e-Content Jam: Why influencers have become crucial for brands in lockdown

In the virtual conference, industry leaders share how they have reached out to their consumers in these trying times

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: May 30, 2020 1:51 PM

In the times of COVID-19, content marketing has been amplified more than it was before as it plays a huge role in ensuring brand salience. With the production of ads on hold, most of the content being produced on social media and other digital plaforms is being made by influencers themselves, right from their homes. Thus the role of influencers has become extremely critical.

The third edition of e4m’s Content Jam, which was virtual, had intriguing sessions with marketing leaders sharing their brand journeys in these trying times. One of these sessions had a panel of industry leaders dicuss how in this period of lockdown, the role of influencers has been extremely critical for bands.

The panel had Varun Alagh, Co-founder, CEO, MamaEarth; Nikunj Lotia, Be YouNick; Juhi Singh, Co-Lead, Talent Management, Pocket Aces; Debosmita Majumder, Head of Marketing, Puma India; Harish Narayan, CMO, Myntra; and Khushboo Benani, Content, Influencer Marketing, Brand Advocacy Head, Diageo India. The session chair was Laxmi Balasubramanian, Co-Founder, Greenroom Network. The panelist covered the topic: The Invaluable Role of Influencer Marketing.

A lot of content production has come to a grinding halt in the current scenario. Many brands are coming up with new innovations to manage this scenario. Starting off the virtual panel session, Majumder shared, “The day before the lockdown was announced we were supposed to do a shoot and we had to cancel it. That is when the conversation happened internally that going forward, this entire summer season we needed to keep the conversation going. Repurpose some of the content done in the past which was not much product-focused but more narrative-led and look at our content bank. Then it was about giving a direction to our influencers that this is how you can shoot and this is the objective of this particular content. We were experimenting with shooting on Facetime.”

Narayan sharing his views remarked, “For us, it is not a new thing. We do work with influencers quite a lot. We have created our own IP Myntra Fashion Superstar which was all about influencers. We have used influencers in a big way when it comes to our own app store as well. Recently, We launched Myntra Studio which is a mini destination of fashion content on the app. What has changed is the constraints of shooting and the kind of stories we could tell. And the scale in which we could tell the stories. The way we look at influencers is a spectrum of celebrities, you have your well known top tier celebs and upcoming influencers. We make them our voice for fashion and beauty expertise. The TA that we have at Myntra which is the young consumer will listen to somebody they can relate to. Recently, when we reopened we shot a campaign in an influencers house with a couple. That is doing well for us.”

As for MamaEarth, Alagh shared that the communication insights that the brand is built on is millennials trust other millenials. “Since the beginning of the brand, we have tried to tell our story through other relatable people rather than just limiting it to brand communication ads. For us, this was business as usual. What changed during the lockdown was creating more contextual content which will hit home harder in these times. Like using the context of COVID, how does the beauty regime change and creating more relevant conversations around that," said Alagh.

Benani commented, “I think what influencers helped us do is actually create content that is culturally relevant while helping us push the message of staying indoors and being safe. We got Vir Das to do two content pieces for us and the content did really well. We used that for the last couple of months instead of the brand norm.”

Sharing his perspective as an Influencer, Be YouNick commented, “Influencer marketing is important right now. Everything that I have learned about making content is through watching content, through people around me and through experimenting stuff. I feel a good story always wins.”

A myriad of innovative brand solutions have come about due to this lockdown period. This has helped brands leverage from these new brand solutions. "The realities that came out of the lockdown was something to look at. Home workout videos, ZOOM home parties, etc were somethings we played with," remarked Majumder.

Sharing an example from their digital entertainment company, Singh said, “The series we did on Instagram would be a great example of content. It was done with Bumble and Cadbury. The production quality is great and looks effortless."

Singh also pointed out that the Godrej campaign with Karan Johar was another good example that could have been a TVC but worked well even when shot from home.

“What has changed is the explosion of social media. Especially YouTube, TikTok, etc have grown tremendously, so content marketing has become easy. Content creation and storytelling have become more democratic," commented Narayan.

Majumder shared that we're just constantly evolving in newer ways in fresher takes in situations that are more environmentally friendly.

Signing off, Benani concluded saying, “I think somewhere in this, there is opportunity for brands to work better with influencers in a very authentic way. Not just from the brand side but from the influen cer end also.”

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