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Influencer marketing firms will always be in beta: BuzzOne founder

 

MUMBAI: Influencer marketing is one of the fastest growing phenomena in the marketing mix of brands today. As per ‘The Influence Report’ released by Zefmo Media Private Limited in 2018, 89 per cent of marketers believe that influencer marketing is effective in driving brand message across, and 62 per cent were planning their budgetary allocation towards engaging social influencers.

Peer-to-peer interaction, an influx of trust from people with whom the customers can relate to on a personal level and comparatively lower cost to get engagement on digital platforms are some of the few factors that have been propelling the growth of this medium. To get some more insight into how this whole gamut of social influencing works, what the ticks and tricks of the trade are, and how can the brands make maximum out of this trend, Indiantelevision.com got into a candid conversation with BuzzOne Infuencer Marketing’s founder and CEO Sanjay Vasudeva on a rainy afternoon in Delhi.

Vasudev started BuzzOne Influencer Marketing a few years back as a one-stop marketplace for brands and influencers to create conversations on social media using the great reach the latter had on various platforms. Over the years, the agency has created successful campaigns for a number of brands including Volkswagen, Nissan, Veet, Kissan, Britannia, ICICI and Future Generali, among others.

Since then, it has come a long way. What has made influencer marketing popular today? Vasudev says, “Influencer marketing is social word of mouth. If you compare all the media of communications—be it print, TV, or digital—word-of-mouth has always been considered the biggest and most powerful of them all. I will give you a simple example; when you want to buy a car, you take opinions from your peers or family members who already have bought it and are using it. That’s how most of us make our choices.”

He added that brands want more conversation on social media and influencers accelerate it by conveying the brand message in a style relatable to their followers.

Sanjay contributes this exemplary growth to the dynamism of the industry as well. He mentions, “When we started four years back, influencer marketing was still in its infancy. It was based mostly around Twitter. But now, the spectrum has become so much larger; you have Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and of course newer platforms like Snapchat and TikTok.”

He adds, “Looking at this what I can say is that in the app business, we will always be in beta because platforms would keep changing and also new platforms would emerge. The platforms which were there earlier would become not so popular, for example, we have seen Twitter going down.”

On being asked how does the influencer marketing firm like his keep pace with this dynamic shift, Vasudev says, “We have a propriety tool by which we keep a constant vigil on what kind of influencers are doing what and on what platforms. We then bucket them into various categories and genera. Further, the brands also have a point of view on certain influencers and platforms. We do our best to provide them with the best match.”

Vasudeva also shares the perfect recipe to sort out the best face and medium to associate with any campaign. He notes, “Essentially, the first filter that should happen is to look at in what space the brand is operating and in what space it wants the communication to happen. For example, if an automobile brand wants to talk about the core features of the car, then it will be an automobile blogger’s dialogue. But if the same automobile brand wants to promote itself from the lifestyle perspective, then we will either pick people who talk about lifestyle or sometimes, maybe, fashion bloggers.”

“Also, the biggest trend nowadays is that the content is moving from static images to videos. Thus, bloggers are becoming lesser and lesser relevant as people do not have time to read long write-ups. With content getting shorter, the impact of platforms like Instagram is gaining momentum. Another amazing platform is TikTok. The only problem with TikTok is that it doesn’t have any reporting API’s to keep a tab on the performance of the videos but it is still one of the most used platforms by influencers. It gives greater views at a much less cost than any other platform,” he shares.

On a final note, he said that brands should not try to push their own ideas of the kind of content that influencers should create. “An influencer is very loyal to its audience and knows what kind of content works with them. Thus, brands should be very careful about their demands and should allow them to create content in their own style.”

MUMBAI: Leading Influencer marketing firm, BuzzOne, announced its expansion into the South East Asian market with the launch of its Malaysia operations, within months of opening its Philippines office in February this year. With this launch, BuzzOne becomes the first and only Indian Influencer Marketing firm to have multiple operations in the South East Asian markets of Philippines and Malaysia.

