We’re a third of the way into 2018 – and the industry’s new favourite marketing tool, influencers, are as sought-after as ever.
As Victoria Berezhna writes in her recent Business of Fashion article:
“The move of marketing dollars to influencers makes a great deal of sense. According to Tribe Dynamics, 90 percent of brands have increased their earned media budget (which includes influencer marketing) in the past five years. Whereas the cost of placing an advertisement on a page of British Vogue starts at £28,000, an influencer with over 1 million followers – with a measurable ROI and a more engaged fan base – charges around $15,000 per Instagram post. They also help tap into ‘Generation Next’, or the elusive young demographic whose inspiration comes from scrolling on their phone instead of perusing magazines.”
It’s easy to understand why influencers have become so valuable to brands. They offer a credible, authentic way to engage a hard-to-reach target audience, that doesn’t feel like forced, obvious advertising. It’s a marketer’s dream, right?
But as the old saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility, and it’s so easy to misuse the power of influencer – oftentimes with hideous results.
The biggest failure most brands make when it comes to influencers is, in a desperate attempt for endorsement, getting any old celebrity with enough reach to flog their brand, product or service. This never ends well, and the backlash against what I refer to as ‘the Pepsi-Jenner effect’ is getting real.
A recent UK study, found that 71 per cent of people thought there were no rules around the use of influencers, 61 per cent believed influencers don’t have to disclose that they have been paid to talk about a product and, here’s the kicker, 44 per cent thought influencer promotion was damaging to society.
“Damaging to society” isn’t exactly what a brand wants on their health survey. But how do you work with influencers, reach a critical audience, all while keeping your brand healthy and glowing?
Three Top Tips
If you follow these three points, you should be all set:
1. Create Consistent Communications. Most people forget the “communications” part of the influencer marketing job. You can’t just get your endorsement from a celebrity and instantly profit, you need to involve your influencer partner(s) in an overall message to consumers. If you have a big idea, you can even get very upstream and involve influencers in all aspects of your campaign, right from the start – rather than a plug-in at the end.
2. Consumers Are Savvy, So Be Honest. The ASA has rules and consumers have expectations. As a brand owner, you need to commit to being honest about your influencer marketing and own it. Millennials and Gen Z are the most media savvy consumers the world has ever seen, and if they catch you out, you’re going to be in a whole world of backlash.
3. Use Influencers As A Platform. Nothing screams desperate plug more than a one-off or a flash in the pan influencer promo scheme. As a brand owner, you need to be thinking less “campaign” and more “platform” when working with influencers.
Ideally, you want to be working with the same influencer or group of influencers over time to authentically deliver a message to the right audience in an open and honest way. It will pay off – trust us.
Here’s an example of this at work. In 2017 we created an influencer campaign in partnership with UGG, titled #FUGGwinter, which was designed to empower active, bad ass young women to get out and enjoy the winter, living life to the fullest – whatever the weather.
We knew that our target audience were much more likely to believe partnerships with credible influencers over top-tier celebrities, so we engaged a group of over 70 micro and mid-tier Instagrammers across the UK, France, and Germany to showcase the latest UGG range. This campaign was bigger than simply showing the product on a range of people, it was about aligning UGG to an attitude – a broader message – a rallying cry of “FUGG Winter, let’s get outside.”
The first step was to assess the spectrum of influencers, to see which would align well with our brand:
Categories Of Influencer
Micro Influencers – Micro influencers are the lowest tier of influencer, with an average of 200-1,000 loyal and highly engaged followers.
Mid-Tier Influencers – Mid-tier are just that, the middle set of influencers, with an average of 10,000-200,000 engaged followers that have been built up over time.
Macro Influencers – Macro are classed as top-tier or celebrity influencers, with a high level of followers, giving them global fame and extreme levels of reach.
Despite the attraction of the super high reach achievable through Macro influencer partnerships, we chose to avoid this category in favour of micro and mid-tier influencers. Stats from Markerly show that, “micro-influencers can attract more than four times the likes on sponsored posts, this level of engagement is the result of hyper-targeted, ultra-loyal audiences.”
It’s key that you keep this in mind when planning influencer activity. Micro-influencers can make a campaign feel attainable, while mid-tier can align your campaign with a more aspirational lifestyle. Using a mix of both groups of influencers can position your product or service as something aspirational yet within grasp.
This targeted and well-thought-out approach resulted in huge success for the brand – we collaborated with 35 mid-tier influencers and 42 micro-influencers – resulting in over 150 Instagram posts and over 80 Instagram stories. The campaign was a way for us to shift the dial from UGG being perceived as a ‘comfy and cosy’ brand to a ‘fierce and powerful’ one, making them socially relevant to their target audience.
Impero will be presenting at the Figaro Digital Marketing Summit on 26 April 2018. Click here to see the full agenda and to register.