Influencer marketing isn’t as simple as choosing an influencer with a high number of followers to post an ad for you. In 2019, there have been a multitude of changes that have taken place in the influencer marketing world which brands need to factor into their strategies to get the most ROI.Consumer expectations around authenticity, an increase in influencers making it harder to reach their target market, and the need for solid evidence of the success of a campaign or post are the key trends we’re seeing shape the changes this year.
Below is a list of things to remember before engaging an influencer for your brand, to ensure the highest success rate.
Influencers are people too
It’s clear that brands need to identify an influencer that suits their image and has an audience appropriate to them, as it’s obvious it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Think of the basic advertising and marketing principles such as brand consistency across its messaging, imagery, stunts etc. All of these principles also apply when it comes to selecting influencers.
For effective market penetration in the influencer space, brands need to change the way they see influencers. It can feel a little strange at first because we’re so used to having our own perception of them through a screen, but brands need to challenge themselves and stop being transactional and start building genuine relationships.
Doing this, not only will your brand foster beneficial relationships for future activity, but the synchronicity between the influencer, brand and audience is the key driver to the most genuine engagement and success of the campaign.
Of course, there is always the irony when it comes to using influencers since brands pay for influencers to post an ad, so it can be perceived as anything but genuine. Therefore, it is important to be mindful that influencer marketing is actually a partnership and when working together, both reputations are on the line.
2. Video is the new black
Like all key moments in pop culture, trends come and go but some stick so well that they stay popular through the generations. The 20s had smoking and flapper dresses, the 60s had the flare pants and tie-dye, the 80s had the boombox and the 90s had the blackberry.
In 2019’s digital climate, the legacy that millennials and Gen Zs have left is the ubiquitous use of social media. This demographic has propelled the amount of user-generated content full of memes, live streaming of stories and videos, which is why video is currently on trend.
Since 90% of Gen Z and 83% of millennials are spending at least two or three hours a day watching videos on their smartphones, brands need to capitalise on creating fun video content and memes that can be easily shared with their peers as it resonates well with this generation more than any other form of media.
3. Authenticity is key
When followers feel like influencers are real people they can relate to and even share similar experiences with, that’s when the magic happens. The most successful influencers have a highly captivated audience because of their ability to produce authentic and relatable content.
Since millennials and Gen Z’s are digital natives to social media and advertising across these platforms, they are naturally more switched on when it comes to recognising when they are being overtly marketed to.
According to a study by Deloitte, 72% of millennials use social media as a good way to stay connected to news and topics that are important to them, while 65% of millennials said that they are happy to receive targeted content if it aligns with their interests – proving they are savvy when it comes to their consuming of digital content.
If businesses want to engage an influencer to market to this demographic, they need to be mindful about content that’s not consistent with the influencer’s audience and brand.
Brands need to change their thinking to view their relationships with influencers as adding a ‘human element’ to their marketing approach, as opposed to looking to influencer marketing as another means to just sell their products.
4. Data is king
Influencer marketing has always been seen as an enigma, with traditional marketers often questioning whether it can yield actual commercial results.
The reality of it is that it can. One of the best examples is homegrown company Hi-Smile. Founders Nik Mirkovic and Alex Tomic started the company with $20,000 of their own savings using solely influencer marketing, which then grew the company into a $40M business with over 100,000 customers across the globe in just three years.
Measuring ROI and using data to track the success of a campaign is important, not just because you can say with authority that investing the marketing budget into the influencer space was a wise move, but so you can optimise your campaigns.
Influencer marketing is still relatively new and there’s a huge potential to lead the market.
5. Talking to Gen Z
By next year, Gen Z’s are expected to account for about 40 percent of all consumers, not to mention social media has become one of the key driving forces for this generation to purchase products, accounting for 80% of purchases.
Instagram (44%), Snapchat (21%) and YouTube (32%) are the core outlets making the biggest impact in this space and influence everything from purchasing decisions, lifestyle choices and even political perspectives.
After almost a decade of focusing on millennials and Gen Y, brands that haven’t started factoring Gen Z into their strategies are shooting themselves in the foot.
Given Gen Z’s have an attention span of about 8 seconds, capturing their attention requires authentic and engaging content that they can contribute to, interact with, or be a part of. They want to feel like they are part of an actual community attached to authentic causes.