The award winning firm also announced the appointment of Mark Rodrigues as Business Head of its Malaysia operations. With over 30 years of experience in the Malaysia market, Mark Rodrigues joins BuzzOne with a deep understanding of the local market and media marketing trends. In a short span of time, BuzzOne has emerged as one of India’s fastest growing Influencer Marketing firms. BuzzOne’s stellar clientele in India includes leading brands such as Amazon, Himalaya Wellness, Dettol PayTm, Vivo, Britannia, Nissan, Vivo and Puma among others.

Speaking on the expansion, Sanjay Vasudeva, Founder and CEO, BuzzOne Influencer Marketing, said, “I am thrilled and look forward to expanding BuzzOne’s current portfolio with deep penetration into the South East Asian market with the opening of our Malaysia & Philippines offices this year. Having studied the region carefully, Malaysia & Philippines are one of the most promising markets for influencer led campaigns in South East Asia. With Mark Rodrigues spearheading our team, I am confident BuzzOne will form a strong foothold in the Malaysian market.”

According to industry reports, ad spending in digital media in Malaysia were US$512million in 2019. A growing Influencer Marketing market, Malaysia has shown unique trends such as Instagram emerging as the preferred platform for influencer marketing in the country and over with 80% of marketers investing in influencer marketing strategies in 2018. Malaysians trust lifestyle influencers’ opinions over opinions from traditional celebrities.

An experienced professional, with experience across media channels, Vandana Sachdev of BuzzOne, speaks at length about the gender balance in the Indian M & A industry.

With more than a decade of experience as a media professional, Vandana Sachdev shares that it’s never been an easy journey for a woman in the industry. But as per the leader, one should take initiative and go for the things he/she believes in.

“You won’t get what you don’t ask for!”, she promptly highlights in a candid conversation with Social Samosa.

How would you define a Superwoman in today’s day and age? 

She works hard, chases what she believes in, independent, but knows when to ask for help, perseverant, balanced and doesn’t let others define her.

One quality that you think every superwoman has and that helped you win Social Samosa Superwomen…

Being a ‘Go-Getter’. Don’t wait for someone to fix things for you. Take the initiative and change things. You won’t get what you don’t ask for!

How successful have women been in shattering the glass ceiling in the Media & Advertising field? Does the ‘boardroom inequality’ phrase still stand true? 

Yes, it still stands true to some extent. Women who held on their own, serious about their career, competent and professional, succeeded.

When you conduct yourself as a first-rate professional, the gender you belong to becomes immaterial. If you are standing in front of a client making a strong strategy/marketing presentation, what matters is the content of what is being said rather than whether the person presenting it is a male or female.

But yes it’s never been an easy journey for a woman/ Despite being a strong woman, there are times when they are being put down even though they deserve to be up there.

Eventually, it’s on a woman how she handles and conducts herself in such situations and wins through this.

What are the key changes this industry needs in order to make workplaces gender-neutral, safe, and nurturing?   

Employers should commit to equal employment opportunities at the workplace and management should not distinguish people on the basis of sex/age. Managements must sensitize employees for gender sensitivity to prevent or minimize issues connected with sexual harassment and train employees to be more vocal.

 

Besides a well defined ‘Anti sexual harassment’ policy which ensures safety and equal rights for women, other initiatives like self-defense workshops, sessions with women police officers and NGOs to create awareness about women’s safety and rights should be organized.

One Superpower you wish you had? 

 

Omnilingualism. You would never have to worry about a language barrier as you traveled around the world since we have to travel for work and interact with colleagues from across the world most of the time.

 

 The ‘Superwomen’ you diligently follow and who inspired you… 

 

Sheryl Sandberg. It is no secret that women all across the world have trouble rising up the rank for various reasons. Some don’t make it because of gender politics; others feel under-confident, and some discontinue work/take a break because of motherhood. Sheryl is changing this norm.

 

She has always urged women to follow their ambition and does not give up come what may, which is why she has inspired me the most. 

Influencer marketing firm, BuzzOne, has announced its expansion into the South East Asian market with the launch of its Malaysia operations, within months of opening its Philippines office in February this year.

According to the company, with this launch, BuzzOne becomes the first and only Indian influencer marketing firm to have multiple operations in the South East Asian markets of Philippines and Malaysia. 

