Post Thumb

The fourth edition of GroupM’s content event Brew in Delhi on January 22 saw a gathering of several marketers, content practitioners and GroupM agencies.

In one of the sessions on ‘Advocacy - Zero moment of truth’ at the content event, Karthik Nagarajan, the Chief Content Officer at Wavemaker, got into a conversation with Atique Kazi, APAC lead, INCA, GroupM’s brand-safe influencer marketing solutions wing and Dhruv Chitgopekar, Founding Partner and Co-CEO, Kwan Entertainment, to discuss topics around measurement and intuition versus data in influencer marketing.

Karthik Nagarajan

Nagarajan began the session by asking about the journey of influencer marketing in India, stating Bhuvan Bam’s example. Bam started as a YouTube content creator with his channel ‘BB ki Vines’ and has become one of the biggest influencers in the country and endorses a lot of brands now.

Dhruv Chitgopekar

Chitgopekar answered, “We have been in a business of representing conventional Bollywood, sports personalities and big-ticket talent as they call it. With digital, there has been democratisation in access to various content forms. Along with that, there has also been democratisation in talent that has the power to influence the consumers’ decision. We saw the shift happening in home-grown digital talent. We started seeing brands being built through this talent outside the conventional norm. Bhuvan is a great example, and many such influencers who are inspired by him.”

He shared instances of four years ago when he used to go to events with Bam. He said, “I am a big believer in the touch and feel of what influencers bring. I have gone along with him for quite a lot of events. I was shocked to see the kind of appeal he had among a particular age group. He could be a huge rival to anybody in Bollywood then. I started seeing the audience interest in what he was developing as content and the consumption of his content happening back then.”

Shattering the notion around Bam’s content creation style, Chitgopekar said, “A lot of people in the past have said Bhuvam’s content has been frivolous and snacky content. But the matter of the fact is that he has also put out a lot of content that is cause-related. Recently, he put out content around ‘WhatsApp forwards’. These kinds of intuitive conversations should be brought forward by the brands.”

This particular content was created to promote Beardo’s Dark Side perfume range.

What the Bunk:

Adding to the potential of Bam’s influencing power, Kazi gave an example. He said Bam is also the brand ambassador of watch brand Tissot. The brand took him as their ambassador because “The brand wanted to influence the decisions of the audience three years in advance. When the brand’s audience has potential disposable income to spend, they would see the brand as younger, interesting and relevant for them.”

Nagarajan asked Kazi how brands decided that a particular influencer is a perfect person for their target audience.

Atique Kazi

Kazi answered. “INCA harnesses the influencers’ social handles and look at the kind of follower base, average views and likes. Then we look at the influencers’ previous brand associations and causes they promote. Relating all these aspects, one can merge the brand requirements.”

He said the pricing of an influencer’s association depends on his/her reach of posts and engagement and then only one can decide the pricing of their association with the brand.

Kazi added, “It should be the brands deciding the price of the influencer and not the other way round where influencers tell their price. This works well with the celebrities but with influencers, we need to discover the price suitable for their kind of followers, share and power.”

Nagarajan asked if discoverability of influencers should become more rationale and data-driven?

Kazi answered, “Today, with the help of technology, one can navigate through an enormous amount of data. If I have five shortlisted influencers, I can go around and see which brands they have worked with in the past. We can check for past conflicts and their follower base. Like this, we realise which influencers are the most suitable ones and can have authentic conversations around the brands.”

Commenting on how influencer marketing will shape in the future, Kazi said it is still a Wild Wild West kind of situation. “Influencer marketing still relies on 80% intuition and 20% data. “There is going to be a flip, but how fast it happens depends on how well we work on this front. Data and measurement are critical in this space. These platforms will allow brands to make the most scientific decisions. Marketing and communication do have a sense of art to it. There would be more regulatory mechanisms coming into existence to curb fraud.”

Chitgopekar concluded, “I have always believed that content should be the centre of everything we do. Talking about data doesn’t mean trashing the content conversation. We essentially need to look at how the audience is looking at content. One doesn’t need to stick to 30-second creatives. Today, one can create different types of content for different types of audiences. It could be unboxing videos or even feature-related. As marketers, we have always thought the best mix in today’s ecosystem is data-creativity and technology at the centre of it.”

Content@BuzzInContent.com