Despite the digital landscape’s challenges, there’s an opportunity for brands and businesses to market to consumers in a more flexible way to adapt to this new digital era. With so many opportunities for brands to utilise this generation of social media lovers to their benefit, remember the five key tips to ensure success and tap into a savvy, yet highly engaged type of audience.
Nathan Ruff is the co-founder and CEO of Hoozu, a data driven content creation business that uses creators and content to convert sales for its clients. Nathan has a wealth of specialist knowledge across industry trends, managing risk and ensuring accountability in a relatively unregulated space. He has also successfully founded five companies, including Market Engine, Urban Geek Media and VOLT Media. Nathan has been instrumental in helping to disrupt the influencer marketing industry and bringing accountability to the discipline.
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It’s still the real thing. But Coca-Cola hasn’t been shy about change over the decades. The company that launched in 1886 has gone through dozens of taglines to convey its brand, from “Drink Coca-Cola” to “Life Tastes Good,” “Taste the Feeling” and many more. Now it’s going beyond spin and slogans to stay relevant with today’s customers, launching a new portfolio of products—possibly its biggest ever —led by energy drinks.
The company made headlines at the National Association of Convenience Stores Expo in Atlanta in October when it said it is debuting energy drinks in the United States next January. But that’s only part of the story.
Coca-Cola’s also launching a baker’s dozen of other drinks and many more flavors, a major change for a company that until not long ago focused on classics and continuity. At a time when soda sales overall are flat (or declining), Coke’s looking for growth in new areas.
The company, in addition to being a giant in the carbonated beverage category, lately has been trying to enter and dominate other nonalcoholic beverage categories, such as coffee and energy drinks. Coke’s seeking to harness its brands, resources, distribution and marketing. It’s focusing on growing and expanding into new sectors, which could lead to a bigger company and, if things work out, other growing brands.
The company, based in Atlanta where the show took place, doesn’t only want to take over shelf space. It wants to eliminate the competition. The goal is to become a leader in each of the categories. The mission is to improve profitability for shareholders, grow market share, enter new markets, leverage brands and ride the tides of taste, while growing top and bottom line. Coke’s second-quarter revenues and margins rose—a double punch. At least for now, Coca-Cola is growing, even as soda is under fire.
The behemoth awakens? With a 60% market share in nonalcoholic beverages, it’s about time that Coca-Cola jumped on board with the trends. There is, nevertheless, room for growth. Simply deciding to debut Coca-Cola Energy in the U.S. already took a bite out of Monster’s stock. Expect the same with Monster’s sales. Coke is also making waves from coffee to vitamin water to energy drinks to fruit juices, smoothies and on. It’s going after nearly anything without alcohol, adding energy to the business—and not just as a drink.
Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey talks about a “strategy to transform as a total beverage company” in the nonalcoholic beverage space. He isn’t kidding. The company already has more than 500 brands (from Minute Maid to Powerade and beyond) in more than 200 countries and territories. What’s another dozen more? These are often in new categories.
When Coca-Cola paid $5.1 billion to buy Costa Coffee, it was betting big. Coke launched Costa Coffee ready-to-drink chilled product in Great Britain. The company wants to own the morning, building on other big brands with Dunkin’ Cold Brew Coffee. Expect Coca-Cola to try to try to stir up coffee sales with more debuts. You couldn’t be a “total beverage” company without tea. Coke’s expanding Peace Tea with three new flavors next March.
It’s rolling out Coca-Cola Cherry Vanilla and Cherry Vanilla Zero after debuting Coke Orange Vanilla this year as the first new flavor added to the Coca-Cola brand in over a decade. The company this year also rolled out Sprite Lymonade. It’s trying to cash in on the holidays with Coca-Cola Cinnamon and Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry.
Coke even filed a number of patents in 2019 to expand its range, including a way to buy food and beverages from vending machines with cell phones. Add to that methods to produce potable water from otherwise undrinkable sources. A classic company is innovating.
It’s always nice to be number one. When Coke puts its marketing and distribution muscle behind products, magic can happen. The behemoth has woken. Let’s see where it goes now that it’s awake.
I am the national leader of Marcum’s Food and Beverage Services group. I’ve been an entrepreneurial leader in accounting for over 40 years, and am a frequent lecturer and published author on various financial and business topics. My expert advice has appeared in both national and local publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, Long Island and New Jersey Business News, Supermarket News, and Food Dive. I also founded a series of best practice forums for food and beverage companies, which attract nearly 500 senior executives annually, as well as an annual food and beverage survey.