Interview: I like challenging the usual notions: Sonal Agrawal, Pink Peppercorn

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Sonal Agrawal

Sonal Agrawal shares insights on making fashion more interesting with inspirations through different stories and cultures from around the world with her blog Pink Peppercorn.

Before coming up with her blog, Pink Peppercorn, Sonal had been a brand strategist for over 8 years. She says her content is mainly inspired by culture, travel, socio-cultural phenomenon, and mythology.

Agrawal shares the perils of being a fashion influencer in this competitve space. Read through to know more about her quest.

Looking back, where did it all begin?

It all began in 2015. I had been a brand strategist for over 8 years and while I loved what I did, I had so many stories that I wanted to tell to the world. I started PinkPepperCorn with the idea of bringing alive these stories and creating content inspired by culture, travel, socio-cultural phenomenon, and mythology through the medium of my one true love, fashion.

Initially, I was doing it on the side while still working on marketing projects but soon I realized that I loved being a content creator and that it was something that I could turn into my full-time profession. So, by the mid of 2016, I took the plunge and turned into a blogger full-time.

What's in the name?

Pink Peppercorn is a beautiful looking little berry. Which looks all pretty and sweet but when u bite into it, is a spicy pepper. I named my blog after it because of the duality it represents - the pink stands for 'fashion' and the pepper stands for the culture, art, and purposiveness that inspires it.

It also represents my core personality.

What is your USP in this cluttered space? How does your content give you an edge?

I make sure that my content is original, interesting and yet very different in terms of the narrative and the visuals. I like challenging the usual notions of what fashion bloggers are expected to do and be like.

Also, for every branded campaign that I take part in, I try to create 2 non-branded content pieces. That keeps my body of work original and unbiased.

Please take us through your content creation process. How do you stay relevant and relatable?

Observing people around me and their lives, following popular conversations, books and challenging my own opinions and beliefs.

How do you make moolah with your efforts?

Primarily through brand collaborations and event attendance.

How do you maintain editorial objectivity with the influx of brand briefs?

For me, it's very important that I stay true to my audience and be honest in my reviews. I usually choose to work on only those brands and products that I'm absolutely sure of and which I genuinely like and don't mind promoting. Otherwise, I make sure that I try out the products beforehand and then either agree or disagree to promote them.

Most brands also understand the fact that objectivity is extremely important when it comes to influencer marketing. Hence, a lot of large brands are now okay with influencers honestly talking about the pros and cons. While some are also moving away from direct reviews to larger content creation campaigns which allow influencers to create interesting and engaging content, without having to really talk about individual products.

One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile

When I was awarded as one of the top 50 content marketing professionals in the entire country by World Marketing Federation and CMO Asia, alongside some amazing minds in this profession all the hard work and struggle seemed worth it.

Also Read:Interview: You need to associate with brands with similar values: Hungry Dilliwaali: Neha Sharma

Weirdest brand brief/request ever

There have been times when I've been asked to review products without mentioning the obvious negatives and that's when I've chosen not to endorse those brands.

If not blogging, you would be?

Before I was a blogger I was a brand strategist and a consumer researcher and that's what is probably the easiest for me to have been. But, knowing me and my fickle heart I could have been a designer, an actor, a filmmaker, a traveler - anything really, as long as my heart took me there.

A day in your life….

Wake up - Shoot - do the household chores - attend events - spend hours on Instagram - take several calls - edit - write - workout - spend time with my partner and my cats - hit the bed. Repeat.

Message/tips for upcoming bloggers

Be original. Create content that you love and which satisfies your creative instinct. Don't create for others because there will always be enough and more people who like you for being you and those are the only people who matter.

Your Favorite Influencer

Juliana Siriana (@sincerelyjules) and Casey Ho (@blogilatis)

The Future you foresee for your Personal Brand

There are quite a few interesting things that I have in the pipeline. One of which is launching my own clothing label.

Basically, as a brand I'd like to add more dimensions to my brand personality so as to evolve this from being just a blog or an Instagram handle into something much larger.

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