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Kunal Kishore Sinha, COO, ClanConnect.ai

ClanConnect.ai, an artificial intelligence-driven platform that connects brands with social media influencers, plans to empower at least half-a-million influencers by March 2022 with a target of a minimum of Rs 500 crore influencer campaigns. They also propose to expand their operations to South-East Asia and the Middle East by March 2023.

“We are going to be a global market. I think our solutions are universal and can solve problems globally so we are looking at expanding. There is a huge pool we are creating for influencers, which is going to change the entire game for them,” said Kunal Kishore Sinha, COO, ClanConnect.ai, in an exclusive interview with BestMediaInfo.com.

Also the Co-Founder of Value360, a PR agency, Sinha expects that ClanConnect.ai will earn the kind of revenue that Value360 earned in 13 years, in just 12 months. However, he also says they do not have any financial compulsions at present.

“We are not in the game of revenue right now. So the rates we are offering to the brands are much less than anybody else in the market. And we do not charge the influencers. Currently, we only want to make an ecosystem to simplify this complex world and make it more result-oriented,” he said.

In the future, they intend to become tech-enablers for brands and influencers, where the brand and the influencer will be directly coordinating and connecting with each other. To that effect, it will become a b2b marketplace. They also plan to get on board all the talent agencies and managers of the influencers, so that they can get brand briefs directly from the brands or client managing services.

“If you look at the influencers today, less than 1% has a talent agency or a manager to manage their business. Some of them are young kids who suddenly became big by creating content and they do not know how to manage their business. So in times to come, we are going to provide the tools to become more professional,” said Sinha.

ClanConnect helps brands execute their influencer marketing more effectively by bringing discovery, management, and performance analytics under one roof. It allows them to execute everything on one platform— from the right selection of the influencer to engaging with them and giving them their brief to checking the campaign’s performance once it goes live. To eliminate the guesswork in the selection of the influencer and to make the process more scientific, the platform provides an AI tool that can analyse influencers’ social media posts more quickly than a human and give up to 30 data points, including audience quality, gender and age divide, ethnicity, geographical reach and post engagement. It can also identify fake or bot followers by mapping the digital behaviour of a real person against the behaviour of bots and help weed out fake followers.

“For discovery, we have created a search tool for the brands where they can search for influencers based on the campaign’s objective. Once the influencer creates the post, the brands need to approve it. Currently, it happens offline. However, by March-end, we will be launching a module by which brands can approve posts on the platform. About the performance measurement— we can measure real-time data of multiple influencers and compare their engagement, reach or visibility,” he said.

Though they launched during the pandemic, unlike other businesses that found it difficult to survive, ClanConnect.ai has managed to thrive through the period. According to Sinha, in less than 30 days they had signed influencer campaigns worth Rs 3 crore. In September, ClanConnect.ai also raised Rs 5 crore from investors.

“It was the best time to launch the platform. I feel the pandemic reduced the launch time by at least six months. We might have launched a little later but with this, we were able to raise our first round of investments very quickly— in less than 12 days. We got confirmation from every investor that we reached out and even got over-subscribed,” he said.

The only challenge the pandemic brought was in working from home. “I strongly believe that businesses are not built on monetisation, they are built on culture. One of the biggest challenges start-ups launched during the pandemic faced is in imbibing that culture for freshly-hired recruits who are working virtually with no physical interaction yet,” he said.

Speaking from his experience of heading a PR agency for 14 years, Sinha shared about PR agencies entering the influencer marketing space. “Influencer marketing is always part of PR and communication. PR agencies have always been building compelling storylines or pitches to get journalists interested. They are already oriented towards it and so it becomes easy for them to build compelling storylines with influencers. Influencer marketing can be part of either a digital or PR agency.”

Today, the influencer marketing space is largely unorganised and Sinha believes ClanConnect can help organise it and help it grow.

“Whenever any platform has entered an unorganised sector, it has only grown the market. Our platform can help brands discover someone from Patna who's created great traction for himself. Currently, how can he get discovered? So it is going to help many digital entrepreneurs to build the right kind of discovery for themselves. We want to be a platform where anyone can run a campaign— a florist in Chandigarh with a budget of Rs 5,000 and even a big consumer brand with a budget of Rs 5-10 crore,” said Sinha.

During the lockdown, many brands had taken to influencer marketing on social media with most forms of traditional media becoming unavailable. Sinha is optimistic that the growth is not limited to that period alone and it will continue to grow.

“According to pre-pandemic reports, influencer marketing is currently valued at Rs 9.5 bn and it is projected to grow to a Rs 225-bn market by 2025, which is almost 250% growth in less than four years. It is at the same juncture where the digital world was at one point of time, where 10% of the entire marketing budget was spent on it and now it has gone up to at least 60%. In the same report, the marketing heads have said that they are going to invest 10% of their entire marketing budget on influencer marketing,” he said.

Content@BuzzInContent.com