Home / News / India /  In lockdown, brands leverage influencers

Television actor and Instagram influencer Shruti Seth took to Instagram to promote Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s janata curfew and stay-at-home message in a video post. The actor, who has over 380,000 followers, is seen cleaning her home using Dyson India vacuum cleaner, while promoting self quarantine and subtly plugging the brand by talking about keeping surroundings clean.

With ad productions and shoots on hold, brands have been pushed to work more with content creators and influencers as the engagement levels on social media are at their peak across platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. Brands across categories are increasingly leveraging digital influencers, leading to a 25% growth in influencer marketing activities amid the lockdown to stem the Covid-19 spread.

With entertaining and engaging content across categories such as FMCG, health and hygiene, and personal care, e-commerce and lifestyle brands are tapping digital platforms such as YouTube, TikTok and Instagram to raise awareness around Covid-19, post challenges, games, tutorial and self-care videos and posts to connect with consumers.

“In fact, campaigns have become more personal and subtle in nature as not many brands want to directly associate with a product they offer but are associating with the experience the product brings during such heavy times," said Ashutosh Harbola, founder of influencer marketing company Buzzoka.

The top campaigns being created are largely around health and hygiene from Covid-19 awareness, importance of handwashing, sanitizing and keeping oneself healthy.

RB India-owned hygiene brand Dettol, for instance, has been running #HandWashingChallenge campaign on TikTok that has garnered over 18 billion views and generated over 123,000 user participation videos since 14 March. The campaign also leveraged Bollywood influencers such as Kartik Aaryan and Urvashi Rautela.

“Influencers help to give a campaign momentum. These are the people who consumers tend to listen to and follow. If they give a message out in the right way, it definitely gives a brand enough momentum," said Pankaj Duhan, chief marketing officer of RB Health South Asia.

Multiple brands are also creating content on ways to increase efficiency and better manage work from home, self care tips and fitness videos. Reebok India, for instance, is actively working with celebrity fitness trainer and Yasmin Karachiwala and brand ambassador Katrina Kaif to create small 'Workout from home' videos on Instagram and Facebook.

Grooming brand for women Gilettee Venus has collaborated with YouTube star Prajakta Koli to promote grooming at home amid the lockdown. Koli has posted about self care routine using Gilettee Venus range which works with water as well.

Shrenik Gandhi, chief executive and co-founder at digital agency White Rivers Media noted that brands must avoid blatant promotions and anything which might require people to move out. He added that brands will also have to rewrite the rules of content and navigate their content briefs around the situation, while being responsible enough not to exploit the situation.

"The briefs have to genuinely care for consumers and their well being while trying to explore if there is a possibility of sales, without being pushy at all," he added.

The onus will equally be on celebrities to take responsibility of the content they create said Tik Tok influencers Bhavin Bhanushali, Sameeksha Sud and Vishal Pandey who run the Teen Tigada channel.

"This is the time we want to create responsible content. We have recently created awareness videos #LifebuoyKarona in collaboration with Lifebuoy. We aim to create as much awareness on the need of washing hands regularly as possible and urge people to come together to fight the current crisis," the trio said.

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