The firm also announced the appointment of Mark Rodrigues as business head of its Malaysia operations. With over 30 years of experience in the Malaysia market, Mark Rodrigues joins BuzzOne with a deep understanding of the local market and media marketing trends.

Sanjay Vasudeva, founder and CEO, BuzzOne Influencer Marketing, said, “Having studied the region carefully, Malaysia and Philippines are one of the most promising markets for influencer led campaigns in South East Asia. With Mark Rodrigues spearheading our team, I am confident BuzzOne will form a strong foothold in the Malaysian market.”

According to industry reports, ad spending in digital media in Malaysia were $512 million in 2019. A growing influencer marketing market, Malaysia has shown unique trends such as Instagram emerging as the preferred platform for influencer marketing in the country and over with 80% of marketers investing in influencer marketing strategies in 2018. Malaysians trust lifestyle influencers’ opinions over opinions from traditional celebrities, the company said.

BuzzOne’s stellar clientele in India includes leading brands such as Amazon, Himalaya Wellness, Dettol PayTm, Vivo, Britannia, Nissan, Vivo and Puma among others. 

BuzzOne announced its expansion into the South East Asian market with the launch of its Malaysia operations.

With this launch, BuzzOne becomes the first and only Indian Influencer Marketing firm to have multiple operations in the South East Asian markets of Philippines and Malaysia.

The firm also announced the appointment of Mark Rodrigues as a Business Head of its Malaysia operations. With over 30 years of experience in the Malaysia market, Mark Rodrigues joins BuzzOne with an understanding of the local market and media marketing trends.

Speaking on the expansion, Sanjay Vasudeva, Founder, and CEO, BuzzOne Influencer Marketing, said, “I am thrilled and look forward to expanding BuzzOne’s current portfolio with deep penetration into the South East Asian market with the opening of our Malaysia & Philippines offices this year. Having studied the region carefully, Malaysia & Philippines are one of the most promising markets for influencer led campaigns in South East Asia. With Mark Rodrigues spearheading our team, I am confident BuzzOne will form a strong foothold in the Malaysian market.”

 

According to industry reports, ad spending in digital media in Malaysia was US$512million in 2019. A growing Influencer Marketing market, Malaysia has shown unique trends such as Instagram emerging as the preferred platform for influencer marketing in the country and over with 80% of marketers investing in influencer marketing strategies in 2018. Malaysians trust lifestyle influencers’ opinions over opinions from traditional celebrities.

Sanjay Vasudeva, Founder & CEO, BuzzOne Influencer Marketing pens down his thoughts on top influencer marketing trends to look forward in 2020. 

2020 is expected to be a year of significant changes for the Influencer Marketing industry in India. These are some of the key trends that I believe will drive the shift for Influencer Marketing in the coming year. Take a look at the Influencer Marketing Trends, I foresee for 2020.

Small yet Powerful

2020 will see the rise of the micro-Influencer. A micro-influencer is an individual who has followers between 2,000 to 50,000 on a particular social media channel. We will see an increased dominance of these influencers in 2020 and rather than spending on celebrities or big influencers, brands will use more micro-influencers within the same budget.

This is an interesting shift because Influencer marketing relies on the power of real people to spread a brand’s message. Brands “identify” influencers based on their interests and platforms and then engage them to communicate with their followers. Although celebrities are mass appealers and have brand recall value associated with their faces,  micro-influencers are niche/category based social media celebrities and people value their reviews or opinion when buying a product/ availing a service. Hence, as brands start getting more specific with their campaigns, they will start looking at micro-influencers more and more.

More Focus into Podcasts: Podcasts will become blogs for Influencers

Technology will bring about the next wave of evolution in the Influencer Marketing world, and one of the big shifts will be the use of technology in creative ways by the new-age influencer. With the advent of smart technology and smartphones, iPods, etc, we are looking at the growth of new areas and one of them is the rise of‘Podcast Influencers’.  Till now, Influencer Marketing has been around pictures and videos (audiovisual streams) – with Podcasts and similar technologies, the audiovisual will now shift to ‘voice’.

Podcasts allow Influencers to share their opinions and views and there is a growing market for this kind of information flow. We have Podcasts Influencers from finance to money-saving, to Chefs, etc and brands are now learning to tap into this new category.

