Bhuvan Bam trying to change endorsement model with his brand associations

He feels the digital world is giving brands and performers a mutually beneficial environment.

MUMBAI: The simple narrative of the marketing world is undergoing a drastic transformation right from storylines to faces. Digital has made possible what previously hadn’t even been thought of. Influencer marketing is one of the latest trends that every brand is hoping to break through. recently interacted with one of the most prominent names in the Indian influencer world, YouTuber Bhuvan Bam and his manager and business partner Rohit Raj, to understand how influencers take up brand endorsements and bring innovation to the marketing mix.

Bam feels that the digital world is giving brands and performers a mutually beneficial environment to grow. “Social media helps to market in a way that wasn’t possible earlier. Influencers like me and other YouTubers/bloggers are helping brands with targeted promotions. For instance, my audience is the youth which appeals to brands that would like to extend their products and services to that audience bridging the gap. The kind of brands that I work with have a TG of 15-35 and an association with me benefits us both. Brands can reach out to their audience and I get to associate with brands I love,” states Bam.

The Buzzoka ‘Influencer Marketing Outlook 2019’ report highlighted that 69 per cent of brands spend $50,000 per year on influencer campaigns, while 27 per cent go-ahead to spend $1,00,000.

Revealing his selection criteria, Bam said he picks brands that mirror his philosophies and brand vision (for himself). “My approach is very straight; I’m not here to do branded content. Out of say 10 brands, I usually only pick two because not all of them want me to be associated smartly. I don’t want to just be on the package of something for the sake of it, I would like to be more involved and work with brands that even resonate with my audience,” he says.

Currently, Bam is associated with six brands - Arctic Fox, Beardo, Lenskart, Mivi, Tasty treats, and Tissot. “Apart from Tissot, all the others are brand endorsements under one-year contracts. With Tissot, Bam is associated via quarterly contracts that renew every three months. Bhuvan is the first-ever brand ambassador for Mivi, Tasty Treats, and Arctic Fox bags. He is the first ever male brand ambassador for Lenskart,” Raj notes.

The duo’s focus is to ensure Bam doesn’t come across as hard-selling products but integrate the narrative in his content. Raj explains, “We are trying to change the brand endorsement model with our associations. Integrating brands in his content will be in a way that it won’t be hard-selling. Like using Lenskart glasses in his videos for his characters, wearing a Tissot watch, maybe using a backpack. In a traditional manner of endorsements, talents used to block two to three days to promote a brand and that’s about it. What we’re trying to do is change that by also adding promotional content from our channels to help the brand reach our audience as well.”

The YouTuber-turned-entrepreneur recently launched his merchandise brand Youthiapa and is willing to use this platform to benefit associated brands as well. “Youthiapa was a dream ever since I started BB Ki Vines; I always wanted to create my own merchandise. So two years ago, a few friends of mine at Youthiapa and I collaborated to create a ‘BB Ki Vines’ exclusive line just for Youthiapa. Sooner or later you’ll see a line of Youthiapa products on Lenskart. Also a separate line of Mivi headphones with caricatures of BB Ki Vines and I mean you never know, there could be character based chips for Tasty Treats,” shares Bam.

Bam’s advice on staying relevant and maintaining healthy personal growth it to not indulge in branded content just to gain followers. “I always try to do something different. Do’s would be to be authentic and original and don’ts would be to not chase brands and do too much of branded content just to earn followers. To maximise revenues and personal growth, one must first find their niche and produce minimal content as per their style. So just 100 per cent authenticity and minimal content production will get you revenues and boost personal growth,” he concludes.

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