CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Ms. Ramya Ramachandran, Founder & CEO, Whoppl
- Tell us about Whoppl’s journey so far?
As the boom of digital media grappled all of us, we were quick to realize the gap of creative influencer led marketing agencies in the market. While there have been influencer agencies and talent management agencies but a content driven influencer marketing agency which works as an intermediary between the brand and the influencers, understanding the brief as well as the influencers’ persona, we primarily focus on shaping the brands narrative to audiences in a way they can relate & resonate to/with.
We started off by catering to just one category initially with a handful of influencers and today not only have we worked with brands across categories but have also diversified into creating content at scale and live commerce and shoppable videos. Making 800+ hours of content, 100+ campaigns & 5000+ influencers from the ecosystem.
- What are the services offered by Whoppl? What is the best way to create value brands?
Whoppl is a new age digital first influencer content marketing agency, where we come up with creative campaigns for brands across digital platforms.
We have 3 main verticals-
- Creating content at scale – our creator led in-house content hub where we work hand in hand with influencers to create relatable content, giving them an opportunity to work with some of the most loved brands in India that appeal to a vast majority of the target audience around the world, waiting for the influence to kick in!
- Influencer marketing campaigns/strategy – Here we pick and choose influencers best suited to the brand tone and creative brief and build on a campaign that is customized, insightful and filled with key notes from our influencer network!
- Live commerce – In a ‘like minds coming together’ we have partnered with a live commerce platform making the consumer’s shopping experience one of a kind, immersed with quirky content right from browse to purchase.
I believe the first and foremost step to create value for brands is to understand their tonality, brand values and language of course, pertaining to which then influencers are to be handpicked and content is made to fit giving the brand all that it wants but also more as you dive deeper into brand psychology.
- How do you see the landscape of influencer marketing changing in the coming years especially in India?
I would say the pandemic most definitely changed consumption patterns, there has been a significant increase in screen time. As per research, India currently has over 448Mn active social media users who on an average spend 2 hours & 25 minutes everyday, a majority of them being Gen Z, Influencer marketing has surely become all the more relatable and topical today as it comments on real life experiences with brand integration becoming more seamless and personal which works better to plug in brand mandates as well as gives the brand a chance to build a personal connection with their audience. So not only is the influencer marketing landscape rapidly growing it is now constantly changing with newer platforms and formats taking shape such as with Live shopping, AI Influencers, podcasts and more.
- How the state of the Creator Economy is Thriving
The creator economy has grown tremendously over the recent years. As per Forbes, around 50 million people today identify themselves as “creators.” Marketers are investing more towards content creator partnerships to take hold of this growing opportunity. The creator economy is only expected to grow and thrive moving ahead.
As the creator economy takes momentum, The Whoppl Influencer Network has also been launched with a simple yet insightful thought to help influencers and brands alike, collaborate with each other seamlessly in a ‘win-win’ experience. It is an incubator of influencers that aids brands reach a wider audience and increase their credibility whereas, brands provide influencers with a platform to create labels and content they have been dreaming of all along.
WIN’s incubator model has been carefully designed, keeping in mind three core aspects,
- Co – creation – wherein influencers will be able to co-create labels of their own along with brands, collaborating with each other on designs, creative content as well as the product/service marketing and sales.
- Co- Ownership – wherein the influencer will own his/her label under the branded label and will be able to build their brand as per their persona and liking, in short the influencer becomes a creative business partner, who will be the heart and soul of the brand and will be running it independently.
- Co- Curation – Here the Influencer will collaborate with the brand for a short period of time to curate a limited edition of products and services based upon their unique persona.
- What is the role that technology plays in disrupting influencer marketing?
Over time a lot of platforms have come into the space that have democratized the strategy by building an open marketplace of sorts wherein brands can meet and engage with influencers directly.Brands can now use a marketplace to directly engage a mid-level influencer with a following of hundreds (or even tens of thousands) rather than pursuing huge influencers with millions of followers. Smaller brands may find the prospect more tempting due to the potential price reduction
- What are some of the biggest challenges that the company has faced so far?
In terms of challenges I believe we have the first mover’s advantage and have been able to carve out a niche for ourselves with content being at the core of what we do. But, with the recent creator economy boom, there is a lot of competition in the digital space and having an edge over the competition and staying true to our niche by creating clutter breaking content is what keeps us going.
- What is the power of content to make or break a brand
I believe how creative your content is can make or break your brand. How you position your product/brand, there are hardly any products that are extremely new and one of a kind but that does not mean you can’t stand out of the crowd. It’s all about creating a brand niche for yourself and positioning yourself in a way that aligns with your brand tonality, values and of course appeals to your audience at large.
I also think having a social mission for your brand today is very important. When there is a strong social mission, you tend to attract more people from the community almost instantaneously. There might be people who don’t even believe in the social cause entirely but because this one person follows it and believes in it, they also want to be associated with the brand and have a fondness towards it. Another great way to build a community I believe is the old school method of open and honest communication, you can never go wrong with it. Talking to your community through a consumer’s standpoint, wherein you take their feedback and integrate them into actionable future plans, is the best way of letting your customers know you hear them and are here for them. It is about getting their authentic and constructive input and then improvising on the go. So making them an active part of your brand community wherein they feel they are brand ambassadors of sorts. These are more or less all of the techniques we all can follow as brands trying to reach out to a wider base of audience in an honest attempt.
- During the next year, how will you add value to your community?
We have diversified with time, not only adding brands to our portfolio but also offering more services. Right from creating content at scale to live commerce, we are now slowly diversifying and tapping right into the creator economy wherein we give creators a chance to monetise by brand collaborations through their own labels and creations which further opens up more opportunities. Constant diversification, exploration and expansion is most definitely a part of the plan. So while we are still focused on our niche of creating content driven influencer marketing campaigns, we are also diving into live commerce, an attempt to provide end to end solutions. Further we are also looking at creating more influencer led performance campaigns, heading towards a more data driven approach.