This year, India will have 100 million social media content creators, making it the country with the largest base of influencers in the world. Influencer marketing will surpass Rs 3,000 crore in 2023-24, with small influencers (also called micro-influencers) accounting for 14% of that revenue.
A strong regulatory focus is being placed on the influencer community in India. Since the Advertising and Standards Council of India issued guidelines mandating influencers label promotional content, nearly 3,000 complaints have been filed citing brands and influencers for failing to disclose material connections. Moreover, the government recently announced it would regulate health and wellness influencers, mandating that qualifications for giving advice must be disclosed and displayed.
The importance of prioritizing consumer trust over product sales is likely to increase as brands and influencers seek to address these challenges. The trend of de-influencing, or influencers advising customers not to buy products, is on the rise, and is an indication of the way influencer collaborations are evolving, according to colleague Radhika Banta, Vice President, Current Global, India.
“The influencer industry in India has matured from purely transactional relationships,” says Banta, “with influencers and brands increasingly seeking content that adds value as this enables brands to create conversations with authentic content. Genuine content also gives influencers the best chance of connecting intimately with the audience they’ve worked so hard to build.”
Gaming and technology influencer Zerxes Wadia (pictured), who has worked on campaigns for several Current Global clients in India, believes authenticity occurs when brand objectives, influencer vision, and audience goals are aligned. “In order to be effective as an influencer, we must promote brands that we identify with and would use or purchase. The people who follow you can easily tell if you are doing a partnership just for money,” he says. Followers, believes Wadia, do not mind influencers making money through collaborative efforts. “Nonetheless, they feel belittled when their intelligence is taken for granted. Synergy between a brand’s ethos and promise and an influencer’s personality is therefore of paramount importance.”
“With content becoming increasingly organic and brands in India opting for self-shot content, brands need to connect with influencers who can stand out in a positive way. In addition to ensuring that the brand appears authentic, it also provides the creator with the opportunity to showcase their true creativity. When that flavor is achieved, you see both the brand and the creator at their finest, while having a beautiful story to tell,” adds Banta.
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