Namah Chawla
Media

“There should be a mindful balance between organic and branded content that YouTubers do”: Rohit Raj

While YouTuber Bhuvan Bam is the creative mind of his channel BB Ki Vines, Rohit Raj takes care of all things business.

From being a Delhi-based event organiser to spearheading the business for one of India’s leading YouTube channels BB Ki Vines, Rohit Raj has come a long way.

Raj used to organise college festivals and weddings in Delhi-NCR. He first worked with YouTuber Bhuvan Bam six years back. Raj’s team was looking for a new musician, who’d also attract audiences. Raj and Bam then started travelling together for college events and speaker sessions.

Later on, Raj started representing Bam. Talking to afaqs! about the duo’s initial journey, Raj says, “Initially, we were not getting too much business. But then, in December 2016, we closed a television commercial deal. The ad was featured during the broadcast of India-England T20 cricket series.”

“Bhuvan wanted somebody who could do something other than content, and I wanted someone who could focus on the creative bit. That is how our relationship began, with brand and event appearances. Eventually, we did music videos, a short film and, now, a web show Dhindora.”

Bam’s first long-format creation Dhindora debuted on YouTube this year. It features 10 characters from the BB Ki Vines universe, all portrayed by Bam himself. The show revolves around a middle class family and an unexpected lottery purchase that leads to an interesting series of events. The show was well-received by fans.

Also Read: “Wanted to create a web series as good as any OTT show”: Bhuvan Bam on debut show Dhindora

The marketing mix for Dhindora, is quite interesting. Bam’s content is mostly targeted towards the youth. However, as per Raj, about 60 per cent of the marketing mix focused on the traditional media.

“Forty per cent spends were directed towards digital so that people could straight away go to the channel, subscribe and engage with our show. The rest included OOH, print, television GECs and music videos. Though digital media helps to reach out to wider audiences, we thought we could reach out to so many people, who still aren’t our subscribers, through traditional media.”

"Though digital media helps to reach out to wider audiences, we thought we could reach out to so many people, who still aren’t our subscribers, through traditional media."

The outdoor ads could be seen on buses and bus stops in Mumbai, metro hoardings in Delhi, and Hyderabad and Bengaluru airports. Raj informs that they wanted to capture the attention of audiences, while they were travelling and waiting to reach their destination. That is the time most of them are likely to go to YouTube and watch the show.

“There should be a mindful balance between organic and branded content that YouTubers do”: Rohit Raj
“There should be a mindful balance between organic and branded content that YouTubers do”: Rohit Raj

“We also did a cool activity with (food delivery app) Swiggy, where once you’ve placed an order, you can engage with our content. Or, you can watch an episode while having your meal. We did print (ads) because we have 500 million active users on YouTube, out of which, 25 million engage with us. I’m sure we can compel them to scan the QR code and watch our show.”

The marketing strategy also included appearing on big-ticket reality shows, like Bigg Boss, and getting the creatives of the show featured at New York’s iconic Times Square. The Times Square feature was done so that people could relate to a YouTube creator and also pursue the platform as a profession.

In recent years, social media influencers have become an essential part of a brand’s marketing strategy. Influencers provide the perfect platform to build brand awareness because they already have a built-in audience. But as important as it is for brands, it is also critical for influencers to choose the right brands to associate themselves with.

Raj says, “We have always kept a few key pointers in our mind for brand collaborations. These are that the product should be relatable and the price point should be accessible for the masses. We try and stick to a particular brand in a category for about a year, and choose the ones that are collaborative. For example, the TVC we created with Myntra featured Bhuvan as ‘Titu Mama’ (one of Bam’s characters). This is true even for the TVC we did with Ola Electric.”

According to Raj, over the last few years, brands have also become cognizant of the fact that they are partnering with creators for their reach and the content they create. “While creators try to follow brand safety and hygiene, we always co-create whenever we work with brands.”

With so many collaborations around, there is always a concern about credibility and whether the influencer is just acting as the brand’s mouthpiece. “It depends on how creators engages with their audiences. To remain credible, one should be less exposed. But that also depends on the content route a creator has taken. And, this may not work for everybody,” adds Raj.

He points out that creators don’t start creating content from the lens that later on, they will have to do brand deals. It is not advisable for influencers to take brand deals right at the start of their careers because having a credible audience base, before monetising it, is necessary.

“If a video is being viewed by many people, it doesn’t imply that the creator’s job is done. These numbers have to be retained and sustained in the long run. If you’re doing 30 content pieces in a month, then 15 of those can’t be branded content. If you don’t do this mindfully, then the audiences will stop taking your organic content seriously,” Raj signs off.

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