How did en:lyft begin its journey? How did this idea of influencer community creation occur?
en:lyft was an accidental startup back in 2018, then we initiated a deep-rooted relation with 15 influencers at that time due to our jobs. They wanted us to help them regularly. It was difficult for me to mentor them with a job in their growth and career. The idea collectively came across to other industry colleagues and me that the influencers face some industry-wide problems while dealing with the brand. When they have to talk to brands, it is too difficult for them to seek professional help. We came across a formula to manage them and take a service fee out of business we get them. This became an idea conceived en:lyft. We are based on three principles: Enable, Engage and Enhance.
They are enabling an ecosystem where influencers, brands, and stakeholders can connect with utmost transparency and engage with the influencers every day to understand their problems and help them create the content.
-Engaging with brands for them to look at trustworthy Key Opinion Leaders and brand advocates.
-Enhancing the whole experience of the brand and stakeholders' influencers to create collaborative content is not a TVC or not a normal TV commercial. These three principles are what we work.
What has been the growth path for en:lyft considering the path-breaking concept of influencer marketing and the onset of new marketing?
Influencer marketing is about influencers that mean they are humans. Technology technically enables digital platforms, search engine influencers, and marketplace platforms to resolve one problem: the brand can reach the influencer. While we use certain in-house technology to search for the right influencers, our major focus is on humanising the entire transaction and making it more personal. At the same time, many agencies were behind getting more people onboard. Our focus was humanising the concept that helped us differentiate ourselves from other transactional agencies, the major growth driver. The relationship we share with our clients or influencers helped us be with them, retain them, empathise with them during the pandemic. The relationship became a major growth driver after the pandemic.
Influencer marketing is nothing but age-old peer to peer marketing. Here you have a community telling people what he feels about that subject that will now with the social media is called a platform amplifier. It was existing that previously among the small communities now it got a bigger platform. The platform will continue to grow.
How does en:lyft continue to create an edge?
I feel we have a formula called ACE. A is for agnostic, C is for Care, and E is for Educate. This is the formula that keeps us separate. Agnostic, I would like to jog your memories to last year when Tik Tok got shut down in India. A lot of agencies that were built on the app were closed. In en:lyft, we are bullish on some platforms and some categories, but we don't want to rely on any platform so heavily or one category.
C that is Care, we care for the community we are provided, so we paid influencers as they were affected from flood, pandemic, we also ensure that all our influencers are covid protected. We got them special code insurance and distributed sanitation kits everywhere and everyone and even to our clients and stakeholders.
Finally, E is for Educate is where we constantly educate influencers on the new aspects they can grab in the workshops. We have events like en:fluence, which connects them with the marketing industry once a year. There is a healthy exchange of knowledge. We educate clients on what they have to look at in terms of marketing. The same goes out for the employees and team at en:lyft. We ensure they educate themselves. We educate them what about is happening in the industry and globally every week.
What have been your landmark moments since conceptualisation?
Since the conception of en:lyft, we have believed in smaller milestones, making them big, and reaching them. One of the biggest landmarks was when we had an adda en:fluence summit first of its kind in August 2019 where we got 300 creators from across India to Mumbai, and then we had industry stall words from companies like Reliance, Grow, Flipkart, Amazon and many others.
The second thing after one and a half years of conception, we opened our studios in Delhi in 2020, one of its kind studios where an influencer can come and shoot for free. It's free for all influencers. It's a plug and plays studio. It's a place where we sit with influencers for a healthy exchange of ideas, and content is being created keeping in mind the viewer. The third landmark for me is to battle covid with the community while making sure of our 300-influencer family.
In business terms, one of the biggest landmarks for us was to handle amazon's influencer marketing activity that was one of the first big accounts we bagged when we started. The association has been a very rewarding and huge learning experience for everyone in the team.
What are the plans, and how do you see these coming years as an Influencer marketing company?
When we look back at those three years, we have learned from our past mistakes and evolved. There are some key plans that we must further emphasise partnering with creators for newer and unique content. We will support creators with a creator fund which we launched last year, a 5-million-dollar fund. We want to focus on it promoting new creators/talent in creating unique content. We are working on strengthening our foothold in India while expanding to different cities. Also, we are looking at other markets, currently closer subcontinents. The major focus will be expanding reach vertically as well as horizontally.
Any prediction about the future trends?
The future is very bright for influencer marketing. As per the recent reports, the market is expected to be 400 million dollars industry in India. Brands have also realised the strategic ways and partnerships. Rather than using 100 to 150 influencers now, everyone would want a small set of mutually beneficial collaborations. They sign long term contracts looking at penetration with all new and short video app that has to open up. The future will witness a lot of unique content and a more contemporary audience.