By Shubham Singhal
Television has been the favored medium of entertainment and communication for the Indian population for more than three decades now. It impacted the lives of Indian consumers and brands from its humble beginnings in the 1980s and sort of started the trend of creating celebrity influencers. The evolution of influencers has come a long way since then. With the exposure via television, the news channel hosts to A-list movie celebrities, were the credible faces of those times who are nostalgically still remembered as ‘The Classic’ influencers. Through the medium, the evolution progressed to the times of pop culture, VJs, runway and ad models who were influencers in their own right and created a following and fandom for themselves until 2010 when the disruptive digital shift took off.
While several SM platforms were already creating the right noise and changing the face of community building and networking globally long before 2010, the decade onwards from 2010 unleashed Social Media on a whole new level. Instagram, Snapchat, Tik Tok, YouTube and a multitude of other interactive digital platforms changed the game. Content became king, giving opportunity to each and every creator out there to become a brand, an influencer, a celebrity. Content could now make or break an influencer and brands could leverage and build themselves. The consumer-brand dynamics started witnessing a new era and the rise of digital areas backed with affordable smartphones and data, pitted social media as a worthy contender against the mammoth television medium.
The rise of digital marketing and influencer age obviously coincides with the age of startups, with many as Unicorns in the making in this significant decade and slowly transforming into one of the key backbones of the Indian economy. The start-ups and the emerging D2C space were more experimental and accepting towards this changing tide skewed towards the digital influencers. This cohesive shift to the digital age drove the momentum of digital influencers thriving on the diversification, the niche and the opportunities the widespread digital spectrum offered.
In the current general scenario of things, a brand’s digital spends constitute approximately 30% of total marketing budget. This digital marketing roadmap generally emphasises three primary verticals: social media advertising, search and display advertising and digital inventory advertising. Nevertheless, unlike non-interactive traditional media, digital media depends on interaction, engagement, and logical reactions, which have elevated advertising to a whole new level. The truth is that social media advertising combines the best of all three traits, which is most likely why it is seen as “ultra” by advertisers across the board. Most companies in India are already engaging in some way with the content economy via social media in order to guarantee that consumers obtain appropriate testimonials, opinions, and insights based on the real-world applications of their goods and services and digi-influencers are key drivers and largely integral to this mechanism. Unboxing videos, drive tests, comparisons, testimonials, and DIY content influencers are passing on the communication torch and how.
Our social media feeds are filled with high-quality branded material. Runway shows now include renowned fashion bloggers, and unconventional celebrities who blend in seamlessly with the fashion moguls of that industry. Be it ‘Finfluencers’, ‘Skinfluencers’, ‘Travel Bloggers’, ‘Reality TV Influencers’ and more, each has created their own brands, their own niche and are proving to be extremely pennywise for the majority of brands that collaborate with them. It is safe to say that influencer marketing has absolutely taken off. Influencers are being recognised as key marketing channels by businesses that are becoming brands in their own right. While there was previously a distinction between influencers and companies, prominent influencers now have magnanimous impressions that enabled them to build their own brand and transform them into content production houses that are thoroughly supported by their management partners.
A new revolution has begun, and companies are feeding it, in order to claim the top spot in the collective consciousness of these recent eras, and the public is loving it, even more, this time. There are currently 50 million creators worldwide. With entertainment being the next big thing, the demand for getting talented content producers into the market has been at a high in order to boost India’s developing creative economy. Influencers are counting on their abilities as well as quantitative numbers like followers, reach, and interaction to win the hearts of their brands and customers. They’re collaborating with the best content creators and influencers to adapt to the viewers and, as a consequence, building a vibrant creator economy.
The author is co-founder, The Girlfriend Box