Take a second and think about the last time you bought something — be it a pair of shoes off a website, or a jar of pickle from your local grocery store. Why did you buy it? Yes of course, because you needed it or wanted it, but why did you buy that product in that colour or flavour from that brand? Because you were influenced. Perhaps, by the smell of your grandma’s house when she made that pickle, or maybe because your friend shared her personal experience running in those shoes, with you? While these are a few of the probable ways that swung your vote, there’s a stronger, more traditional influence that has been nudging us, subtly - celebrité. From product placements to endorsements, you subconsciously inform yourself with more than the movie you were watching or the song you were listening to. In fact, if we dug into it, I’m certain there’s a study that shows how much the sales of Lamborghinis went up when Nelly started jamming about them.
(Image Courtesy: Unsplash- https://unsplash.com/photos/1IN9WyQp56A)
In 2020, this celebrity influence is covered with a fresh coat of relatability. They’re more accessible, more vulnerable, more human. They’re not on screens as characters anymore. They think like you (and document it), they look like you (and normalise it), they have the same everyday problems as you (and get PR kits full of products to solve them). If you’re lucky, they’ll share those solutions with you in a well-packaged, interesting piece of content that you’d enjoy watching. They are, what we call, content creators.
Now, let’s talk about why this should matter to you —
The world’s most used search engine (spoiler: it’s not Google), Youtube, has attributed its growth in India solely to content creators. From being able to increase the daily cost of advertising on their mastheads to INR 1.4 Cr, to hosting a fan-fest with the world’s most-watched influencers - what made this possible for them was the viewership driven to the site by content creators. From only 16 content creators in 2016 to have crossed the 1 million follower mark, India is now at 1,200 creators with over a million subscribers, which brings us to an unbelievable fact considering the resource allocation in our country — 1 out of 3 Indians regularly consumes online video content.
Those are the number of chances you have to sell your product; those are the sets of eyeballs ready to consume content that was created only to put your brand out there; those are the number of people waiting to be influenced.
Typically so far, collaborations between brands and content creators have been superficial, scraping just the top most layer of the features of the product or service. Recently however, content being created has been dipping its toes a little deeper, propagating what the brand’s values are, showcasing those qualities of the brand that would resonate at a more meaningful level with the audience. While celebrity endorsements drive a higher brand recall, digital content creators get the upper hand with this deeper involvement, or a thematic integration - it’s proven to be 4 times more effective in driving home the brand’s message and in turn increasing familiarity. You might think these statistics come from a subject pool of beauty gurus and makeup hoarders but the fact is, this extends over nine industries including auto and toys - which cater to completely different audiences.
Weave all of the above in with content creators that people like, and you’ve got the power packed combination of a credible source (instead of a noticeably paid celebrity), a yielding community (instead of a blind following), and the most validating parts of your brand (instead of just the USPs of your product) - all under 10 minutes of a watch away.