How is influencer marketing shaping brands across categories?

During a panel discussion - ‘How Influential is Influencer Marketing?' - by iCubesWire, representatives from diverse industries viewed influencer marketing as a dynamic and ever-changing field that has already made an impact and holds potential for future expansion

Sakshi Sharma
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During discussions about the significance of influencer marketing in the present day, representatives from diverse industries including beauty, cosmetics, finance, real estate and food, highlighted the integral role influencers play in their businesses. They stressed that instead of limiting influencers' creativity, they provide them with products to explore and incorporate into their content creation process.

During a panel discussion - ‘How Influential is Influencer Marketing?’ - by iCubesWire, these industry players viewed influencer marketing as a dynamic and ever-changing field that has already made an impact and holds potential for future expansion.

According to the moderator, Hari Krishnan, Head - Content and Innovation, Publicis Groupe India, the entire space of influencer marketing is evolving at every stage of the marketing funnel today.

While explaining Wow Skin Sciene’s experience with influencer marketing, Vanda Ferrao, CMO, Wow Skin Science, highlighted that they are one of the fastest growing D2C beauty and personal care brands.

"Influencers are a really big part of my marketing budget which also includes TV and digital. When we started five years back, influencers were the ones who actually made the brand. For us, influencers worked through the funnel and as we started at a smaller scale, we saw increasing ROI. Today, on an average every month around 2,000-2,500 influencers post content for us," Ferrao said.

She also emphasised that Wow Skin Science has enhanced and created robust marketing automation reports that allow them to assess influencer effectiveness. This is a crucial component for the company.

Krishnan noted the common practice of using prominent celebrities for beauty product promotion. In response, Ferrao expressed her inclusive approach, stating that she values both major influencers and lesser-known creators. For her, even a smaller creator from a place like Hoshiarpur holds influence, alongside actress Rashmika Mandana, the brand ambassador for Wow Skin Science.

Sumit Chakraborty, AVP Marketing, Ambience Group shared his experience and viewpoint on influencers building a brand, especially in the real estate category. The real estate sector recognised the significant potential of influencer campaigns relatively late in the game, he added.

"What we discovered through the influencer campaign was that it enabled us to impact not just the broker community, who are the actual influencers, but also establish a direct connection between the real buyers and these key influencers. This connection with the intended influencers was our primary objective," Chakraborty said.

"The influencers within the broker community, whom we aimed to sway, began creating numerous videos independently. After visiting the site and generating a substantial amount of video content, they transformed into micro-influencers. This transition significantly boosted lead generation across all relevant aspects, benefiting the business," he added.

Meanwhile, Vignesh Jayaprakash, Manager, Fyers, highlighted that the BFSI sector operates within strict regulations, requiring accountability to numerous regulatory bodies. When releasing content, meticulous attention to compliance is essential. Simultaneously, Fyers also aims to avoid conflicting with regulatory authorities. Navigating this challenge has been a continuous effort, with a focus on maintaining compliance and harmony.

“Currently, several finance influencers have said certain things that have had a negative impact on the markets. As a result, numerous other influencers, primarily focused on educating the middle class about finance, are also facing consequences,” Jayaprakash said.

“The regulatory bodies are trying to curb financial influencers entirely but at the same time, you can’t put a ban on freedom of speech. If you are trying to educate someone, you should be allowed to do so. Looking ahead, it appears that there will be established regulations to ensure that only a select few are authorised to discuss such matters and not everyone can start promoting content,” he added.

Deepak Tawatia, DGM Marketing, LT Foods, discussed the effective utilisation of an influencer's unique style among the audience in alignment with the brand's messaging.

“Understanding your primary marketing challenge is crucial. Is it centred around raising awareness, fostering consideration, or strengthening brand advocacy? Our brand’s intention is not for influencers to act as endorsers. Rather, we prompt them to share their genuine culinary and creative journeys. We refrain from asking them to proclaim Dawat as the leading fast-food choice. Our emphasis lies on their sincere cooking experiences,” Tawatia said.

“Following the COVID pandemic, our all-consumption score, net promoter score and brand advocacy saw a significant uptick. Brand Dawat garnered attention and conversations among many. Over the past three to four years, we have embarked on a journey. We executed diverse influencer campaigns spanning categories like A and B, ranging from micro to nano influencers, home chefs, food bloggers and culinary experts. Influencers play a pivotal role by lending credibility and authenticity due to their strong rapport with their audiences. This dynamic also offers marketers the power to strategically leverage influencers as per their requirements,” he added.

Meanwhile, Runa Ahlawat, Head of Communications, MG Motor, pointed out that while MG Motor celebrates its 100th global anniversary, its presence in India is relatively young, spanning less than five years.

“Despite our recent establishment, we actively collaborate with influencers tailored to the product launch. Notably, our partnership with renowned gaming influencer Mortal for the gaming edition of the limited Comet series garnered significant and positive attention,” Ahlawat said.

“As a brand, our approach is not to influence the influencers. Rather, we provide them with our products, allowing them to experience these and subsequently, they are free to express their genuine thoughts, even if they have criticisms,” she added.

Vaibhav Gupta, CEO, Chefkart, said that Chefkart offers in-home cooking services and the brand has been engaged in influencer marketing for the past three years. In a relatively novel field for them, they are pioneering a category where they create a previously non-existent solution: the ability to hire a chef through a mobile app while also effectively managing the kitchen.

"Our inaugural influencer reel garnered 10 million views, providing significant validation. This success also led to additional prospects, with individuals from various cities expressing interest in franchising opportunities. This validation confirmed the substantial reach of our funnel," he added.

Krishnan concluded by saying that influencer marketing is a dynamic and continuously evolving sector that has established its presence and is poised for further growth. Agencies currently allocate a relatively small portion of their resources to it but specific campaigns can generate substantial enhancements. With the emergence of new commerce models like D2C and the ability to purchase products through e-commerce platforms, as well as the development of engaging properties, the amplifying force of influence will be crucial for widespread reach.

MG Motor influencers influencer marketing brands micro-influencers Social commerce Wow Skin Science D2C macro influencers panel discussion LT Foods Ambience Group Fyers