TO PAY OR NOT TO PAY

WKND - - Trends New Age Reviewers -

While cash­ing in on the pop­u­lar­ity of blog­gers is a com­mon prac­tice for brands, pay­ing them to do so is not! The rea­son, as in­di­cated by most brand con­sul­tants we spoke to, boils down to the fact that the mo­ment you pay a blog­ger to re­view a restau­rant, or any other brand for that mat­ter, there is a chance it could lead to a bi­ased re­view. Ro­hin says the pop­u­lar­ity of Zo­mato has, in fact, also led to some bi­ased con­tent. “We would like to be­lieve that it isn’t a com­mon prac­tice to pay food blog­gers for their re­view of a restau­rant, and that there are blog­gers and non- blog­ging ac­tive contributors, who do this out of gen­uine passion. Hav­ing said that, with the grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of our plat­form, we have no­ticed a rise in the num­ber of peo­ple tr ying to gen­er­ate bi­ased con­tent in the in­dus­try — blog­ger or oth­er­wise. We strongly dis­cour­age the prac­tice of pay­ing any­one to gen­er­ate a pos­i­tive re­view or rating.” How­ever, many blog­gers of­ten li­aise with brands to cre­ate a cam­paign for the lat­ter that can ap­peal to their fol­low­ers and are of­ten paid for these ser­vices. The trans­ac­tional na­ture of the col­lab­o­ra­tion is usu­ally meant to be dis­closed to the fol­low­ers of the blog.

But if the blog­ging model is to be de­void of any fi­nan­cial gain, what ex­actly can a food blog­ger look for­ward to in terms of more tan­gi­ble re­turns apart from cre­ative ful­fil­ment? An­thony of­fers what is ad­mit­tedly an “un­pop­u­lar opin­ion among dig­i­tal in­flu­encer agen­cies, but is main­stream among most mar­ket­ing agen­cies and brand man­agers”. Putting it suc­cinctly, he says, “An in­flu­encer is good for your brand, but you don’t ‘ need’ one. Your cus­tomers are your big­gest in­flu­encers. One happy cus­tomer will do far more good to your so­cial clout than an in­flu­encer you pay thou­sands of dol­lars to. I would per­son­ally, as a brand­ing pro­fes­sional, cre­ate a more in­te­grated buyer jour­ney that in­cludes un­paid in­flu­encers ( my hap­pi­est cus­tomers who are fairly ac­tive on so­cial me­dia), per­haps one paid in­flu­encer who has sig­nif­i­cant clout in my in­dus­try and the re­main­ing chan­nels in my mar­ket­ing mix. It is about en­sur­ing the cus­tomer sees a full, clearer buyer jour­ney us­ing var­i­ous chan­nels and touch­points and not just one high- pro­file per­son say­ing, ‘ Buy this, it’s good be­cause I say so’.”

An ar­ray of in­dus­try per­spec­tives in­di­cates that it is not all roses and peaches for the in­flu­encer mar­ket­ing model yet. Are brands test­ing the wa­ters? Or can in­flu­encers truly re­de­fine the way brands mar­ket them­selves? As the cliché goes, only time will tell!

anamika@ khalee­j­times. com

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