Dr Gowthaman Illanbarathi and Rebecca Roy. (Photo By Arrangement)
Both top government bodies and established corporate companies are jumping on the digital marketing or influencer marketing juggernaut. There are top class influencers like Begum, OdysseyOfTwo and Style Muze, coveted for their language, organic reach and steady conversions for clients they work with. "We got into sharing our love and life with people. We grew organically and people started calling us influencers. That was never our plan. That’s the best way to do it. Only then will viewership convert to real numbers. We don’t do it for the money. But our life story has got such a strong viewership," says Dr Gowthaman Illanbarathi of OdysseyOfTwo. A surgeon by profession, he adds, "Influencing budgets are factored into corporate annual budgets and I’m happy to say that it’s a great parallel income that rivals any other profession."
Shamshad Begum of Begum’s Choice says "Analytics of social media cannot be manipulated. Organic influencers with no paid followers yield better results and all corporates access the data quite easily. My reach has a mixed demographic. We have high-end luxury brands approaching my office to endorse some of the most prized products. And startups wanting immediate brand recall also approach us."
With some influencers making Rs 1 lakh per story and more for a post, the influencing business is now part of commerce. Most influencers are now declaring this income too and paying high taxes. But then there are some brandishing the tag to coax, demand and dupe event organisers. Dr Sushmita Rajaguru of Vyaana Diamonds, shares, "A lot of the budding influencers who just take videos everywhere they go, sometimes reach out to us with all sorts of demands. They say we will give you a negative review if you don’t collaborate with us. There is one woman who even said if you don’t give me jewellery to wear for events, I’ll say your brand is unlucky." She adds, "While sensible entities now filter the influencers from the wannabes, a large number of people are still scared of the influencers’ word, as they tend to throw silly tantrums. And we don’t want hassles at our stores."
Shradha Lulla, of Shradha Lulla Gourmet Desserts, says, "My brand depends largely on influencers and word of mouth. But we select influencers whose language skills and digital output quality match our premium brand identity. There are some people who’ve come to pop-ups and asked us if they can do a review.
We’ve politely declined as we know our target audience very well. We don’t depend on mass viewership. And then there are some very nice influencers who’ve worked on and cultivated a very select but high disposable income viewership."