Note to readers: Valued at Rs 900 crore, influencer marketing is a fast-growing industry in India. Be it brands, content creators or digital publishers, bringing them all together and curating a narrative for marketers are influencer management agencies. They are new-age agencies focused on influencer marketing. Storyboard18’s special series brings to you an exclusive behind-the-scenes view of what they do and how they work.
They started out six years ago with a production company called White Shadows where they shot films for college festivals. They themselves were anywhere between 19 and 20 years old. This is where they met people of their own age group who were into content creation. And that’s when NOFILTR came into being. At that time, influencer marketing wasn’t even a concept but the founders at NOFILTR soon realised that people were going to pick their own celebrities on social media and that social media would start following a democratic model where some people will have a lot of value and will reach a kind of stardom.
“We thought it was something we should capitalise on and we went with our gut and started NOFILTR,” said Hitarth Dadia, partner and chief marketing officer (CMO) at NOFILTR.
They started out by signing just two to three creators and grew from there.
Who are they?
NOFILTR is an influencer marketing and incubation agency that wants to build a seamless bridge between creators and brands. Their speciality, they say, is not only focusing on boosting popularity and follower count but batting for putting together original and fresh content that leads to popularity and business.
“We are a talent incubator. We believe in caring for talent, and build a holistic economy around their value,” Dadia said.
Founders: NOFILTR was founded by Sumedh Chaphekar and 26-year-old Hitarth Dadia, now partner and CMO, began his journey in the organisation as a sales intern.
Employees: 70-odd members.
Growth: For NOFILTR, growth is measured by the number of people they get to work with. From an agency that started with just about two influencers, they now work with 40 exclusive creators.
Key clients (Brands): Amazon, Flipkart, YouTube, L’Oréal, among many others
Key clients (Influencers): Aashna Hegde, Anam Darbar, Angry Prash, Awez Darbar, Dhruv & Shyam (Funcho), Manav Chhabra (mr.mnv), Nagma Mirajkar, to list a few.
In an interaction, Dadia broke down the day-to-day functions of the agency, what brands want, how they guide content creators, and more. Edited excerpts:
What’s your best work?
When we started, we got a creator a deal that was worth Rs 50,000 for a collaboration. Five years back, this was an unheard-of number. Setting that benchmark for us, the creators and the brands has been a great achievement for us.
That apart, we have developed and on boarded talents like Awez Darbar, Nagma Mirajkar, Mr. MNV, themermaidscales (Krutika), amongst others. That, in my opinion, is one of our best achievements.
If we talk of campaigns, we did a great collaboration with Cadbury when they launched their Cadbury Dairy Milk Turkish Delight. They flew a couple of our creators to Turkey for the launch and some amazing content came out of that campaign. We are proud of what we could get out of just one campaign.
What is NOFILTR Escape?
Content creators’ lives revolve around creating valuable content and you cannot do that while being based in just one location and you will have to venture out at some point in time. That’s where we got the idea that these people are lifestyle creators and need to have a certain lifestyle where they promote that lifestyle or show the true value of it. With that we started NOFILTR Escape. The idea of NOFILTR Escape is that influencers get to travel to these exotic international locations and share their experience with their audience. Basically, we get either a brand or tourism or other partners on board so that the influencers don’t have to spend for everything. It’s all taken care of and essentially they get to bring a small part of the culture from that country or location back with them and it has really worked out well for us. I believe we have done a total of nine NOFILTR Escape episodes so far and every time creators go for an Escape or are on an Escape and come back, we can clearly see the difference it makes on their social media platform and in general also their value rises significantly.
What are the biggest challenges in the industry at the moment and how is NOFILTR dealing with them?
The biggest challenge is helping a content creator find their niche and also carve out their own niche in the market. Being a creator or an influencer shouldn’t feel like a mainstream job but rather a space where they can create something original and express themselves. In the content creation space, people have fought really hard to get their voice heard, and we strive to make sure our creators never burn out and always thrive in crafting something special.
What are the biggest opportunities you see and how is NOFILTR preparing for it?
For now, all I can say is—stay tuned for big things! On how we are preparing for it, at NOFILTR, all of us know that if our work is good, people will talk about us and want to collaborate with us.
What are the top trends that will change the ecosystem?
Individual genres are going to start sprouting and growing. Vernacular content will become a big beast in itself. Thanks to the exposure we have to this huge barrage of data around us, it will eventually help each and every one of us discover what we prefer as creators as well as consumers.
That apart, we would be seeing creators become brands. The trend has already started and it will grow from here. Creators are becoming entrepreneurs and it is just the beginning of their journey to establish themselves as products brands as well as individual human brands.
What is the next big thing and big disruption coming down the line for the industry?
This is a democratic space and out here a single person can never decide where the industry is going, the constant feedback of numerous people will dictate its direction. Feedback and engagement will become the key to all sorts of content communication and that is the direction where brands and the content industry is heading.
List three annoying things all clients do.
While I don’t have many things that annoy me when it comes to clients, I do have one small caveat, and that is about comparison. Some clients compare two different creators from diametrically opposite genres with the same yardstick, often missing out on the unique essence of their individual personalities. No two creators are the same, even within the same genre, and they need to be evaluated within their own context. This needs to be accepted and understood.
Three questions you have for influencers?
The NOFILTR team has done intensive and extensive research on this subject, and the moment we join hands with any talent, we have an in-depth questionnaire ready to be shared with them. So, any influencer/creator-related question under the sun has already found an answer at NOFILTR, and if indeed there are new ones that pop up, our creator family is more than happy to address them.