The expertise is needed not only in the careful vetting of the influencers, but in also having the skill to deliver those influencers a very tight strategic brief that in turn allows the creative freedom the influencer has built his or her following on.
And beware fads or temporary popularity. Brands must also consider all the levers on a case by case basis. If we consider 2018 as an example, the discussion in the industry has been around the power of the micro-influencer versus a celebrity. Although I would never argue with the fact that consumers have a higher likelihood of adopting information from small but very relevant influencers as a general rule, it’s important to consider the objective, the particular message and of course the end consumer every time. For example, if a brand’s objective was to highlight the benefits of a new toddler milk formula, I would certainty consider that getting real mothers who have great influence in their very tight networks (Mums groups) would hold most of the influence and credibility with that audience and would be the perfect people to relay the message.
But if a business were trying to launch a fashion forward brand, needing mass awareness, I would then argue that having a handful of celebrity trend setters wearing the label, it may help them reach their goals faster.
While these are very specific scenarios, the point remains the same: a strategy that considers all tiers of influence and the many levers, is a must.
The influencer space is also one that will quickly become cluttered, brands need to have the foresight to consider developing long-term relationships with key influencers. Building partnerships will deliver not only a consistent, but a more authentic message. The longevity of a collaboration between an influencer and a brand will most certainly strengthen the credibility in the message.
There’s no fudging strategy. The work must be done up front, using careful consideration and expertise to form a long-term strategy for all influencer marketing efforts and brands should be sure to consider the following six levers:
- Consumer level of interest in the product/ message (high or low involvement)
- The influencer’s credibility to deliver the message to said consumer (likelihood of information adoption)
- The level of alignment between the brand and the influencer
- The single most important objective to deliver against and how it will be measured
- The ROI on the activity as a whole to the business (eg. is the organic reach from the influencers enough or do you need to consider an amplification strategy for the results to be fruitful?)
- Any relevant partnership opportunities