Gurugram-based Look Who’s Talking offers marketing solutions that connect brands with the best-fit influencers to help them spread the word to target audiences.Vishal Krishna
Social media has changed the landscape of the marketing and advertising industry. Individuals and companies across the world have woken up to the importance of engaging with industry influencers for effective marketing.
Among them is Govind Mahadevan, 30, no stranger to the importance of influencer marketing in today’s digital world. With branding and marketing experience, he realised in 2016 that despite the profusion of existing platforms, it was time to look at 2020 and beyond when brands would seek young influencers to influence market acceptance.
Govind, who has a bachelor’s degree in commerce and master’s degree in journalism and communication, spent the first six of years of his career working in brand management in Delhi, and realised that online was the way forward because “it is measurable and more impactful”.
The man who began as a brand and content manager (he worked with over 40 brands over the last three years) decided to start up in 2O15 with Gurugram-based Look Who’s Talking, a digital and influencer marketing agency.
Every brand these days realises the importance of voices. As the influence of English print media wanes, the rise of individuals reviewing products and influencing their networks has given them reason to shift their marketing models.
Govind says of all the time people spend online, over 64 percent is spent on social media and to view content. “On an average, an individual spends 135 minutes every day on social media, browsing through and actively seeking engaging and informative content,” he says.
Content creators, with mass following, have huge potential to influence people. “Their opinions and ideas on events and trends have an impact on a brand’s image,” he adds.
A recent EY survey report revealed that 64 percent marketers use social PR and influencer management to generate leads and convert users to customers. According to E-Marketer, digital advertising is a Rs 14,000 crore market right now and is expected to go up to Rs 18,000 crore in a couple of years.
Clearly, influencer marketing is the way to sell in a digital world as marketing will be integrated with subtle messages across every channel.
“We bring transparency between consumers and brands through various mediums, be it physical or in the realm of social media,” Govind says.
LWT functions as an automated influencer marketing solution provider for brands, agencies, and influencers.
“We are the bridge between consumers and brands,” he says. Brands need to reach out to consumers with their messages, be it innovation, product launches, or services, and LWT connects them to suitable influencers, brand loyalists, and content creators to send the right message to their followers.
LWT’s platform moderates content, amplifies it, and measures the results of engagement. It charges a fee for engagement. After the brand discovers influencers, the platform ensures they have a customised dashboard to access how influencers have reached out to their community. This way, the brand knows whether the branding has really worked and whether LWT’s amplification has reached the right audience.
Most startups don’t forget their first client. For LWT, this was DigitsLbi, the agency that Govind worked at before 2016. The agency brought in their clients to amplify content through LWT. This gradually led to several clients over the next year.
LWT, which has 10,000 registered influencers, now includes Maruti Suzuki Arena, Nexa, Reebok, Vivo, Dentsu Aegis Network, and Disney in its client list.
The startup, now a 30-member team, is looking to scale towards 100 employees provided it gets “more than 200 customers”.
Govind, who has invested $400,000 of his own money into his startup, did not want to divulge the profitability or revenue details.
According to an exhaustive survey carried out by Zefmo Media Private Limited, as part of their India Influence Report in 2018, an overwhelming 92 percent marketers launched at least one influencer campaign. The popularity of influencer marketing to drive brand awareness and reputation can be gauged by the insight that 89 percent of marketers have found the medium to be effective. In addition, 62 percent of businesses are planning to increase their budgetary allocation towards engaging social influencers. However, influencer marketing is still very small in India - not more than a Rs 100 crore business – as the industry itself is very nascent.
However, things are changing. At present, there are at least 30 influencer marketing companies in India. These platforms are trying to remove the noise in social media as brands want influencers with at least a 100,000 followers across all social media channels.
The biggest social media influencer is Miss Malini, founded by Malini Agarwal. The platform has raised Rs 10 crore from Orios Ventures and New Enterprise Associates. Other companies like Appiness, ChtrBox, Grapevine, Winkl, and several others are also operating in the space.
This is where, Govind believes, that the quality of the platform and the reach of their influencers can become the trump cards.
“Delivering good content for brands is the future and tech can help reach and influence the target audience. In 18 months, we hope to be the preferred platform for brands in the country,” he says.
The business of influencer marketing is a winner-takes-all market, and Govind is hoping that his focus on tech and data will help brands find influencers to give their storytelling a contemporary spin.