Exclusive Interview: Get Personalized Messages From 7500+ Celebrities Via One Single Platform! How It Works? USPs?
Imagine one single, digital platform that empowers anyone to instantly connect with 7500 celebrities, get personalized messages from them and more!
No, it’s no more a fantasy, but a viable, booming and in-demand business model.
Welcome to the amazing world of TRING!
We did an exclusive interview with Mr. Akshay Saini, CEO & Co-Founder of TRING and asked him more about the features of TRING, and how it works..
Here are the major highlights from this exclusive interview:
Tell us about TRING and the idea behind its inception?
TRING is the largest celebrity engagement platform in India with over 7000 celebrities where fans connect, and interact with their favourite celebrities through personalised celebrity videos, DMs on Instagram, and live video calls.
As a celeb-crazy country, there are billions of people who are starstruck by their idols. Growing up in Mumbai, we were aware about the strong allure that fandom held, and the difficulty in accessing celebrities and engaging with them. The advent of social media changed that by bringing them closer to their fans. However, there was a lack of personalization in that. And often, we would notice that most of them just wanted a ‘hi’ back, or a birthday/anniversary wish from their idols. We also realized that there was no way, apart from sheer luck, that a celebrity would be able to see this among the millions of messages, and respond in time, to make their fans’ day a little more special.
We identified that there’s a market gap where it’s difficult for fans to have bilateral interactions with their favourite celebrities. While social media brought them on the same platform, TRING introduced the platform that takes Indian fandom to a new level.
What is the major reason behind introducing TRING as a celebrity engagement platform and what were the challenges you faced in the initial years?
The most critical aspect of founding TRING has been to bridge the gap between a fan and their dream celebrity. With this, we set out to launch in February, last year, and since March 2020 – the pandemic induced lockdown brought everything to a standstill. TRING was no different and we too faced similar issues and challenges, especially as we had just commenced our operations. A lot of our original plans had to be revisited and rebuilt from scratch to accommodate this unforeseen circumstance. Things like hiring the right people for the right roles and enabling them to work remotely also became a high priority.
In the initial stages, as celebrity engagement platforms were a new concept in India, finding investors who believed in us and raising capital was a challenge as they were skeptical, given the unprecedented situation. Getting celebrities to partner with us was also one of the challenges during this period, as not many were aware of digital celebrity engagement platforms.
However, we persevered through this and concentrated on recruiting and enabling a motivated team to work on the platform and strengthen our technology backbone. We also started raising awareness about the concept of celebrity engagement by showcasing the high adaptability and popularity amongst the fans. Towards the 2nd and 3rd quarter of the year, we had managed to not only raise funds but our investors also got aligned with the platform’s increasing engagement numbers and long-term potential.
What is the business model of the platform?
TRING is a tech-enabled celebrity engagement platform where fans request their favourite celebrity to send a personalised video shoutout, Direct Message on Insta, or live video call to them. Fans visit the TRING website, select their preferred celebrity’s profile from the list of over 7000+ celebrities, write the message, and complete the booking (various payment options provided). It’s that simple, convenient, and fun. Majority of our orders are processed as quickly as within 24 hours, unless of course the celebrity has declined it due to travel or health issues. In that case, the payment is refunded completely. It’s not just fans who utilize the services of the platform. A plethora of corporates, MSME’s and start-ups have leveraged the celebrity engagement services for driving product efficacy, brand salience, etc.
What is your perspective towards the growth of celebrity engagement platforms in the industry? Explain the role of Covid in the growth journey of these platforms (Include some growth stats of your business too)
Being an entrepreneur is tough and doing it during a pandemic situation did not make life any easier. However, we were fortunate to be involved in a digital venture, and having the support of our mentors as well as our early employees, who championed through the pandemic in spite of all challenges, to help us get where we are today
We were also one of the first celebrity engagement platforms in India, and spreading the awareness of what celebrity engagement platforms are and how they operate was tough, since we couldn’t meet people and explain, both investors as well as consumers from our social circles. But the silver lining was that virtual gifting took off during the pandemic as people couldn’t step out of home or meet like they regularly would, owing to social distancing.
And people want to provide a memorable experience that lightens up the day of your loved one during these uncertain times. Hence, people chose TRING and wanted to make genuine memories of a lifetime for themselves or their loved ones.
How celebrity engagement platforms are becoming a favorite marketing strategy among brands to promote their campaigns online
Celebrity engagement platforms are recently gaining a lot of popularity amongst brands for engaging with celebrities for brand endorsement or brand promotion. Brands’ engagement with TRING’s platform makes the celebrities both accessible and affordable. We receive about 80-100 business enquiries per day from businesses across the country where these brands request TRING to connect them to celebrities across genres. We have seen 75% of our enquiries coming from smaller towns.
We heard about your different services to brands, corporates, etc. Please explain in brief
Brands/Corporates can leverage TRING’s platform in various ways. They can integrate with celebrities for brand endorsements, brand testimonials, product launch, product unboxing, live engagement with employees, motivation sessions, masterclasses, etc. through the 7000+ celebrities that are on the platform.
With the right use of celebrities for brands, brand saliency / sales has almost always provided companies > 5-10X growth.
With over 7000 celebrities on TRING, we are currently India’s largest celebrity engagement platform. Our vision is to bring fans closer than ever to their celebrity of choice. Going forward, we look to cement our leadership position, upscale our services to give a seamless user experience to our fans, brand partners and celebrities. Always looking to enhance the user experience, our long- term goal is to be a one-stop shop and the first port-of-call for all digital celebrity engagement service requirements that one can think of.
We also want to aggressively expand our reach in tier 2, 3 and 4 markets. Our next plan is to expand our technology, onboard more celebrities and introduce newer service offerings and initiatives so that we can enhance engagement on the platform. We are hopeful that by December 2021, we will be able to onboard 20,000 celebrities on our platform.