- With the explosion of talent across social media and OTT, the marketing landscape of 2021 looks very different.
Julie Kriegshaber, COO Chtrboxshares how a brand can choose between celebrities, influencers, and OTT Starsas endorsers.
The context: For years, it’s been pretty straightforward for brands. India’s attention was ruled by her celebrities and all you had to do was look within movies (Bollywood) and sports (cricket) to find your endorsers. With digital making waves over the past many years, the Jio effect and subsequently mobile phones becoming the primary screen, COVID lockdowns, and the explosion of talent building their audiences across social media and OTT, the marketing landscape of 2021 looks very different. While traditional celebrities still rule the roost when it comes to non-digital formats, deciding on endorsers isn’t as straightforward anymore. Let’s take a deeper look.
Social Media Influencers: Cutting across age brackets now, they’re the new age media for digitally savvy users. Content creators and experts, they have built their fan following across Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and off-late homegrown regional platforms like Josh (Dailyhunt), Moj (ShareChat), and more.
Why Influencers are a great choice:
1. Category Experts: Most quality influencers, be it mega, macro and micro, have built their audiences based on genuine expertise and quality of content in a category. This category relevance to your brand is really important to consider especially if your audience has an interest in categories like Beauty, Tech, Dance, Music, Fashion, Food, Fitness, Parenting, etc.
2. Engagement Engineers: Digital influencers know what works to drive conversations on digital, and are adaptable & versatile. The best creators also have a knack for data, and take the real time feedback they get to continuously iterate better content. It also helps in brand storytelling that they’re closest to your consumer profile.
3. Great ROI: Most influencers are economical considering their quality of content and results. Most are comfortable in shooting from home, editing themselves and don’t necessarily require large production shoots requiring large budgets.
Why to skip Influencers:
1. Your audience doesn’t follow influencers: Your brand’s primary TG is not digitally savvy, or still not on the internet.
2. You’re approaching it the wrong way: It’s not a priority for your brand, and you’re only looking at a standard list of influencers as an afterthought to amplify content. Much like most things in advertising, influencer marketing too is an art and science and requires intelligent influencer selection and creative content curation.
OTT Stars: Nothing ‘over the top’ about the hype and popularity some of these emerging stars are getting. They’re breaking through digital screens of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar + another 30 OTT platforms now in India and finding parallel fame on social media.
Why OTT Stars are a great choice:
1. Great actors and eager to work: Many of these actors are early in their careers, and could be the right fit for diverse and out of the box content formats. They handle the camera with ease, and can tell a story well.
2. Targeting a broad audience: Unlike many social media influencers who have specific audiences with certain interests – OTT provides a platform for more massy followership Pan-India (and sometimes globally with NRI audiences). We tend to see that OTT stars will have a concentration within a particular age range, but otherwise have more generalized audiences.
3. Instant Association with Affiliated Themes: They may have recently acted as a character, or in a series, which connects with your brand, meaning instant further association and affinity.
Why to skip OTT Stars:
1. Looking for a niche audience: The flip side to having a general audience is that it may not cater well to targeting specific geographies or interests.
2. Looking for expertise: Because they haven’t built their personal brand on a specific category, but rather were popular for their OTT content, branded content can seem out of place depending on the category.
3. They may lack digital engagement: They may be too new to the game, and not have built a knack for digital yet with poor engagement rates.
Celebrities: No introductions needed, they’ve made it to the top of the pyramid, and are recognized and loved beyond the big screen
Why Celebs are a great choice:
1. Multifaceted: They’ve worn multiple avatars, and can help take your brand to the mass market best.
2. Great digital reach: Most celebs have adopted well. With a single post by a megastar, you can reach double-digit millions.
3. Credibility: Indian consumers love to see a relevant believable face behind a product, and have massive affinities towards their favorite stars.
Why to skip the celeb route:
1. Budget-constrained: Celebs are great, but they do come with a cost, and category blocks.
2. Pressed for time: Celebs have busy schedules so ideally you should plan in advance, especially since it may require full set + production
3. Authenticity: Your consumer set is getting smarter than ever, and will question if brand endorsement from a celeb isn’t authentic.
The conclusion: India is seeing a new wave of stars that indeed have broken into the fame game based on a wonderful thing – their merit. Their fame has grown because they’ve discovered content topics & formats, stories & characters which their audiences love. We’re also seeing these above cohorts intermingle and engage with each other a whole lot more: Social Media Influencers who do well are being sought after for OTT, and along with OTT Stars are becoming the next Celebs, where as many Celebs are now figuring out and acing the social media and OTT game.
If the past year has taught us anything in marketing, it’s that personal, purposeful, people-powered storytelling is here to stay. Audiences are now all the more digitally connected, engaging on multiple screens and platforms often at the same time. With the right selection framework of advocates and ambassadors, expect to see your brand grow to new heights.
Original posted at www.businessinsider.in