Interview With Harsh Pamnani & Manish Pandey, Authors of 'Booming Digital Stars'
on Apr 05, 2022
Harsh is a storyteller by passion and a brand expert by profession. He earned his B.E. in Computer Engineering from IET-DAVV, Indore, and his MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur. His bestselling book series Booming Brands, was widely acclaimed by eminent academicians, Indian government leaders, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Harsh also writes for various business publications, including Forbes. He has worked variously with think-tanks like the World Bank, corporates like Deloitte, and start-ups like FirstCry. He also teaches Branding at MBA colleges like MICA, Ahmedabad, and is a popular speaker at fora such as TEDx, Google Business Group, Josh Talks, IIT, and IIM.
Manish is a much sought after brand consultant, social media evangelist, and mentor to new-age digital brands and Influencers. He is currently part of the leadership team at Josh Talks, one of India's largest and fastest-growing impact platforms.
Ques - You’ve been writing books on Brands. However, ‘Booming Digital Stars’ emphasises the exponential growth of the Creator Economy, a must-read for any digital creator. Why did you decide to collaborate with Manish Pandey on this concept?
Harsh started the Booming series a few years back, in which he covers the inspiring journeys of new-age Indian brands. In the past, he has written Booming Brands Volume 1 and Volume 2. Manish suggested that the way Harsh writes on start-up brands, he should also think about writing on single-person brands or personal brands, especially from the context of Creator Economy. So, Harsh extended the scope of the Booming series and came up with Booming Digital Stars.
We’ve found many benefits to writing as a duo. Both of us have complementary skills and different spheres of influence. So in a way, coming together helped us share the load and doubled our abilities and reach. Everything worked in our favour because we both had a shared dream and were equally passionate about it.
Ques - How did you get the idea of penning down on the ‘India’s Creator Economy’ subject?
The Creator Economy features small businesses centred around independent content creators such as video bloggers, writers, comedians, musicians, etc., who monetize themselves, their skills, and their creations on the Internet. Today, youngsters are being drawn to become content creators the way they were once attracted to becoming engineers, doctors, and lawyers.
There have been many books written about becoming the CEO of a large corporation or creating a fast-growing start-up, and business schools teach how to analyse and manage large businesses. But it is hard to find a book or business school course on creating and managing a single-person brand in an emerging Creator Economy. Hence, to fill the void, we wrote this book.
Ques - Most enticing factor of this book is that every inspiring story ends with steps on how to create a personal brand and different perspectives from each creator. Which key factors did you consider in writing all digital creator stories?
Many people would know these famous content creators and what they have achieved. But people would not know why these creators started this journey when it was not a proven career and how did these creators achieve growth when a blueprint didn’t exist. We wanted to bring out these hidden aspects.
In this book, you will find 11 stories of leading Indian creators and gain insights on:
1. How had they started from scratch?
2. How had they achieved popularity in a highly crowded and competitive market?
3. How did they identify new ideas for content creation and brand collaboration?
Ques - How exactly do readers resonate with this book? What were your thoughts while writing ‘Booming Digital Stars’?
The size of the Creator Economy is humongous, and the available opportunities immense. However, the chances of creators getting lost in the crowd are higher than getting noticed. Though the market is crowded, India has seen the rise of an entirely new breed of first-generation creators who have established powerful personal brands. The lessons captured in these stories will help aspiring and emerging creators build their brands in their chosen niche. To give our readers a portfolio of learnings, we focused on creating a mix of journeys in different creative spaces (dance, music, comedy, cooking, etc.).
We have received a lot of affection from our readers. We are thankful to our readers for their praises through Amazon reviews and social media posts. In terms of sales, the book has remained the number 1 bestseller on Amazon in multiple categories and has become a National Bestseller.
Ques - The competition in the Creator Economy has become increasingly competitive since the Pandemic Outbreak. What suggestions do you have for newbies in this field?
- The first wave of creators focused on English, followed by Hindi and Hinglish. But now, a huge opportunity exists in regional languages. Brands prefer to work not only with top creators but also with emerging creators who have their own geographic niches. To cater to the demand of small towns, you can think of creating videos in regional languages such as Marathi, Tamil, Malayalam, and others.
- When you start, don’t focus on numbers. Just focus on content. Content is King. If you figure that out, everything else will fall into place.
Ques - You both are branding enthusiasts. What advice would you give to someone who wants to create a personal brand?
Don’t try to become everything for everyone. Try to become something for someone. When followers consider a creator an expert in a particular field, they take that creator’s recommendations seriously. Moreover, brands prefer to work not only with established creators with a mass following but also with emerging creators who own a niche. So try to achieve mastery in some areas and become a go-to person for a particular field.