[Interview] Anaggh Desai unearths the reality of influencer marketing in India

Influencing is a science that combines responsibility with communication skills. Anaggh Desai, literally known as the God of influencing and a presiding member of Asian Paints Indian Decor Awards’ jury – shares his opinion on the state of influencer marketing in India.

Please share your thoughts on the state of influencer marketing in India

Influencer marketing is still in a very nascent stage in India. According to me influencers can be broadly divided into four categories:

  1. Actual celebrities who have a fair following.
  2. Celebrities or deemed influencers who have following, but the authenticity of their follower count is questionable.
  3. Influencers, as christened by brands and agencies. They may not be an ideal fit, but, match the budget and noise ratio.
  4. Influencers respected by others, but with low to medium following and hence not wanted by brands or agencies.

What are the major challenges witnessed in this space? 

Major challenges witnessed in the industry are lack of ideal evaluation of the influencer and his/her area of relevance and ideal fitment that can translate into an engagement leading to long term benefit for the brand.

Involving influencers from the beginning and using their inputs before engaging with them could be of help in such cases.

How can we overcome these issues? What does the industry require? 

Agencies need to learn, educate and share the right basics of influencer marketing. The client or brand has to be told about the benefits and agencies should build up the case before talking them (brands) into influencer marketing. There has to be a common repository of names and relevance, though this is currently being carried out by couple of agencies.

Any tips on things that influencers should stir away from to stay true to their responsibility?

Today most influencers are equated with followers and thereby money. However, money cannot always be a criterion as true influencers would vouch for. For true influencers money is the by product. Unfortunately agencies and influencers consider money as the main element; this is something the industry should stay away from.

Also, influencers should stay away from the short cut method followed by brands and agencies. In the last minute method, agencies gather influencers basis launch date of the product and venue of the launch on a very short notice. This is an extremely unhealthy way.

How has the arrival of influencers changed content consumption trends across social media?  

Honestly, it’s too early to comment on this topic, at this point of time. Currently the content consumption patterns seem to be lopsided towards listicles or links by foreign agencies.