Alia Bhatt's YouTube channel to boost her brand value

Brands that cannot afford expensive TV campaigns can also benefit from her channel

MUMBAI: In the past few years, YouTubers across the world have managed to grab a celebrity status for themselves. Names like Bhuvan Bam, Prajakta Koli, Ashish Chanchlani have become immensely popular and have got the chance to perform with several Bollywood celebrities. Creators like Shibani Bedi and Harsh Beniwal also made their Bollywood debuts this year.

While these micro-and mini-influencers are on their way to embrace the silver screen, a star from there has shifted to the digital pedestal in a big way. Alia Bhatt, who within a career spanning over just 7 years has become a critically acclaimed star and has been getting abundant love from the fans as well, has launched her own YouTube channel on which, in her own words, she is planning to showcase her ‘unadulterated’ self.

Bhatt is already a huge star and has a massive following on Instagram and Twitter. Then why did she decide to go the YouTube way?

As per communications consultant on digital/social media marketing and PR Karthik Srinivasan the move is understandable as YouTube helps in long-form content far better than Facebook or IGTV given the SEO benefits.

Indiatimes and Lifestyle Brands at Times Internet COO Angad Bhatia says that Bhatt already has strong cultural relevance and with YouTube she can become an influential content creator in her own way.

It is not the first time that a celebrity is trying to dabble in the social media space away from conventional platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Jacqueline Fernandez has a strong Snapchat presence, and she also debuted on TikTok recently along with Shahid Kapoor, and Tiger Shroff. Sonam Kapoor has her own app where she connects with her fans sharing beauty tips and offering a sneak peek into her lifestyle. In fact, a few celebs like Ajay Devgn, Shilpa Shetty Kundra, and Priyanka Chopra have their own YouTube channels as well, but they often upload just professional stuff.

Alia, who is one of the most loved stars in the country right now, could have easily leveraged these other media as well, especially her own app. Brand-nomics’ Viren Razdan notes that apps have their own limitations and challenges and that has led to international celebs like Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift shutting down their individual apps.  

Srinivasan says, “An app demands that people install it in the first place. And unless they happen to be really big fans, they may not install the app since it has limited appeal on an everyday basis. Plus, app content cannot be discovered by casual fans and fans of specific topics they address from time to time, while a YouTube page, with well-curated titles and tags would be.”

Landor managing director Lulu Raghavan adds that an app needs very strong market machinery to promote and it is quite doubtful that people would want to add more app to their phones. Meanwhile, users are already there on YouTube and watching many forms of content and it makes it easier for discovery.

Brand guru and founder Harish Bijoor Consultants Harish Bijoor quips, “YouTube is the place to be. A magnet star with a magnet brand-name can do just so much in promoting her own app. YouTube, on the other hand, provides it all and more within a nano-second. For Alia Bhatt, it must be like saying, ‘why dig a well when you can outsource the sea?’”

Rightfully so, within just three days of the launch and just one introductory video online, Bhatt’s channel has more than 310K subscribers. Meanwhile, Sonam Kapoor’s app on Google Play Store reflects only 100K+ downloads in three years.

Experts also believe that being on YouTube will add several points to Alia Bhatt’s already sky-high brand value.

Raghavan feels that the platform might give her an edge amongst her peers and it is possible that she emerges as the next global star from India after Priyanka Chopra.

“Of course, her primary brand value will be based on her roles and how well her movies perform. But if shares genuinely interesting and useful content besides, she could considerably enhance her brand value,” says Srinivasan.

“An active medium definitely helps build your influencing power and has the potential to strengthen conversations. If curated well, it could build her value immensely,” adds Razdan.

Bhatia adds, “This new generation of celebrities is very social media friendly. They know how to convert excessive social scrutiny to their benefit. More visibility is important for a top of the mind recall and higher brand value. Different media and social platforms ensure just that.”

Also, brands can come forward to leverage in this new side of Bhatt’s social media presence. The actress is already associated with prominent brand names like Caprese, Frooti, Garnier, and Nokia and her venture into this new domain might open up other big opportunities.

Srinivasan mentions that this will especially help brands that cannot afford expensive TV media. Her YouTube channel could be their first big media push if the target audience is appropriate.

However, Raghavan points out that this is the one area in which Bhatt will have to tread carefully. “If she has authenticity then she should only promote those brands that she truly believes in. It shouldn’t become another value for sales pitches as that can easily backfire. But if she can track it (the products) beautifully in the narrative of her life, the word of mouth of a celebrity is extremely fast.”

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