In recent years, many innovative business owners and marketing executives have realized that consumers no longer simply purchase a product or a service – they purchase a story, an experience, or a brand name that they can connect to.
This has led to an unprecedented growth of influencer marketing in India over the past couple of years.
What is influencer marketing?
In broad terms, influencer marketing is when a business hires a celebrity with a large social media following to promote one of their products through the celebrities own personal social channels.
There are a myriad of ways to advertise via social media influencers. One of the most common ways is for the influencer to write a promotion on their social media challenge where they praise the product and tell the audience how much they love using the product on a daily basis.
In India, influencer marketing has become very popular in the past few years, due to the country’s infatuation with celebrities and celebrity lifestyle.
Many smart businesses have realised this and begun to use celebrities as salespeople. Celebrities are able to persuade fans to purchase a product by virtue of their reach and authenticity.
It is therefore not surprising that the most popular brands are now directing their marketing efforts towards promotions via social media influencers. In fact, more than 57% of top beauty and fashion brands worldwide hire influencers for their marketing initiatives today.
One of the most popular groups of celebrities in India as our national athletes. Cricket players in particular have amassed huge followings on social media, and therefore, these athletes have become some of the biggest influencers in the country.
Athletes as Influencers
Athlete influencers are far more popular than your average Bollywood celebrity because athletes represent the nation in sports, and this creates a fanbase with a whole different kind of loyalty and attachment compared to an actor
According to a recent study, athlete influencers on social media generate more engagement compared to other celebrity influencers on social media.
Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Saina Nehwal, Krunal Pandya, MS Dhoni, Sushil Kumar and Virender Sehwag (among others) are just a small handful of athletes who have been promoting popular brands through their own social media profiles.
What brands are promoted by athlete influencers in India?
Generally, the brands that are promoted by athlete influencers in India cover a wide spectrum of products. However, athletes most commonly promote products that are somehow related to sports or fitness, because this is an area where they have a great deal of trust from their audience.
Here are a few examples of the biggest athletes in India and the sports brands they promote:
Virat Kohli – PUMA (a sports gear and clothing brand)
Suresh Raina – Asics (a sportswear brand)
Virender Sehwag – ComeOn India (an online betting site)
MS Dhoni – Powerade (a sports oriented energy drink)
A general commonality is that the brands above are all international brands that have looked for a way to expand into India and grow their customer base in the country.
We can reasonably expect that the practise of influencer marketing via athletes in India will continue to grow over the next 5 years, as more and more Indians are connected to various social media platforms.