A Word on ‘Influencer’ Marketing

Ramadan & Brand Marketing
June 1, 2017
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Over the last few years the reliance by consumers to buy into and make purchasing decisions from traditional forms of marketing like TV, radio and print ads, and even more recently online advertising has fallen, thanks to the new wave of communications methods brought about by the digital & social media revolution. Consumers now have the power to choose and define how they receive content from brands and this has led to brands (and their Marketing & PR teams) having to completely redefine the goalposts and re-think the way they talk to their consumer if they are to succeed. More than ever now, consumers are in control and brands have to adapt.

This ‘revolution’ has brought about the most dominant and game-changing new development for the world of communications professionals, and from that, the advent of working with social media as a channel, and the social media influencer, as a partner.

Consumers are smart, they are informed and they have incredible access to information. More information than ever before is available in seconds in the palm of your hand. Consumers the world over are looking for trusted and authentic advice, experiences and recommendations, whether for a recipe or a smokey eye tutorial, they are looking more and more to their peers, friends & social media ‘influencers’ for inspiration.

Only 3 years ago a PR campaign success was predominantly measured on how many articles, how many features and online articles had been generated for a particular brand or product. There was always the celebrity angle and the hope that by working with, inviting and gifting celebrities relevant to your product, you would generate organic (or paid) PR results from them. The new ‘celebrity’ IS the ‘influencer’. I say ‘new’ lightly, influencers have been around forever, but now they have a name, and extraordinary technology platforms thanks to the likes of Instagram and Snapchat(amongst others) that has opened up their potential for global audiences, or ‘eye balls’ overnight. Early adopters saw this huge shift in the way brands could speak to the consumer, by leveraging these influencers (in either an organic or paid format) they knew they were adding a new dimension to the traditional marketing approach. It took many of us in the industry by surprise to witness this almost overnight meteoric rise of the power of influencers and their potential effect on a brand. No one I know could ever have predicted the fees some of them would eventually go on to command for an Instagram post, You Tube video or review. Even when I’ve had chats with some influencers, they themselves were astounded by the almost overnight success and are still surprised by fees brands are willing to pay. Even now, the goal posts are shifting weekly on what can and can’t be done, what works and what doesn’t and everyone is desperate to see what comes next in the brand/influencer relationship dynamic.

One thing is for sure, in my experience, influencer marketing can be effective and a powerful tool when it is used as an element of a wider overall communications strategy. A brand that identifies the right opportunity, the relevant influencer to partner with, who come up with a novel engaging mechanic that is credible and well executed, should see the pay off.