Entrepreneur Middle East's Achieving Women 2018: Tanaz Dizadji, Founder And CEO, Brand Ripplr
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In January 2016, Tanaz Dizadji launched insydo, a search-centric product offering curated recommendations on Dubai’s services, hotspots and activities, and it was while running the startup that she struck upon the idea for a new business. While working with brands to create native content at inysdo, Dizadji saw how they were finding it difficult to make use of influencers and integrating them into their long-term marketing strategies. Thus, in order to solve the need for a platform that allowed brands to access influencers in an efficient and effective way, in September 2017, Dizadji launched her second company, Brand Ripplr, a micro-influencer marketplace catering to the region’s advertising sector.
While there is no cost for either brands or influencers to sign up on the Brand Ripplr platform, the startup makes its revenue by receiving a percentage of a commission for the posts that clients buy through the platform. “The clients only pay for the posts that they like, so the quality of our product and the micro-influencers is of the utmost importance to all stakeholders,” Dizadji explains. The startup has since worked with brands such as Anghami, Majid Al Futtaim, and Landmark Group to deliver influencer campaigns, with Dizadji noting how they achieve “CPEs (cost per engagement) as low as US$0.3 and CPVs (cost per view) of $0.06. We enable brands to tap into relevant and highly-engaged audiences with a 4%-8% engagement rate per influencer. This is significantly higher than a macro-[influencer].”
With micro-influencers having smaller followings than macro-followings (which AdAge says is between 10,000 to 90,000 followers, compared to hundreds of thousands), what’s the advantage brands would have from partnering with micro-influencers? Dizadji asserts that it’s micro-influencers who are currently “driving the change,” with being able to achieve “same or better results” as a macro-influencer at a lesser cost. Dizadji emphasizes that while their following may be smaller, they have highly-engaged and trusting audiences who follow them based on shared interests. “The engagement percentage of a micro is significantly higher than of a macro, so when you group them together, you can tap into multiple audiences and measure a far greater impact overall.” Brands are learning to tap into understanding the behavior of their consumers who are statistically proven to be much more likely to follow the recommendations made by micro-influencers. “It’s about targeting your key consumers and ensuring you reach them through the right people,” adds Dizadji.
So what kind of microinfluencers sign up at Brand Ripplr? Finding genuine influencers is tough, Dizadji admits. With the advent of fake accounts, fake followers, and fake engagement in today’s social sphere, she says that distinguishing between big numbers and real influence has been key, and Brand Ripplr prides themselves on its “vigorous vetting process” to detect between real and fake to deliver insights. Dizadji advises that it’s essential to look beyond perceived influence and followers: “Brands need to dig deeper- into the location, gender, age, engagement, etc.- to decipher the effectiveness of an influencer.” And the startup is working on providing real audience insights and relevant influencers for brands to really tap into the right accounts, reach relevant audiences, and see the leverage of using micro-influencers to create a bigger impact.
At the same time, given her dual roles at insydo and Brand Ripplr, a strong content synergy has been established between the two startups, allowing them to offer clients an effective content marketing solution, which enables brands to reach an audience of “more than 60 million consumers across the Middle East,” Dizadji says. As the founder of two companies, Dizadji certainly has her hands full, and she has had more than her fair share of startup struggles. “The constant ‘yo-yo life’ of an entrepreneur can be incredibly tough; you’re continually learning, growing… surviving!” she notes. “From the outset, you have to have the perseverance and determination to ride the wave, even when it comes crashing down."
While the learning that came from building insydo definitely helped with building Brand Ripplr, both businesses come with their own set of challenges. “We’re met with daily obstacles that need to be tackled, and although these are pivotal to our growth, you only ever experience fleeting moments of success before the next challenge comes your way. Fortunately, I was raised to be resilient and persistent, which has certainly helped me to sustain momentum and inject this ambition into my teams.”
Given that she is juggling two different responsibilities, one of Dizadji’s biggest difficulties is to efficiently spread her time across both ventures, as giving equal attention to both is practically impossible. Dizadji has thus learned to continuously prioritize which enterprise needs her the most at a particular point in time, adding that having a clear strategy helps in both minimizing the risk of neglecting each business and hitting development milestones as well. “You have to delegate to ensure that there is a solid foundation and a team structure that allows each business to keep driving forward,” she adds.
As an entrepreneur, it’s inevitable to face risk at the outset of a venture- how does Dizadji handle that pressure? “As an entrepreneur, I am willing to do everything it takes to make my business succeed,” Dizadji replies. “However, at the same time, I am aware that I am responsible for the investment, for my employees’ careers and their livelihoods, so there is not much room to maneuver. As such, I make calculated risks by preempting the potential outcomes of a big decision, and strategically planning around these.” But Dizadji also notes that being in the entrepreneurial world comes with its own set of challenges, and so if you’re going to be in it, you need to be able to take all of it on. “In the startup world, you have to be willing to go all in,” Dizadji declares. “You have to constantly strive forward because digressing -or even, plateauing- really isn’t a sustainable option.”
Tanaz Dizadji shares her advice for entrepreneurs wanting to build a buzz around their brands
”Whether your app is a booking service, a pick-up or discount service, content is always key to your business. You have to be where your audience is… and, more often than not, they are living on social. This trend is clear: smarter tech companies such as Facebook are already working with editors and publishers to add fresh content to their platforms and secure a more meaningful connection with their users. While our world is more digital and tech-led than ever, society has almost come full-circle… people want to feel a human connection to a product they are tapping into. As such, to build awareness and a sustainable competitive edge, it’s important to develop the personality of your product, to give it a voice and to really connect with your target market. Listen to their feedback, be agile and don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd!”