the focus on the creator’s economy has to go beyond engagement and reach. “That will not happen unless the creators are not compensated fairly, that is a big step in creating an environment where creating becomes a bonafide profession.” 

BuzzInContent's 2022 Content Conversations