 

In 2020, we will see more co-partnered Podcasts by Influencers and brands. The only point of note is that Podcasts are relatively niched yet and available to those who have smartphones and other hi-end technology gadgets hence the limitation.

Relationship is the Key: Brand will look at deeper and more meaningful relationships with Influencers

 

More and more research will come into the role to understand the type of content of the influencer that works more and his/her relationship with their audience. Brands are more likely to use influencers who blend in with the core brand values versus just associating or tying up with a popular influencer. Brands are also getting more specific about what they want to achieve through their marketing campaigns and this will trickle down as to how and which Influencer they plan to target etc. Overall, we are looking at deeper research by brands and Influencers, in turn, becoming more clearer about what they are delivering which is good for the Influencer industry since it brings in more specific delivery and measurability.

 

Integration of AI and Augmented Reality:

 

Integrated campaigns of on-ground events coupled with digital media with influencer marketing will be on the rise. More of AI and AR driven campaigns are likely to be executed on the ground with support through influencers. This is likely to grow even further in 2020 as brands will adopt AI and AR at a greater rate. The growth of “tech influencers” has also helped in this regard. The use of AI and AR has helped Influencers create more interesting and tech-savvy content and this is liked by their followers.

 

For example, brands are using Influencers to create special AR-enabled videos and simulations to create excitement around their launches and music concerts, etc. This is an interesting development and we are likely to see more and more Influencers pick this up in 2020.

 

Video content will be more prominent

 

TikTok will rise further along with Instagram as major influencer platforms. The young generation is clearly driving this shift and more and more X and Z-generation-ers are choosing platforms like TikTok and Vibe to share their talent, express their feelings or simply record interesting events around them. Revenue generation through video creation is also a big lure that is attracting people to these platforms along with the fact that they gain popularity and become micro-influencers in their own towns/ areas.

 

The increasing popularity of these micro/ regional influencers opens a whole new world of possibilities for regional brands in particular who may want to use influencers but can’t afford the big ones.  With the rise of these platforms, they now get a chance to do their own localized Influencer Marketing campaigns.

 

The article is authored by Sanjay Vasudeva, CEO & Co-Founder – BuzzOne Director at TheDCompany. 

Sanjay Vasudeva, Founder & CEO, BuzzOne Influencer arketing envisages why videos will be the primary medium of conversations on social media and the significance of short-form video content.

The social media world is a rapidly changing environment like the uncertain and vigorous personality of its users. The rise, popularity and penetration of social media amongst the youth, middle-aged and even children make it an apparent medium to reach out to one’s target audience.

Marketers are now planning to allocate more than 50% of their budgets towards engaging social influencers to reach this target audience. One of the most pivotal needs for influencer marketing on social media is to focus on the audience who influence the behavior of target customers. If the target customer is largely young and young adults, it could be considered working with influencers on short video UGC platforms i.e.User Generated Content Platforms also known as User Created Content Platform (UCC) like YouTube, VMate, TikTok, Vigo, Likee, etc is the next best thing to do.

Their most significant feature is to shoot & share videos. Therefore, any UGC platform’s influencer marketing led the campaign for brands that will spin around influencers who are creating, sharing or live streaming videos which will help promote brands and make it look authentic and appealing to the influencer’s followers.

UGC platforms’ users are typically millennials, who love to use tech gadgets and are familiar with social media platforms which give them their own social space. They literally spend most of their time within the social media environment. This increased level of immersion naturally implies that newer, forward-thinking strategies and technology will be needed in order to reach and engage this young audience.

Influencer marketing agencies enable brands to run Influencer Campaigns effectively and help influencers to monetize their social presence too.  These agencies are responsible for conceptualizing and executing influencer led campaigns for brands across sectors – FMCG, automobiles, mobiles, beauty, sports, fashion, accessories, etc.

It is inevitable for any brand to have an online presence today especially on short video apps. UGC platforms or short video apps from the main elements of social media marketing campaigns because of its numerous advantages.

Everyone is buying the smartphones with Video making capabilities and hence more and Influencers are leveraging it to tell their stories