Influencer marketing was once a new marketing channel but has passed through the phases of discovery to first movers in the industry and now it is becoming a mainstream marketing channel as more brands look at how they can use it. What the future of this industry pertains will be decided as the next era of first movers appear. However, the first movers to influencer marketing are now arguably losing their advantage as it becomes increasingly mainstream. They must now move onto the most innovative applications of influencers and understand how to use them in new exciting ways beyond product placement. Whilst these strategies are still generally effective, to continue pushing this industry forward, we must look at the most innovative new applications of influencers in our creative strategies. This new era of influencer marketing forces the market to consider how they can innovatively integrate influencers in their campaigns to deliver significantly effective results.
Picking the right influencers
Influencer marketing is creating a landscape shift like never before. While the move from radio to TV and TV to the internet has been massively disruptive, they haven’t been quite as disruptive as influencer marketing because the shift in interest and usage has completely changed. Being able to engage with the right people all comes down to targeting the people you want to reach, which is done by picking the right influencers. A lot of marketers are utilising influencer marketing via product placement by sending the influencer a product and asking them to either review it as a video piece of content or a post with that product in the photograph, whether it’s wearing a piece of clothing to using a mobile phone, this is a well-established strategy to influencer marketing.
Think outside of the box
Brands need to think outside of the box to consider influencers as some of the best production houses in the world; they are content creators who can tailor your campaign to best reach and influence their individual audience. You can have 50 campaign expressions to best reach your audience. The content is crafted perfectly with the audience of each individual influencer in mind to resonate best with them ensuring maximum engagement. Examples of brands already taking influencer marketing to the next level include Malibu sending influencers out to the Dominican Republic to take part in the Malibu games and feature the activities planned on their socials. Then there’s Formula E, which sent local and international influencers to each race location where they then posted about the experience. This new type of influencer marketing is pushing the boundaries and ensuring that brands incorporate something different into their marketing strategy in order to stand out. This then creates a whole new landscape for brands to experiment and put in place the creative ideas that they want to use throughout their marketing strategy.
Going beyond product placement
Very few brands are implementing this type of innovative influencer solution: going beyond the product placement that is well tested and delivered significant ROI in the past to implement creative strategies. As we see with standout brands within the traditional media space such as Innocent, Oatly, and Nike, implementing creative strategies attract attention and make a real impact. Applying this concept to influencer channels will amplify this success as they then relate the concept and push it out to their own engaged audiences. Let’s look at brands such as Lidl who invited a group of influencers to a Christmas meal together, cooked by a professional chef and using Lidl products. You can see how injecting extra value into the influencer relationship has strengthened the campaign. Beyond sending influencers products to trial, the brand created a relationship and bought the influencers into the Christmas spirit. This created more authentic content and endorsements from the influencers involved. They are applying their creative marketing strategies and including influencers in their plans to use this channel most effectively.
More exciting activations needed
For brands to maintain their first mover advantage they should put in place more exciting activations for their campaigns, bringing together the reach and influence of creators with creative and attention-grabbing campaigns. Mattress company Simba took their idea to the next level by asking influencers to do something completely different from any campaign done before. They involved a group of parkour influencers who created a video of them jumped from a five-storey building onto a pile of mattresses to showcase the sturdy and high-quality nature of the mattress. This was edited into a high adrenaline action cut to attract the younger target market. The influencers conceptualised attention-grabbing but authentic creative content ideas and within the first 90 seconds, there was a direct call to action to click on the link in the description and redeem a special discount. Creating bespoke activations for your brand that no one has done before will put you at the forefront of this growing industry.Brands are increasingly investing in influencer marketing because they want the advantages that first movers have experienced. However, to maintain this advantage in an increasingly popular market, brands are going to need to innovate beyond the proven success of influencer posts to influencer-first social strategies that truly change the industry.