What woos brands to bloggers? Dhara Vora investigates
The buzzword in the fashion and food industry today is 'buzz'. Often, putting your brand out there, and at the earliest, is what makes or breaks a product. And the best way to do this is through social media. It's where the blogger comes in. Many of them command lakhs of followers on platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat; brands today consider it a great way to tap buyers as posts lead to the website to shop from or the company's social media handles. And though bloggers come in hordes these days, those who have been in the game have become quite the business gurus. "For one of our brand collaborations, we connected with a blogger who was in her early 20s; she might look young but had her business strategy sorted and an equally young and savvy manager to take care of her deals," a PR agent tells us anonymously.
Blogger Shivani Patil in a post at Light House Cafe
Looks and more
Looking at rate cards that this writer got her hands on revealed a perfect example of the empire that's been created for them. Cost for posts are divided into various categories — Option 1: one blog post, 2 looks, 4 photos on social media handles, cost `30,000/ Option 2: two posts on each social media handle, cost, '20,000.
A post by blogger Santoshi Shetty at Saj Resort
It's not just paid posts. Free goodies are another way to get your product featured. Based on the value of the product and the image they are aiming for, PR agents decide whom to send out the freebies too. "For the show of fashion label The Meraki Project today, I had at least 20 people wearing the brand's clothes. This led to multiple social media posts and the brand was on everyone's minds," says independent publicist, Dipika Israni.
Today, PR agents for these brands, who create the publicity campaigns, keep a separate budget for blogging activities. Candidates are chosen not just based on the number of followers but also the nature of the event. As the Internet can attract followers from across the globe, for a city-based event, this database won't help much. Which is why a meet-and-greet session with bloggers doesn't work, we are told. "Blogging is definitely a strong medium, which helps one express to a niche audience in an extremely unconventional way. It helps brands communicate their message and instantly receive feedback as well. Fashion bloggers or bloggers that cater to any other sector influence a consumer's decision to a large extent. Hence, targeting bloggers cannot be compromised over traditional brand campaigns," says Tripti Bhatia, partner, Detales Marketing and Communication.
And fashion bloggers have managed to weave in everything from food to travel in their posts to make most of the audience. Restaurants invite bloggers to shoot for their next post in their properties too and this gives them location courtesy for the post, where they get tagged, hence, leading to their social media accounts.
"Eating and drinking is a part of one's lifestyle as much as what you wear and how you look. With technology penetrating people's lives, the entertainment, F&B and lifestyle industries are tied close to each other. Thus, we invite fashion bloggers to reach the right target audience along with creating an aspirational image of a lifestyle encompassing what you should look like, where should you go and what should you eat and drink. Bloggers hold the power to shape public perception. They challenge us to determine how our work with them will help the brand become an integral part of their online conversations," says Karan Dharod, partner, Light House Café, which featured in a slew of recent posts of popular city bloggers.
Time to fuse
In the F&B industry, product launches that are design and lifestyle-based, target fashion and lifestyle bloggers as well. So, when a popular blogger tied the knot recently, one of the Instagram posts that documented the wedding was dedicated to a cold-pressed juice label. A similar strategy emerged during the recent Bento Box product launch by Shiro. The company sent meals to various fashion bloggers. "Bento Box, being trendy, is a relatively new concept and in order to make people aware about it and make them understand the concept, we turned to fashion bloggers. When they talk and recommend a particular offering, a lot of people actually follow them and try it out, helping the brand reach out to a wider set of audience," says Dhiren Pawar, brand head at Shiro, JSM Corporation.
The young, stylish, energetic approach (where creatives are taken care of by bloggers) is what helps tackle and engage the always-online consumer. "Fashion bloggers are from the new generation, and are young, enthusiastic and creative in terms of ideation and clicking photos which also helps the brand and creates the right buzz," reasons Karna Timbadia, MD, Saj Resorts, which recently featured in many wacky selfies and vacation posts of fashion bloggers on Instagram.
Apart from fashion and food, beauty is another big segment where lakhs of women log in every day to check the latest tutorial by a trusted blogger. "The reason for choosing bloggers for the promotion is that viewers can connect on a personal level. It is a feeling that one amongst us has used the product and hence buyers feel more trusted to purchase a particular product that has been blogger approved," says Falguni Nayar, founder, CEO of Nykaa.com. Nayar feels that everyone is glued onto their phones and increasing number of people get their information online anytime, anywhere. Because of its easy access to a variety of products, the Internet does play a huge role in this transformation.