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“2022 will see further growth in influencer marketing”

Parcos, a leading luxury beauty retailer, has launched the Parcos Beauty Influencer Awards 2022 to honour influencers who, via their innovative content, get up close and personal with customers and have a significant impact on their beauty, luxury, and lifestyle habits. Parcos has always worked closely with Indian influencers to foster international collaborations, and as part of the Baccarose alliance, it now features brands like the Shiseido Group, L'Oreal, Puig, Coty, InterParfums, and many more. Parcos’ foresight will help to develop talent, give a platform to India’s growing community of beauty and lifestyle influencers, and expose them to worldwide brands within the Parcos family.

In conversation with Adgully, Villoo Daji, SVP, Group Marketing Head, Baccarose Perfumes & Beauty Products, sheds more light on the Parcos Beauty Influencer Awards 2022, the evolution of influencer marketing in India, increasingly engaging with influencers and creating the right connect between the brands and consumers and more.

 

How have brands worked their way up via influencer marketing?

The Indian influencer marketing industry is estimated to reach a value of Rs 900 crore by the end of 2021, according to GroupM INCA’s India Influencer Marketing Report. It is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25% till 2025 to reach a size of Rs 2,200 crore. As per the report, personal care (25%), F&B (20%), fashion and jewelry (15%) and mobile and electronics 10% are the top four categories that contribute to 70% volume of influencer marketing. Besides, celebrities account for 27% of influencer marketing spends, while influencers account for 73%, which clearly shows the strength of influencers today. Nearly two-thirds of the Indian population follows an influencer, especially during the pandemic, which has accelerated the adoption of influencer marketing by brands, thus making it an integral part of their marketing strategy and an important part of media.

With the influx of social and digital media in consumer lives, engagement in product-led conversions, discovering the benefits and authenticity, usability has made marketers more conscious about various modes of promotion. With targeted marketing, we have arrived at a point in this digital world, where marketing or an influencing of a purchase decision has become a way of life. With the proliferation of social media, and the democratisation of online publishing, the role of word-of-mouth has rapidly expanded into a new tool for marketers- something that has the structure of publishing and traditional advertising (and sometimes the cost), but can have much more impact in swaying opinions or converting into purchase. What influencers do, as third-party endorsers, is showcase actual usage and thus, make it more believable than an advertisement whether print or digital or TV. It allows the brand to connect with the influencer attributes that matches the brand truth or promise and thus, helps the communication marry the two for a better outcome than mere traditional marketing. Basis the influencers’ follower pattern, deploying their distinctive approach to the communication converts to product usage, performance advocacy and driving positive word of mouth. The returns in influencer marketing investment are almost double the investment with better quality acquisition, thus leading to its manifold popularity.

Brands have worked their way up to legitimise every expense by reaching out to the correct target audience, from celebrity endorsements to micro-influencers across various channels especially redefining luxury, beauty, and personal grooming category. Influencer marketing was earlier limited to television, radio, and newspaper commercials, with little regard for the end consumer, but the trend today has shifted dramatically towards achieving the same with minimal cost and maximum reach. The legal modalities have also been pre-determined, thus making it a plausible way to deliver results and also fine tune it through brand advertisement and promotion.

How was 2021 as a year of growth for the influencer marketing industry?

During the second and third waves of the pandemic, brands had no other option but to utilise Virtual Selling platforms, wherein influencer marketing featured in this marketing mix more than before. Therefore, we have seen brands heavily investing in influencer marketing campaigns to capture a huge market by exploring new and better creative boundaries with over-the-top, glamorous, humorous, and top-of-mind kind of campaigns. Not only did brands increase awareness and visibility of their products through such campaigns, but they also created the possibility of developing new key relationships, that is, between the Brand, the Customer, and the Influencers. This meant harmonious and trustworthy bonds leading to honest selling and recommendations. Newer updates and opportunities kept the buzz and momentum of online marketing alive. Some key factors which helped are:

Short format content: With visually rich image content, short and long-form video content that includes reels, live sessions, and stories, the followers experienced similar content and product promotion, time and again by the influencer, which leads the audience to believe that the products and services have genuine reviews, which in turn translates into creating a demand for the products that influencers are using. This helped brands to capture a market through what we term as virtual word-of-mouth publicity as an outcome of trust.

Micro-influencers: Nano and Micro-influencers have been key drivers of influencer marketing campaigns, creating an impact for brands who want to involve them for most of their campaigns. Although these influencers have a lower follower base, many brands are now looking out for engagement and relatability, which is easy to receive from these kinds of influencers. Additionally, they don’t charge as much, thus making it a win-win for both!

Guidelines: After influencer marketing gained huge momentum, the government took notice of it and new guidelines were issued for the smooth running of the sector, thereby providing transparency within the ecosystem. ASCI introduced guidelines that ensure that the influencer-produced content is transparent and authentic. This further helped the influencers gain the trust of the followers and be in their eyes as they have also realised that this marketplace is here to stay and if they need to survive as well, it is only right that they speak their hearts out, be consistent with what they are recommending and stick to it.

The year 2022 will only witness further growth in the influencer marketing industry with massive technological upgrades, which will revamp the way we consume content on social media platforms, thus making marketing more consumer-centric.

As per Influencer Marketing Report of 2021, there has been a 54% increase from influencers in Tier 2 and 3 cities and beauty, fashion and lifestyle continue to rule the roost. Another thing which came up is that influencers prefer long-term relationships over short-term projects. This is a win-win for both parties as long-term collaboration with specific influencers establishes brand credibility and go a long way in building trust and thus usability.

What factors should one look at when choosing the right influencers?

Overall reach of the influencer within the category, the Instagram engagement, video views and reach across social channels. Also, the content connects with the brand style and product type.

There are different types of influencers basis category specialisation. Each influencer has a follower base and basis the quantum they are bucketed into nano, micro, and macro celebrity. The content type trust and ability to drive audiences with their meaningful advocacy is the true measure of an influencer. Affiliate marketing also engages and involves influencers to help their audience set to make purchases with promo offers.

Style tonality and approach to make content appear seamless and organic are the distinct markers of a good influencer.

How is the Parcos Beauty Influencers Award different from other award ceremonies?

Keeping in mind the larger brand goals and customer connects, Parcos has announced Parcos Beauty Influencer Awards 2022 where the winners of the event will be inducted into the ‘Hall of Fame’ and be associated with Parcos for a year-long partnership. This association will include masterclasses, workshops, and mentorship programs. They will also receive media coverage, which would include a campaign where winners will feature in a leading magazine. It chooses to recognise 23 winners from across influencer categories, whether popular or upcoming, and more in the world of beauty and lifestyle.

How does Parcos plan to leverage the winners in the coming year? What’s in it for the winners?

Parcos wants to leverage these extended brand partners to spread more effective messaging to targeted consumers. The connect and engagement can be measured well. We wanted to create a pyramid of influencers which would be relevant and effective for our category and what best way to do it by inviting talent in the industry to associate with us. Basis performance and a rigorous screening with stringent criteria, we are adjudging the best in class winners. The aim is to establish the right partner program with consistent product launches, reviews, sampling trials, annual contractual agreement, and product goodies besides the international trip for the top performers.

Meanwhile, commenting on what these kinds of events bring to the table, Subhash Kamath, Chief Executive Officer, BBH & Publicis Worldwide, India & Chairman, ASCI, said, “Influencer marketing is growing very rapidly in India and I see that trend continuing over the next few years. I hope awards platforms such as these will recognise the genuine influencers and separate them from the fraud ones.”

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