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The power of virtual peer influence via social media has become stronger over the past decade, leading marketers to collaborate with influencers more than ever.

In a new regulation, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has mandated the use of tags and labels for promotional content and advised influencers to use appropriate due diligence in  their collaborations and promotions with brands. Applicable across blogs, websites, apps, social media, video streaming and television, the guidelines will act as tools for elevating the level of trust between consumers, influencers and brands. 

Will it be a game changer?

According to Mintel Global Consumer research on the holistic consumer, half of Indian Millennials agree that they enjoy engaging with brands online (eg live streaming, social media). The ASCI guidelines will help audiences distinguish between organic content and paid partnerships, in order to evaluate the product/service and their purchase decision with clarity. The mandate will help create an added sense of social responsibility within the influencer community. 

In a dramatic shift, Indian consumers have been relying on online mediums for their product knowledge and purchase decisions. Mintel Trend ‘Click and Connect’ indicates how tech devices and digital platforms are being used to connect consumers and enhance their relationships. With the ease of connection offered by phones and social networks, consumers are looking for ways to share real-life experiences virtually.

For example, MakeMyTrip launched the #MyIndia campaign in collaboration with 22 travel bloggers and influencers to encourage consumers to visit more offbeat locations within India. OPPO targeted new-age content creators with movie director Imtiaz Ali’s film shot entirely on an OPPO phone.

What we Think

Digital media content creators and influencers will further cement their place in mainstream marketing. Consumers will demand more from the influencers they trust and engage with, thereby elevating the need for brands to remain transparent, authentic and genuine in their approach. Audiences will align themselves with creators who resonate their values, thereby forming healthier and more meaningful buying experiences.

This is in line with Mintel Trend ‘Influentials’ that states consumers and marketers are leaning towards Influentials 2.0: those who’ve risen above the white noise and established themselves as voices of (amateur) authority. As social media provides a gauge for positive or negative brand perceptions, it is more essential than ever to strike a balance between harnessing tastemakers’ influence and preserving their integrity.