Namah Chawla
Marketing

The 'Indian Matchmaking' saga: What makes brands and influencers swipe right on each other?

While influencer marketing is an attractive medium for brands to create buzz, matching with the right influencers is a challenge.

The influencer marketing industry has undergone quite a transformation as a result of an increasing number of brands wanting to connect directly with their consumers. While the previous year saw many brands keep a significant part of their budgets aside for influencer marketing, the challenge, however, was getting hold of the right kind of influencers.

Influencer marketing campaigns tend to underperform when the originality and creativity (of the influencers) are restricted by too many brand guidelines. According to experts, a brand should select influencer/s whose content type is the closest, if not the best, match to the campaign requirement.

Every campaign is different, with different messaging and expected ROI. Therefore, expecting the same influencers to work for any and every brand campaign may not be correct. Neha Puri, CEO & founder, Vavo Digital, an influencer marketing agency, says that having a deep understanding of factors like audience interest, income bracket, gender bifurcation and location, helps brands to reach their target audiences.

“In our ongoing campaigns, seven out of 10 brands match with their perfect influencer/s based on their content type and metrics.”

<div class="paragraphs"><p><strong>Neha Puri, Vavo Digital&nbsp;</strong></p></div>

Neha Puri, Vavo Digital 

Earlier, there weren’t any advanced tools and/or data available to help the brands take a call on who their perfect influencer match is. However, that is no longer the case.

Viraj Sheth, co-founder & CEO, Monk Entertainment, says that today, no consumer brand can escape influencer marketing as an advertising medium. “The year (2022) will continue to see significant spends on influencer marketing.”

<div class="paragraphs"><p><strong>Viraj Sheth, Monk Entertainment</strong></p></div>

Viraj Sheth, Monk Entertainment

With everything shifting online now, brands have put their trust on content creators to be innovative to grab the target audience’s attention. Even start-ups and smaller brands have started to take the influencer marketing route to garner more engagement. Influencers are considered to be more approachable and also provide instant gratification than most other traditional methods.

How can brands convey their message without interfering with an influencer’s content creation process?

With an increasing number of influencer-brand collaborations, brands have also become cognizant of the fact that they are partnering with the creators for their reach and the content they create. The brands are well aware that the influencers aren’t just their mouthpiece.

Most influencers believe in partnering with brands for the products and services that they can actually use in their lives. This is how they can create credible content for the brands they are partnering with.

Talking about how she goes about selecting a brand she wants to work with, Masoom Minawala, a digital content creator, entrepreneur and investor, says, “I like to think of myself as my audience and analyse my collaborations before making the decision.”

For digital content creator BeYouNick, aka Nick, the relatability factor is one of the first things that he looks for in a brand’s pitch - whether the brand resonates with his work and audience.

<div class="paragraphs"><p><strong>BeYouNick</strong></p></div>

BeYouNick

“I only work with those brands whose products I have personally used and know to be trustworthy. I prefer to work with brands where I can meet them halfway, in terms of creativity. I also make it a point to only work with brands that enable me to be creative, instead of just following a script.”

Brands have set USPs that they would like the influencers to talk about. However, the influencers today are very clear about their audience being their main priority. Also, their engagement will be achieved only if they continue to do what their followers expect them to do.

Sheth of Monk Entertainment points out that brands have now realised that it is best to leave the creative part to the influencer, as they know their audiences best.

“The best way for a brand to engage with a creator is to give the creator two or three USPs of the product/service that need to be mentioned in the video and then totally leave the rest up to the creator. This way, the brand's mandates are covered within the video and the creator gets breathing space, in terms of creative liberty.”

Minawala shares that creating an impact has always been her goal. She makes a conscious effort to select only those labels, products or services that go well with her content.

“There have been times when big brands have approached me with very interesting campaigns and I had to turn them down simply because it didn’t feel like the right fit to me. So, before locking down a brand, it is often very important to ask the tough questions: What will I gain from this? What will my audience gain from this?”

Nick tells us that when brands approach influencers these days, they ask them to do what they are best at. He has always enjoyed working with brands that let him be creative and promote them (the brand) in a relatable and funny manner.

“Original content should always overpower branded promotions if we want to maintain credibility. My priority is to always make content that my audience will enjoy, content that will make them laugh and, most importantly, is relatable.”

While all the metrics of an influencer marketing campaign may not be traceable, a common method used by brands these days is to provide the influencers with a unique coupon code. This code helps them track the number of potential customers who have actually converted because of a particular influencer.

Puri of Vavo Digital says that such media value can’t be seen with other marketing tactics. “The most important thing, though, is to approach influencer marketing strategically. Generating this kind of earned media equivalence only happens if the brand works with the right influencers in the right niche,” she signs off.

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