We want to evangelize the influencer ecosystem in India: Rohit Sharma

Sharma, COO of AnyMind Group and Co-Founder of POKKT, talks about the launch of influencer management platform CastingAsia in India

e4m by Dipali Banka
Updated: Sep 11, 2020 9:01 AM
rohit sharma

POKKT, Indian subsidiary of AnyMind Group, announced the launch of CastingAsia, a full-stack influencer management platform, in India a few days ago. We speak with Rohit Sharma, COO of AnyMind Group and Co-Founder of POKKT, on differentiating and establishing CastingAsia in India and way forward for the company.

Edited Excerpts

You have just announced the launch of influencer marketing platform CastingAsia in India. What is going to be the USP of CastingAsia and how is it going to play out in India?

POKKT got acquired by AnyMind Group in March this year. One of the key reasons for acquisition was that they have a very strong product in CastingAsia and India is a very critical market for them. CastingAsia is a robust, measurable and transparent influencer marketing platform that has been running across 30 markets for four years.
The Indian influencer marketing segment is highly fragmented and unorganized. There are around 20-40 small players offering influencer marketing with no big differentiation or focus on a vertical, and most of it is being managed manually. CastingAsia has built very strong tools on automation, reporting, campaign management and data-led platforms and has worked very well for them, especially on Instagram, and that is why we are launching it in India.

So what is going to be the USP of CastingAsia in India? Is it going to be measurability and transparency?

We have two key differentiation points. First one is core product and technology. CastingAsia has a huge team and has been building the platform for four years now. They have been successfully delivering campaigns in evolved markets like Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines. The second thing how we want to change the rule of the game is that most companies are very small outfits. But this is a large global group launching one of its key marquee products in India. They are going to back it with huge amount of investments and resources behind it.

What are the kind of tie-ups and partnerships you are initiating in India in terms of getting influencers and content on board?

We already have onboard a very strong influencer development team. The platform is so robust that it can identify thousands of key influencers in India right now. Even POKKT has great relationships with advertisers and marketers here. Hence, on the back of the transparency model and the robustness of the platform, we will be able to monetize the product. We already have a team in place and will continue to scale up our influencer team. We want to evangelize the influencer ecosystem in India, especially on Instagram, and really scale it up in a big way because it will also provide a good opportunity for influencers to monetize.

What are the synergies between the POKKT team and AnyMind Group and CastingAsia in terms of content generation or revenue streams?

One of the key reasons why AnyMind Group acquired POKKT was that ours is a company built on very strong relationships with advertisers and marketers not only in India but about 10 other countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Middle East, Japan. That's one of our core strengths because we are a preferred partner for most media agencies.

Hence, as part of the synergies between two groups, POKKT team is responsible for taking CastingAsia as a product to most of the large global agencies where we have strong inroads into.

For India market specifically, the synergies are much stronger. In India, there is a need of the hour to have a very good product and a platform in the influencer marketing piece. POKKT is a very strong brand in India, has great relationships with the advertising ecosystem. Therefore, CastingAsia as a product can easily be launched in India and scaled up. CastingAsia brings the product, technology, knowhow and campaign information and POKKT brings the able local knowhow, sales team, agency relationships and the capability to quickly hire a team and scale up the business.

AnyMind Group also has other products. How are you going about getting those products and services in India?

AnyMind Group has some MarTech products, and we have certain AdTech products. But I think we are very clear that in the Indian market we will focus completely on CastingAsia for the next couple of quarters. They have a very strong Direct to Consumer Marketing (D2C) offering in the influencer marketing space and are doing extremely well in certain markets. We will extend the normal influencer marketing business to D2C platform in India where influencers can do their own commerce using that platform. I think it's a huge proposition. Influencers can build their own private labels and market it within its own community and followers.

What would be the size of the influencer marketing business in India and at what rate is it growing?

In think, realistically, the number hovers around Rs 1000-1200 crore. At a conservative level, some say it is around it is Rs 700 crore. It is growing almost upwards of 30% CAGR, same as the digital business is growing. In fact, I feel the adoption of brands towards influencer marketing will be much bigger as compared to traditional media because it is a much targeted way of talking to your audiences.

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