Food, Fashion, Grooming: The Game-changers of the 'New Influencer Marketing Normal'

Dharika Merchant, COO Alchemy Group & WORD

Before 2020 began, influencer marketing was poised to be a strong part of digital marketing strategies for brands across the Indian catalogue. But COVID-19 came knocking on our doors, and things got disrupted, majorly across food, fashion, and grooming, amongst other industries. Therefore, influencer marketing companies such as Alchemy Group’s WORD conducted an interactive analysis to understand the impact of Covid-19 on brands as well as influencers, with their property called #PotluckDiaries.

During the course of this analysis, it was observed that industries in India coped up with these circumstances by focusing on being digital-first to reach the new full-time online consumers. Interestingly, brands in the food, fashion, and grooming industry erupted stronger during the pandemic. They did this by adapting to the new demands of the consumer and seizing this moment as an opportunity of marketing for a lifetime to change the actual consumption behavior of their operating terrains.

In an attempt to understand these three industries in-depth, Alchemy Group’s influencer marketing business, WORD, introduced #PotluckDiaries an initiative where brands and influencers were brought together to have candid conversations over lunch in an Instagram Live session for the first time ever. Brand Managers and influencers representing three pioneering industries, food, fashion, and grooming, were on-boarded to share their insights and envisioning of the future by consciously conceptualizing their perspectives of the current environment, and how they were rebuilding relationships with customers by adding relevance.

The insights received from brands and influencers have proven to be pivotal in understanding the current influencer marketing ecosystem. Take a look at the learnings gathered from #PotluckDiaries

Demand for Influencer Marketing

Brands in the food, fashion, and grooming industries are of the opinion that there is a 100% need for influencer marketing, now more than ever. Influencers have become important stakeholders in helping brands spread their message with their engaged audience.

Brands representing the food, fashion, and grooming industry claimed that they were 100% more likely to look at influencer marketing as part of their current digital marketing approach. In fact, 83.4% also believed in the benefits of having long-term influencer associations to build a relationship with their audience that went beyond their offerings.

The Food Fad

83.4% of consumers feel the need to change to healthier routines to boost their immunity, thereby, changing consumption habits. The idea of healthy snacking has become more prominent in many households with a rise in experimental cooking, and healthy eating habits, a new lifestyle choice.

The Grooming Appreciation

With parlours and salons shut, people have taken self-care seriously, including men. The word ‘self-grooming’ has slowly found its way into the male dictionary. The change in the stereotypical perception of ‘grooming’ has resulted in a sudden rise in demand for male grooming products. In fact, the male grooming market is projected to soar to $5.5 billion by 2021.

The Home-bound Fashion

While the prominent notion is that pajamas have become the new workwear at home, it was found that people equally switch between loungewear and casual wear. Much of it has to do with the idea of wearing comfortable clothes that motivates people to work productively.

The Shift in Engagement Ratios

Influencers are witnessing a 100% shift in their engagement ratios. Since their following is online most of the time, they’ve realized that there is an increase in engagement on their content. Their followers are more interactive and demanding.

Relevance Over Relatability

It was found that 66.6% of brands and influencers believe that relevance plays a bigger role to bring brands closer to their customers. That said, 33.4% of them also understand the importance of relatability too.

Despite the shift in the current climate owing to the pandemic, influencer marketing has emerged as the ideal playground to bring forth customer-centric influence. While many brands in the fashion, food, and grooming industries have been affected due to the shutdown of stores, their digital presence has made a lot of difference in terms of embarking on newer trajectories. Accessing consumers via influencers through customer-focused strategy has won the game for marketers. And, influencer marketing has provided them a platform to harp on value-based marketing.


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