Interview: The making of BeerBiceps!

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 Ranveer Allahbadia interview

From being an obese kid to shedding the excess kilos and making a career out of it - Ranveer Allahbadia a.k.a BeerBiceps motivates on multiple levels. This Ranveer Allahbadia interview bears it all!

What began as a fitness channel to document Ranveer Allahbadia's journey soon started creating content on various interesting hooks including - men's grooming, fashion, mental fitness and more. In his journey, Ranveer Allahbadia has helped millions and wishes to continue doing so.

In the second edition of India's first Facebook Live conference, #SMLive 2018, Ranveer Allahbadia took us through his dynamic journey.

How did it all start with you? Please take us through your journey

As most of you know I am an engineer, didn't enjoy my engineering college and immediately after that, I tried launching a fitness startup. I approached an investor and he recommended that if out of so many startups, you need to stand out then a great strategy would be to start a social media handles. Throughout college, I watched a lot of American YouTubers. Once we started, I came to know that YouTube pays you for running this channel so I thought they pay me and it is a lot of fun too, so why not make this my startup!

We started putting up videos; I recorded basic videos on my mobile phone. I had a lot of content ideas. I believe that if you want to become a social media star, you need to have unlimited amount of content. Also, you need to learn how to use cameras, how to record sound, how to promote, how to market your own YouTube channel. It involved a bit of a learning curve. Eventually I realized that in order to run the business, I need more people; I can't run a startup alone and got Rajas Pardeshi and Viraj Sheth on board.

Before you became THE BeerBiceps, what were the challenges faced? How did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge at that time was that YouTube wasn't a real option. People now look at YouTube as an actual career.

The biggest challenge is being a member of the Indian society and running a YouTube channel.

Lot of people told us to take conventional career despite of us hitting 10K and 20K subscribers, still relatives would come and say, Good! Good! But do real things, Do MBA.

The correct mentality of running a social media channel is enjoying the process. If you start an Instagram page, enjoy clicking pictures, if you’re running a YouTube channel, enjoy that process.

Video creation is a slightly difficult job and to do it as a career, you need to put up videos on YouTube at least once a week; ideally twice or thrice a week. If you start creating YouTube videos, or any kind of content, you'll know within the first 2 or 3 months that this career is for me or not. I realized that it was because it is photography, videography, coming on screen; anything media related is a passion of mine. A lot of times, my videos are like a creative release for me, after a point it definitely becomes addictive.

How did you pick the niche of health and men’s grooming? How did it help in establishing yourself as a content creator?

The only reason is I started putting out fitness videos because at that time, that was all I knew. My life was all about fitness. I started off as an obese kid, lost a lot of weight. I am writing my first book on health, it will be like a fitness autobiography of how I went from being obese to running a YouTube fitness channel.

Once I started running the YouTube channel, I realized that Tanmay from AIB had lost weight with the help of my videos. He introduced me to the world of media; he said that now you should look at other things, like the clothes you wear. That's how I developed an interest in fashion. Afterwards I realized that my life isn't just about fitness. There are these factors like fashion, grooming, and etiquettes. I help a lot of my cousins with communication skills and social. I realized let's take all this content and put it up online because after a point, this fitness content became a little bit saturated and I wanted a change as a creator. That's how I switched from fitness to fashion.

Also Read: Ogilvy’s Kainaz Karmakar & Harshad Rajadhyaksha get candid on Great Advertising

In the immense clutter, how do you make sure your content stands out? Do you have any exercise or routine before picking your topic?

I believe that in India you should understand that an average Indian always wants some value out of the content.

Whether that value comes out of laughs or actual value in terms of information that they are picking up from the content, Indians want value for money. So, every time I am picking up a topic, I ask myself these two questions:

-Is this video adding any value to anyone's life?

-Am I personally enjoying creating this video?

BeYouNick is my best friend from the world of YouTube and when I met him, I was going through a tough phase. He then said that, Abhi na doosro ke liye karna band kar, khud ke liye karna chalu kar! Basically it means that Start creating videos for you, start creating the kind of videos you enjoy doing. I was going through some issues and I was reading life improvement books and watching motivational documentaries. I realized that's the kind of mental state I am in so we launched a series of mental fitness videos dealing not with mental health but mental fitness. The difference between the two is that mental health is your current state of mind and mental fitness is your ability to tackle different kinds of difficult situations and states of mind. That's what we enjoyed and really had a lot of fun doing it. Eventually, we will dive back in fitness but right now I am just listening to my heart.

There are a lot of YouTubers in India; look at it as a business. Look at running a YouTube channel, a startup; you need to understand that if this is the startup, what's your product? Your product is your Instagram post or your YouTube videos.

How do you monetize your content? What will be your tips to other creators who have just started off?

Initially, don't think about monetization. Just do it for the love of it. We monetize our content through YouTube ad sales, we get our salary at the end of every month depending on the number of views we get on YouTube and secondly, the big money comes from brands. We have a team of 10 people and everyone is earning their money through the brands, through the work we do.

Do you work with brands often? What are the factors you take into consideration before working with a brand?

It's a concept of a long-term brand image so the brand image of BeerBiceps is honesty and genuinity. If I genuinely believe the brand and feel that it will help my viewers, I take up that brand. For every brand deal we take up, there is only 20-30 brands that get rejected because I think it doesn't go with the brand image of BeerBiceps, Now, I constantly talk about hair product usage, I tell in my videos to use it in quantities that makes your hair look good but don't spoil your hair; so I can't promote hair product all the time.

You have to be honest, you can't be hypocrite.

Also Read: Content is King but Context is the Queen: Tanvi Gautam

What is the weirdest brief you have gotten from a brand? How did you deal with it?

I can tell you the biggest mistake brands make.

They think influencer marketing is advertising.

They want us to hold the product and sell it’ that's not how you sell products now. That's how you sold products in the 90's and 2000's when TV was reaching out to villages and not just in in 2 or 3 cities. Indian audiences all over the country have become more educated; they switch off the TV the moment they see conventional advertising methods. That's what pisses us off as creators as well.

Looking back which was the one moment that made it all worth it?

Lot of times young kids come to me and say that you helped when I went through depression or you helped me lose weight - all that makes it worth it because we work 7 days a week.

What led us to start regional content, how the audience who consume regional content differ from the English speaking audience?

All social media platforms work on algorithms. YouTube algorithm is promoting regional content; if you create videos in Hindi, your video would be recommended to a huge number of people.

For every English content consumer in India, we have got about 9 or 10 Hindi content consumers.

That's one obvious reason we started regional content and secondly I don't do this job for money, for fame or for career goals, I do this job to make a difference to the world. An average kid from the rural part of the country should also have the right to knowledge. The plan is to create BeerBiceps content in every single regional language in India. Currently we are working on the Tamil channel.

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