Ever thought about how a creator becomes an influencer? Is there a correct way for a brand to use influencers? Our weekly podcast for creators at Pepper Spotlight took a deep dive into the many unanswered questions.
We sparked a conversation with Pranav Panpalia; an influencer turned entrepreneur. His company OpraahFx works with creators as a talent management company.
We understood the clutter of the influencer marketing world and the balance of passion and income. Pranav also manages many gamers, so we dig into the world of online streaming and gaming in Indian. There is a little something for every creator in this episode.
Here are some of the significant takeaways from the episode.
Gaming In India
Pranav recalls a childhood where he was often told not to “waste time” playing games and focus on more important things.
Although Pranav works with many gamers, he is aware that the Indian market still looks at gaming as a hobby. There are not enough successful examples and role models in the market yet to make this popular.
It is because of this divide that people cannot follow a career solely in gaming. For an upcoming gamer who is still in school or college, they must not abandon education. It’s ideal for fixing a dedicated time each day to build on your passion and grow your skills.
Many people do not realize that gaming is not a lazy sport. Every pro-gamer must spend a lot of time on fitness. Sitting for hours in a fixed posture will need special attention to health and wellness.
The ban of PUBG in India was significant learning for creators. The industry realized that they have to diversify and not put all eggs in one basket. Most people who make money from PUBG were not gamers but streamers. They make their revenue from views, and followers saw these streams because PUBG was a popular game.
From Car Reviewer To Entrepreneur
Pranav’s journey started when he helped a Youtuber in Delhi shoot a video. He was merely helping and did not know much about the market or the space he was stepping into. He noticed the videos they made got over six million views. This moment made him realize there is an opportunity he can try himself.
He reached out to super-car owners to feature them in his youtube channel about cars. In just three months, he saw his following grow to over one lakh subscribers. Even with many followers, he realized there was not enough money coming from this endeavor. The ad revenue from Youtube was not as significant as they portray.
He then studies the market for wester YouTubers and deciphers their mantra to making money. This when he learned about influencer marketing as a term. He knew what he had to do, and the journey was on the way.
The Start Of Influencer Campaigns
When Pranav worked in the influencer marketing space, the market was nascent, undefined, and unexplored. Pranav was a one-person team who worked in the corner of his dad’s office.
He would spend his day exploring ideas and mailing them to people. One day, he pitched an idea to ‘Excel Entertainment’ about using online creators to promote their upcoming movie Fukrey Returns. He heard back from them to his surprise, and he magically landed his first project.
Creators wanted to work with Bollywood, and Bollywood was looking for new ways to promote its movies. This was the perfect match-making– two sides clicked. Once this happened, more movies started to think of influencers and creators as an option for promotion.
Today most production houses reach out to at least one influencer for each project. The production houses will continue to do their PR events, run ads, and do television promotions. But this was a new find and one that gives the biggest and more dedicated reach.
Influencer Marketing Today
“Before, a lot of the time was spent educating people, now you don’t need to do that,” said Pranav. There was a time when influencers were not part of a marketing strategy.
The problem with this popularity of influencer marketing is that it has become just another number game. Or, as Pranav puts it: “It becomes like a transaction.” Brands are too focused on looking at numbers and do not try to understand the work or following of each influencer and creator.
Agencies and brands fail to understand how much time, effort, and content creation goes into building a vast following. A large follower count does not always mean value for a brand.
Every company spends some amount on influencer marketing, so the numbers have gone up, but the system remains broken.
Pranav gives the example of a female influencer he recently noticed. Her comments section was a barrage of men, even a study of the follower-data would provide the exact inference. However, a brand books her for a cosmetic endorsement that is women-centric. This collaboration is a complete mismatch between the following and the brand.
A brand needs to understand some specific creators have a cult following. This means, even if they have just a tiny fanbase, those followers take the creator and their endowments at face value.
This mismatch in influencer marketing makes you look at your feed of Instagrammers and think: “this person is just always selling stuff!” It’s because both the creators and brand are making it a number game.
Secret Sauce for Artist and Their Passion
As an artist manager, Pranav’s company talks to new creators each day. According to Pranav and his company, they only manage a minimal number of creators who are serious about making content rather than host hundreds who cause revenue.
Talent is essential; what background they come from helps set them apart from the rest of the creators. This is the reason a creator should try to embrace their originality rather than emulate other artists.
The ethics they carry are also important. Managers are looking for people who will go on the long run and not just look at short-term gains and incomes.
The passion of an artist is fundamental. According to Pranav: “Whatever you are doing, do it with passion. And do this to keep achieving something that is your passion.” It’s an interconnected web that helps you keep going.
But an artist should remember that passion alone will not help. If your passion is paying your bills, go for it. Find a way to make it feasible.
Pranav gives his example, “I was passionate about cars, but not about making videos.” Merely having a passion in a domain does not mean you will ace it. All the parts of the puzzle must fall into place.
To find out more and learn the nuances of gaming and influencer marketing — check out the full episode of Pepper Spotlight And many more on the channel.