Identifying India’s influencers

The digital age has bought an explosion of influencers across a range of different channels. In India, these complexities are emphasised by a strong regional media and a vast number of vertical market influencers.

The challenge of planning communication campaigns has never been more important, and never been more complex.

Nitin Mantri, CEO, Avian WE says “The planning of PR in India is becoming integrated. The traditional PR firm is dying. Today brands are constantly in motion. Culturally we are seeing a dramatic shift in different markets, including India, due to digital transformation. PR firms are best suited to guide brands through this constant churn because we understand engagement and content. PR firms now have so much to offer across owned, paid and earned media. We are integrating PR, PA and digital in our campaigns, and making ourselves relevant to CMOs, policy heads, CCOs, and also the new media.”

How have PR professionals changed the way they plan their communication campaigns?

India’s PR sector has undergone the same shifts seen in the industry globally, with PR becoming more comprehensive and integrated than ever before.

The sector is moving from a “broadcast” model to an “engagement” model and PR firms are now working on integrated communication models to share knowledge and findings to help create engaging content. From being heavily invested in one-way communication, two-way dialogue has become extremely important.

As Cision’s Vlad Bazikalov, head of sales, Emerging Markets/ EMIA at Cision says “The Indian PR industry has evolved beyond just media relations and journalist outreach. PR campaigns are now planned in a much more integrated way to ensure they reach desired audiences as quickly as possible. These audiences range from bloggers to analysts, industry experts and other stakeholders.”

Mantri adds, “100 percent of consumer campaigns include influencers compared to around 50 per cent for B2B campaigns. However at least 80-90 percent of B2B campaigns include key opinion leaders (KOLs) and these may not be social media influencers.”

In India, which type of influencers are the most searched for by PR professionals?

Stats given to PRmoment by Cision show an interesting trend on which vertical markets India communications professionals are planning their campaigns.

Cision’s Bazikalov continues: “According to our clients’ campaign stats in India and emerging markets, we see a higher demand from them to connect and communicate with influencers in the health, new technology, FMCG, entertainment and finance sectors. They are looking to create campaigns with a synergy between traditional journalists and social media influencers.”

PRmoment asked Bazikalov whether there was a planning trend away from salaried journalists towards social media influencers within their data: “While communicators are beginning to discover the right social media influencers, age-old, proven journalist influence remains hugely important to their role.”

“India is one of the few growth markets for print media, so journalists still hold a lot of sway. Print continues to remain the most credible source of information, despite the fact that most people now consume news from social media. Even though PR strategies are evolving to have digital at their core, getting print coverage is still the Holy Grail.”

As this Economic Times article points out, brands in India are becoming more wary of how they engage with influencers.

However, transparency is starting to prevail in the market. Bazikalov believes this is because “brands want to use information gathered from digital and social touch points to gain better customer insights, improve customer experience and to initiate new product development.”

How does the Cision Communications Cloud help PR professionals find the right influencers?

The Cision Communications Cloud is a leading, global one-stop-shop platform designed to the needs of a modern PR professional from any type of organisation with both international and local target audiences.

PRs can select and filter target influencers from our 1,650,000-strong influencer database. Communicators can filter according to writing topics, recent articles, job title, geographical locations, level of activity, media and a range of other criteria.

A journalist profile on the Cision Communications Cloud

The platform also allows corporate communications professionals to monitor influencers, ensuring they can both identify and reach out to the correct influencers at the right time, an important aspect in corporate communications.

What type of influencer coverage does the Cision Communications Cloud have in India?

The platform’s 1.6 million global media contacts. In India specifically, Cision has data for around 12,000 media contacts - covering languages including English, Hindi, Tamil and Gujarati - from various sectors in India.

Bazikalov adds, “We make sure that the influencers who join our cloud are genuine, with all information kept up-to-date. The influencers themselves provide the information and keep it updated, meaning that they receive information which is relevant to them.”

Top tips when using The Cision Communications Cloud to find influencers?

  • Know your target media audience to help use the platform effectively to influence the influencers. If you know who you want to reach, this will both save time and help to build relationships with target media, and gain a strong competitive advantage in your markets.

  • One of the most important issues plaguing comms professionals is how to identify fake or negative news and take corrective action. The platform's 'talking about' section can be greatly helpful in managing the crisis of credibility and perception for brands by allowing you to see who is covering the issue and then contact them to share your side of the story.

Hear from Cision's Abe Smith, President EMIA, speaking at the Public Relations & Corporate Communications India Summit (PRAXIS) taking place on 28 and 29 September at HICC, Hyderabad. Abe will share his expertise on how to measure the power of your PR campaigns using technology, and the Cision team will be giving live demos of the Cision Communications Cloud®. 

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