With traditional branding campaigns no longer feasible, brands are turning to social media and online platforms for new answers
By Vipul Agrawal
The Covid-19 pandemic brought our daily lives to a grinding halt, and businesses are only now recovering from the disruption. With heavy losses to make good and social distancing norms in place, marketing teams are looking for cost-effective ways to promote products digitally. Celebrity power continues to hold value in a country where Bollywood and sports stars are idolised. With traditional branding campaigns no longer feasible, brands are turning to social media and online platforms for new answers.
In response to this growing need, several digital platforms are paving a new path ahead for celebrity collaborations. With stars from multiple verticals such as music, comedy and sports, these platforms connect brands with potential brand ambassadors in an authentic, personalised way. Brands pay a requisite fee, connect with the celebrity and explain their needs, and the celebrity gets back with a promotional video. The presence of both industry stalwarts and up-and-coming stars allows for both large and small brands to connect with the ambassadors they can afford to hire.
With digital campaigns like this, there is no need for elaborate sets or lengthy shooting schedules. Celebrities simply share videos of themselves talking about the product, which are then promoted across the brand’s social media pages. Through digital platforms, marketing campaigns are not only more affordable but also bring celebrities closer to their fans. There is also much greater scope for online engagement. International furniture brand Vox, for instance, collaborated with Gauri Khan through the UNLU app to promote their content. “Our brand endorsement post by Gauri Khan got more than 120,000 user engagement on Instagram. This has definitely helped us become a brand of choice amongst a lot of Indian interior and furniture businesses,” said their spokesperson.
Celebrity platforms like this are also ideal for individual customers. In these uncertain times, many people are isolated from their near and dear ones and experiencing stress and negative feelings. A personalised message from their favourite celebrity can cheer them up and help them feel special. It also makes for an excellent birthday or anniversary gift, where the recipient gets a unique message from a top-rated film actor or even a special song written for the occasion by a famous singer. Celebrities too are experiencing isolation, especially now that the entertainment industry has come to a standstill. Digital platforms allow them to connect with their fans and experience the adulation that they are accustomed to. Video status app Mbit capitalised on a celebrity engagement platform by collaborating with Harbhajan Singh for their digital promotion. “We booked a video from Harbhajan, this has significantly helped us improve our brand recall and retention. Now our users call it the ‘Harbhajan wali app’!” they shared.
As the world adjusts to the rapid transition to a digital-only way of life, celebrity interactions have also changed. Two-way platforms remove the distance between a star and his fans and allow for a more heartfelt experience. Through these personalised video interactions, both celebrities and followers are reminded that we are all braving this pandemic together and that we can all do with some positivity in our lives.
The author is co- founder of Unlu. All views expressed are personal.