EXCLUSIVE | MVS Murthy on the RISK in Influencer Marketing: Responsible Influencing Standards and Knowledge


We invited MVS Murthy, Head – Marketing & Digital, Tata Asset Management, a true digital expert with an illustrious two-decade career with India’s top Banking, Insurance and Broking companies in their Marketing and Digital spaces, to share his views on ASCI’s recently released draft guidelines for Influencer Advertising. And this is what MVS, the go-to person for Tata Asset Management’s Marketing and Communication strategies, came back with: a truly insightful and through-provoking viewpoint.

Read on.

There are Humans (Consumers), Infuencers (Catalysts) and Celebrities (Magnets) for brands. Formerly the influencers were “credible looking models” and “incredible celebrities” for brands who could afford to pay their endorsement fees. With the growth in media and related formats, there has been an increase in the need for content. This content needs to be created and deployed real time to keep the brand fresh.

The “influencers” have been able to make products and services more believable, as they are closer to the consumer from a behavior and attitude perspective. Its almost like a virtual buddy / role-model / guru who while not exalted, is valued for the opinion.

The Nucleus defines the atom

The reach of these folks is organic, versus that of a channel which is driven by the overall content that dictates the viewership. From a marketer’s perspective it is more cost effective in its rustic-ness to connect with audience. Besides the popularity of the influencer is a key characteristic and it needs to be growing with every unit of content released. So the question to answer is will the content creator be the core to the reach or will the channel content define the reach.

Trailing the Creator

The brands need to adapt to the core proposition of the influencer, unlike a celebrity who attempts to fit the core-proposition of the brand into his or her image and delivery style. Thus, you may have one celebrity ambidextrously swaying eye-balls for multiple brands. However some categories may need to have very high-end and involved influencers.

Specialised Influencers

Imagine a cancer-center using influencers, they will need survivors speaking about the care they received. Also, in many a case the patients are down a one way street and here you need the family to speak about the care and empathy their dear one got in a heart wrenching final journey. The Center will need to show-case stories of all kinds of possibilities to help navigate very sensitive and life changing situations.

Financial Services will need to have subject matter experts, as influencers for a particular asset class. And anyone less can back fire. Its like having a bloke who can’t fly strutting around and telling you which buttons to push.

Being Purposeful, is for everyone

So if influencers can nudge or sway the fortunes of a brand, it’s only fair that they comply with guidelines, which have come up with the growth in the influence community. I think they will find more purpose in their work and will be wanting to connect with the proposition before lending their voice / video or emojis to a brand.

Different Medicines, Different Labels

There are OTC medicines,  H-Drugs to be had under doctor’s prescription and say schedule X where the prescription  has to be stored by the chemist for some years, all drugs are labelled.

Cross-pollinating – buying out of own choice, buying basis influence OR buying due to celebrity influence, all ads to be labelled. And in that spirit the new rules and labelling of influencer content by ASCI, will bring in more responsibility on those who prescribe and consciousness on the part of those who consume the content to make relevant choices with transparent and complete knowledge of the person endorsing.  What the influencer knows is the knowledge in totality that needs to be shared.

Focus on  RISK : Responsible Influencing Standards and Knowledge

Labeling Sahi Hai. Soch samajh kar influence karen.

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