Former L’Oreal India and Hindustan Unilever executive Shalini Raghavan joined FSN E-Commerce Ventures Ltd that runs Nykaa’s beauty and fashion platforms just over a year ago. An internet-first brand, Nykaa has built digital content platforms such as YouTube channel Nykaa TV with over 1.1 million subscribers, and peer-to-peer social community Nykaa Network. Raghavan spoke to Mint about Nykaa’s digital initiatives, the influencer ecosystem in India and celebrity engagements. Edited excerpts:
Are you fuelling consumer interest in Nykaa’s beauty category or developing it as a household brand?
I don’t think the two are divorced from each other. We’ve not really built the brand by focusing on just building salience or awareness for Nykaa as a brand name. The reason we own the category of beauty in the consumers’ mind is because of how we have gone about doing it. If you look at the categories we play in, they are so under-penetrated, the opportunity is large overall. Because the category adoption is nascent, education and market development are really the job to be done.
We’ve really spent a lot of time becoming experts in this category, so it’s not just about wanting a size of the pie. We’ve basically said we’re going to invest in growing this pie in the right way. I think fundamentally Nykaa—the brand—stands for the best in class in beauty or a brand that brings me the best brands from the international world. All of this gives us a huge amount of mind space and ownership in the category.
Is there is room to build more digital content assets?
Our real intent going forward is, how do we really make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. How do we do a far more integrated job of, let’s say, running a campaign idea across all consumer touch-points; how do we integrate even better what we do, on and off the app?
We used to do a lot of static posts for Nykaa on Instagram. But, for example, last year on Instagram short-format videos or Reels, and stories became much bigger. The market is shifting, we’re adapting and doing that really well. Within these content platforms, that are seeing format innovation and more beauty and entertainment linked-content, while we’ve always done content, but we have done more of it last year.
Is the beauty influencer ecosystem still in its infancy in India?
It depends what we are we comparing it with. Ten years ago, we were saying bloggers and consumers were ahead of marketers in the country. They were looking for videos online, but there was no indigenous content. From there to now, it’s an unrecognizable market. The scale at which influencers exist and operate, there’s a huge amount of capability and traction as well as credibility with consumers. But if you compare it with some of the western markets, we are nowhere there.
We have a long way to go both in terms of the evolution of the consumer with respect to their maturity with these categories, as well as the capabilities of influencers. Not everybody who can blog might be great for a video; not everybody can do live commerce, for example.
How do you plan to nurture this ecosystem?
In the early stages, we have done workshops with some of them. When we work with influencers, many of them are very clear about their own DNA. So we give them a set of products and a creative licence to express. Or we do different sets of campaigns where we have a creative idea and we give them a broad brief. We also have an affiliate programme where we on-board established influencers and run workshops to train young influencers on how they can shoot from home, use lighting etc. We can do much more in that area, and that is a big part of our plans next year — training the next wave of influencers.
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