January 4, 2022

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has become in a few years one of the most important communication channels for lifestyle brands. In this new paradigm shift, there will be winners and losers. Brands that invest early on in building long-lasting relationships with relevant opinion leaders will get the higher ground.

A huge paradigm shift

In the past seventy years, three major shifts disrupted the world ofcommunication and consumerism

Brands reigned supreme in the top-down based approach that started in the 1950s. Before internet was born, brands used public spaces to reach their audience. Consumers made purchase decisions based on how convincing brand messages were. The dotcom era that boomed in the 2000s opened revolutionary ways to reach consumers. Brands used internet to speak at consumers, not only reaching them through TV, magazines and billboards, but at their desk, at work, or whenever they were on the internet. The approach remained very top-down and purchase decision remained based on brands’ power of persuasion.

From persuasion to recommendation. 

Our economy has been struck by a whole new way of using internet. Similar to a digital big bang, social media has blown away all the old communication paradigms and consumerism have changed forever. When social media was born, consumers were suddenly able to voice their opinion publicly and for others to see. Soon, consumer reviews became a tool for other consumers to make the right purchase decisions. Some of these reviews had greater relevance than others. Some of these point of views were more interesting and insightful. The consumers who wrote them started creating a following who valued their recommendations. With platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Twitter they had a place to gather this following and to voice their opinion in a creative format, reaching an ever growing audience. Influencers were born.

Giants can be overthrown overnight

Today consumers have the floor. In fact, Our days have seen an unprecedented disruption in the consumerism organigram: marketing has shifted to a bottom-up dynamics and consumers have more credit than ever. “Since 2000, 52% of companies in the Fortune 500 have either gone bankrupt, been acquired or ceased to exist.”(1) The only difference is that the small guys were using the right communication tool and were able to adapt. Take Forever 21 for instance, regardless of their appeal to millenials, this fashion retailer titan went from fashion empire to bankrupt companies within a couple of years. The cards have been reshuffled entirely. There are big winners and losers and in this remodelling of consumerism, new brands emerged.


Influencers re-establish communicationbetween brands and consumers

Influencers have one of the most valuable assets in marketing, consumers’ trust. They have the credit that brands lost. While 82% of consumers trust the influencers they follow, only 42% trust brands (2).

In fact, influencers are “super-consumers” who were elected by users for their taste, expertise, and their ability to produce engaging content. 67% of consumers welcome branded content from influencers they follow, as long as they stay transparent and authentic.

Where traditional commercials are deemed undesirable and intrusive, influencer content is sought after and constantly in demand. Influencers produce fresh and trendy content that is displayed to a targeted audience who chose to see their posts. On Instagram, influencer content makes a third of the content users are exposed to every day. 65% of consumers discover new products through influencers every week (3). Influencer marketing in itself is a long term commitment, a permanent flow of creativity that never ceases to evolve. While the most efficient advertising campaigns were the costliest, it’s no longer true. At least not in influencer marketing, where the most impactful messages are the ones that are authentic and relatable.

Influencers’ power of recommendation is unsurpassed. 82% of consumers are likely to follow recommendations from influencers they follow, and 80% of them purchased an item after clicking on a link shared by an influencer (3). An advisor to brands and a friend to consumers, influencers work as genuine mediators between the two. 

To stay relevant, brands have to change the way they communicate to consumers.

Especially online, where a striking 47% of users installed ad-blockers as barriers to flooding “irrelevant” ads (3). That is why influencer marketing is a crucial channel: it enables brands to benefit from influencer’s power of recommendation and conversion. With a smart influencer program, a brand can access the trust that consumers have in these “super-consumers.” Most importantly, this strategy has to be innovative and adaptable in order to stand out in a cluttered landscape. 

Sources

  1. https://www.capgemini.com/consulting/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2017/07/digital_disruption_1.pdf
  2. https://www.tribegroup.co/blog/the-stats-driving-influencer-marketing-in-2019?
  3. https://go.rakutenmarketing.com/hubfs/docs/2019%20Influencer%20Marketing%20Report%20-%20Rakuten%20Marketing.pdf
  4. https://www.iab.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Crowdtap_TheStateofInfluencerMarketing.pdf
  5. Mediakix.com

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