Wonderful Insights On Influencer Marketing With Aarushi Sethi From Pollen

19 May, 2020 (Tuesday)

We had the opportunity to have a chat with Aarushi Sethi, the Director of Pollen, an influencer marketing agency under the ZOO MEDIA NETWORK and she had some interesting insights to share with us. Having been in the industry for barely a year, Pollen has already acquired a notable list of clients under its belt. We went on at length about their journey and their steep climb up the social media ladder during the interview in the hope that others can learn something valuable and adapt it into their own strategy.


Here is how it happened.

Q1) Tell us about Pollen, the influencer marketing agency of Zoo Media Network.

An ‘influencer marketing agency’ almost seems like a placeholder for the vision of Pollen. For us, the mission of Pollen is to cultivate and nurture new age creators and build creator eco-systems.

We’re of the strong belief that the influencer industry is in its early stages of growth, and between now and maturity, a lot of things will evolve and change. We’re hoping to be the change-maker which works across the business ambitions of both – brands and creators. The innate abilities of Pollen, married with the network’s abilities across creative, data, technology and media, gives us a unique standing in this otherwise transactional “influencer ecosystem”.

In a nutshell, Pollen helps in providing data-backed creator solutions for our clients while also helping the creators use data and category insights to build their personal brands.

Q2) How do you identify the right influencer to communicate the brand message reaching out to the respective target audience?

Identification & organization are the key pillars to building successful campaigns. We call this process “Germinate” where we assess, consult and strategize with the right influencers for varied objectives.

We use a combination of market and proprietary tools that give us comprehensive details about each influencer and their audience. We pay close attention to factors like: the authenticity of their audience, the male/female ratio, geographic spread, age split, the marital status, their growth rate, engagement rate, their professions, interests and affinities.

We also marry this with factors like sentiment analysis and frequently asked questions on the influencer’s profiles through listening tools to ensure we curate the best list of influencers along with the right content suggestions that work for their audiences.

Q3) When most brands have to revise their social media strategy due to such an unprecedented time, how does Pollen leverage influencer marketing during a pandemic?

This pandemic has led to a staggering rise in the consumption of digital content. People have a lot more time at their disposal and hence are looking at creators for content ranging from DIY to recipe videos, home fitness workouts to beauty routines.

Discovering the right products is mostly influenced by the people we know and trust. What better way to find brands than from the recommendations of real people with similar lifestyles?

At Pollen, we work with the brand to focus on consumer culture, by creating a role for the brand in the consumer’s life during this pandemic. Basis the objectives, the category & the product, this could vary from leveraging existing communities to repurposing branded content which fits into this ‘new normal’.

Q4) Tell us about the recent Influencer Marketing campaign done by Pollen during the lockdown.

We’ve fulfilled various briefs across brands. For brand awareness campaigns such as #BeScreenReady for Gulabari & #SalonLikeGlow for Fem Creme Bleach we’ve capitalized on current trending formats. For social driven campaigns, we recently collaborated with Divya Dutta for Emami Healthy & Tasty’s #CookForOurHeroes, where we shot an emotionally driven video using a smartphone.

During the lockdown, Mother’s Day was the most prominent spike that we’ve seen from a Moment Marketing standpoint. We did 2 clutter breaking campaigns – #MummyWaliFeeling used Instagram DMs as a tool to reach out and engage with our community while #RealJuiceMocktail for Real Fruit Power showcased kids celebrating their Mom’s with mocktails and surprise videos.

  1. #BeScreenReady for Dabur Gulabari

2. #CookForOurHeroes for Emami Healthy and Tasty

3. #RealJuiceMocktail for Real Juice

4. #MummyWaliFeeling for Kellogg’s


Q5) Take us through your conceptualization and execution about the new Moment Marketing campaign done for FEM starring bloggers.

Our brief was to create a salon at-home experience with a fun, trendy and young vibe. We were aware of the success of social media challenges and were sure we wanted to use this concept in this campaign.

Our team of data analysts highlighted the #PassTheBrushChallenge as one of the biggest trends on social media within Fem’s target group. We knew we had to act on this fast and be the first brand that leveraged this challenge. Once we got the approvals from the brand, we planned detailed storyboards and shot sample videos for the influencers.

