"Consumer Behaviour Is an Extremely Complex and Layered Concept" - Gouri Gkishan

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1. Tell us about your background and journey.

With roots of origin in Kerala and having been brought up in a normal, middle-class household in Chennai, life was going well for me in a very close-knit family with my mother, father and an elder brother Govind.

The turning point in my life, I would say was when I heard about the audition call for a Tamil film titled ’96, which then went on to become my debut into the industry and my big break. The accolades and praise that my character received post it’s release was unfathomable, especially amidst a hectic college schedule in Christ University pursuing my triple major in Journalism, Psychology and English Literature. 

Having said that, I bagged 4 more films under my kitty at the same time, one as a female lead in a Malayalam film, 2 others sharing screen space with superstars like Vijay and Dhanush respectively and a remake of ’96 in Telugu. Having successfully graduated, right now I am looking forward to the release of 3 of my films and have been listening to new scripts and keeping myself engaged with Dance and Yoga amidst this lockdown. Hoping for the best.


2. What led you to start your page on Instagram and what is it about?

Like many other people of my age, I had a personal Instagram handle of my own that I used through my school days to share pictures and life events among my friends at the time. 

However, once I was under the limelight, I started an official work account where I post more of my professional updates while at the same time share snippets from my personal front as well. With a steadily increasing fan base, I also hold myself responsible to speak about certain social issues that I feel strongly about.

I believe this is because there is excess information that is out there in the public, and so it becomes important to highlight certain issues that demand higher mileage than others and I share authentic information of the same to the best of my ability.


3. How would you distinguish the term blogger from an influencer?

I believe the difference is strictly scale wise. A blogger is someone who shares his/her opinion and their take on things of common interest and if people follow his/her opinion they automatically then become influencers.

But an area of contention is when these so-called self-professed ‘influencers’ multiply so much in number that it becomes hard to distinguish them from the real ones. What makes matters worse is when they take advantage of their reach for monetary gains - the recent incident around mental health is proof enough.


4. Is it financially sustainable to be an influencer today?

I wouldn’t be sure of the extent of that, mainly because there is so much pressure to create content these days that authenticity becomes a rarity. I also happen to notice audience fatigue – especially apparent during this lockdown period.

The audience has become more intelligent and rightly identify between what is real and what is fake. It is nice to see consumers being more aware of issues of sensitive nature - speaks volumes of maturity and growth that the audience has garnered over time.

5. What do you think influences consumer behavior?

Consumer behaviour is an extremely complex and layered concept but from an influencer’s point of view, I believe that sharing genuine experiences and opinions go a long way in influencing the way consumer’s behave. 

They are very smart and are well-informed so I’d say – stay as real as possible and consumers are bound to follow. For instance, I recently walked my followers through my skin care struggle with acne breakouts and how I finally dealt with the challenge. Post which I received an astounding response from numerous people who could relate with me and how my story instilled confidence in them. 

Social media has become a platform where everyone's lives seem perfect and problem-free which is not the truth at all. We all endure hardships and we must all work towards a more transparent portrayal of our lives - not a fake one.


6. What is your idea of success or your mantra in life?

For me, the extent to which you stay to yourself – reflected both through personal actions as well as the work you do speaks volumes of one’s personality. I also believe that what we stand for ought to manifest on our personal mantra, whatever it may be.


7. How can someone become a successful social media influencer?

I’m not expert in this field, but I believe that timely engagement with the audience is paramount as long as their best interests are kept in mind. Since, credibility is something that can only be earned with time - original and honest content will gain the attention it deserves. 

Also, due to the huge impact that an influencer’s words and actions have on consumers, they ought to take responsibility for the content they share and propagate. There is no magic formula for success – you gotta work around what works for you in the long run.


8. Which is your favorite book and why?

Catcher in The Rye by JD Salinger is a book that deeply influenced me as it rightly portrayed certain mental conflicts that any adolescent would go through in the most honest manner. 

It gave me much-needed perspective to life and taught me to unleash the vulnerability that we all internally possess, but rarely identify. It’s a recommended read!

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