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Suchana Sarkar

Influencers possess the power to sway their followers' opinions about brands, trends, and causes. They even catalysed the 'de-influencing' movement, shedding light on the downsides of the influencer culture fueled by insincere and deceptive endorsements.

However, from a brand's perspective, influencers offer a cost-effective method to amplify brand messages. This involves a mix of nano, micro, macro, and mega influencers, chosen based on financial constraints. Naturally, collaborating with a mega influencer could cost as much as numerous nano and micro-influencers combined, owing not just to their extensive follower count, but also their perceived expertise, which lends credibility to their recommendations.

Nonetheless, the trend among most brands is to prioritise quantity over the actual value when selecting influencers.

In the world of influencers, a unique archetype has emerged, known as the "Joker card." This enigmatic figure is distinct from the well-known mega influencers, raising questions about their role and impact.

Unlike the conventional influencers who dominate the spotlight, silent influencers adopt a different approach, often referred to as the "SME cultivator." Standing for Subject Matter Expert, they assemble a diverse group of professionals to share insights and experiences, led by an interviewer who remains notably silent. Not to be confused with typical interview shows, this category spans from entertainment-infused programs like Viall Files to profound discussions like Archetypes with Meghan. The term "silent" here signifies the host's or silent influencer's restrained commentary, letting the guests' perspectives shine.

Unlike mega influencers who prioritise entertainment, the focus of this content genre is on fostering personal growth and learning. A prime illustration is Steven Bartlett's Diary of a CEO podcast, a remarkable instance of this trend. Launched with the mission to "un-filter success" and equip listeners with the knowledge for shaping their desired lives, Bartlett's podcast has thrived for over six years and 300 episodes. His guest roster reads like a who's who from diverse fields such as science, psychology, nutrition, acting, and music.

Each interview serves as a wellspring of topics, inviting the audience to engage and educate themselves, fostering intentional living. Remarkably, Bartlett's podcast strategy stands out not just in content but also in sponsorship. With only three annual sponsors, Bartlett's selections mirror the thoughtfulness of his discussions. A CNBC article from 2021 highlights this facet, underscoring how Bartlett handpicks sponsors who align with his values and have enriched his own life. This selectivity presents a compelling aspect of this phenomenon. The alliance with these new-age brands not only benefits from Bartlett's massive following but also garners credibility through association with his established online presence.

In an age of influencers seeking attention, silent influencers carve a distinct path. Through their deliberate curation of conversations, they offer a unique value proposition centred around enlightenment rather than entertainment. As exemplified by Steven Bartlett, their impact resonates not just through their content, but also through the alliances they forge, showcasing a powerful evolution in the influencer landscape.

In the realm of influencer marketing, this particular group of influencers advocates for brands to prioritise quality and reputation over quantity and compulsion. Their influence stems from their positive and robust personal brand image, which can significantly impact a brand's overall value. Collaborating with these influencers can be especially advantageous for modern brands that challenge traditional norms and aim to drive shifts in consumer behaviour.

We took the initiative to cultivate meaningful interactions uniquely through an endeavour called Master of Denim on a Lee Cooper platform. The feedback received revealed that Indian consumers, spanning various income brackets, are open to consuming longer content formats as long as the content holds significance for them.

Over an extended duration, understated influencers are likely to play a crucial role in any context that involves engaging in discussions with the audience to substantiate perspectives or alter long-standing perceptions. Sectors such as innovative financial services, healthcare, and wellness, among others, demand a deeper level of comprehension. However, the challenge remains in devising methods to gauge return on investment beyond mere outreach. This aspect requires further exploration down the road.