The editing team at The Rabbit Hole (Zoo Media’s video solutions agency) did a fantastic job of putting the content together. I personally now believe that taking editing instructions over video calls qualifies as an additional skill.

To summarize the execution of the campaign, we had 48 hours to collaborate with 5 beauty influencers who had not participated in any trending challenge during the lockdown. Coordinating their looks, ‘wardrobe’ (they wore their own clothes) and planning the logistics of 5 self-shot videos. With no crew and the nature of the video being synchronised, we had to meticulously plan for the shoot, thinking of every detail.

With the video garnering 30,000 views in just the first fifteen minutes we knew our strategy and hard work had paid off. Not only, were we the first brand to leverage this #PassTheBrushChallenge but also managed to build relevance for the brand in the minds of their consumers.

Fem – #SalonGlowAtHome


Q6) How impactful are micro-influencers to effectively communicate the brand message?

Micro-influencers are like an approachable subset of users who resonate at peer levels with consumers. Hence, depending on the objectives, their relatability sometimes wins over the popularity of larger influencers. And this transparency certainly resonates with people. Influencers with 1,000 to 5,000 followers have the highest engagement at almost 9% on an average.

At Pollen, we believe that in India, the true potential of micro-influencers lies in their ability to create vernacular content. With a country so diverse, the power of digital content customization can only be achieved through these regional influencers.

Also, this pandemic has led to the rise of a completely new set of micro-influencers. The priority towards health and wellness has resulted in the emergence of new influential figures, like doctors, therapists, government officials, financial advisors, mental health advocates, and medical experts.

Q7) In terms of ad spends, what does Pollen’s marketing budget look like during Covid-19?

Covid-19 has affected all brand budgets, but Influencer Marketing seems like a viable option for them to continue to be relevant and top of mind. While the budgets have dropped significantly, we’re still picking up projects in the range of 5-25 lakhs.

Q8) Tell us about Pollen’s upcoming/ongoing projects.

We’re currently working on the on-going Netflix show ‘Behensplaining’ which releases weekly on the platform’s Youtube channel. We coordinate with the witty influencers Kusha Kapila and Srishti Dixit.

Apart from this, we are working with Kellogg’s, Dabur, Hershey’s, Huawei, SanDisk, McCain, Sofy and Amazon on a few upcoming campaigns.I don’t think we’re in a position to disclose more details at the moment.

Q9) What are some of the influencer marketing trends we will get to witness in the future?

There’s a popular saying that 2020 is cancelled. While some may see the humour in this, I think it’s going to give us a huge opportunity to think laterally. The content game as we knew it, has changed for the foreseeable future. We need to re-think it completely and adaptability is imperative.

TikTok, one of the newest social media platforms, reached two billion downloads in April 2020, not to mention, it has seen the highest user engagement amongst all social media platforms.

Also as the production of TVC’s has stopped completely during the lockdown, brands can’t shoot glamorous campaigns at the moment with celebrities. The power of an influencer’s authentic voice is carrying a lot more weight. People are responding positively to content reflecting their real struggles during the lockdown. We are going to see a lot more UGC/self-shot content; collaboration videos between influencers and even see an increase in social initiatives supported by influencers.

About Zoo Media

Zoo Media is a homegrown media network of 7 agency brands. It includes the flagship digital agency FoxyMoron; creative technology agency Phosphene; ‘The Content Burrow’ and video first agency The Rabbit Hole; the influencer, creators and talent management vertical Pollen; long-form content hub Mammoth Studios, recently acquired core technology services & products agency Noesis.Tech and the consulting arm Doyen Oink.

About Pollen

Pollen is a full-service influencer marketing ecosystem which cultivates and nurtures new age creator and creator eco-systems. Led by Aarushi Sethi, the agency established in 2019 is a part of the Zoo Media Network. Pollen germinates data-backed solutions to identify the right influencer for brands and cultivates, creator image management using data and category insights to build their personal brands.

Pollen’s notable list of clients includes Gulabari, Fem, Real, Burger King, Hershey’s Kisses, Sofit Kellogg’s, Maybelline, Chinese Wok, Wok to Walk, Pulse, Chingles, ABC, Gillette Venus, NYX, Celio, Manyavar Mohey, Spaces, Sofy, OBL tiles, McCain, Netflix, Amazon, Ishq FM, Alt Balaji , Huawei, SanDisk, WD, Emami , Stonelam, Glance.