Over the years, influencer engagement has become a powerful method of extending brand messaging and escalating brand reach. One of the strongest marketing trends in the world at the moment, collaborating with influencers has given brands an upper hand on the issue of reaching the right audiences effectively.
If I think about the people who have had an influence on my life, I recall all of them having a bunch of similar traits. I found that experts with a deep understanding of their subjects could motivate me to mould my thinking, that people who encouraged debate made me more flexible in my thinking and that people with an open mind towards learning stimulated me to be highly curious in life.
Brands depend upon influencer marketing to leverage on the mutual connection that is built between consumers and influencers. For instance, Dell introduced a campaign with the ideology, "live your passion" by engaging with two influencers, who were perhaps among the best in their own fields, and inviting their target audience to enroll in competitions that were to be judged by these influencers. This provides an opportunity for the consumer to connect directly with an influencer through a mutual love/passion for their field and makes the campaign a success.
It is also very important for brands to understand consumer psychology. A typical case is that of KFC, where the brand came out with a campaign that drove conversation around a secret burger. This campaign banked on the idea of curiosity driving conversation among consumers. KFC collaborated with influencers to spread news about the secret burger. As it should have, the campaign instilled an urge in the minds of the consumer to try out the new burger.
On the other hand, influencers should realise the responsibility that they have towards the brand and their own followers. With newer products making rapid entry into the market, we are spoilt for choice. However, this choice presents the consumer with the dilemma of picking the product-brand combination that would work for them. Personally, I do value an influencer's advice. However, they need to fulfill three things on my "How to find the right influencer" list to be able to make the final cut.
Commitment: Influencers who work solely with one product in the product category. If an influencer is committed to a single product in a category, she gives the impression that she truly understands the product and that the product holds value in her life. An influencer who is promoting a range of products in a single category, might be an exceptional blogger and conversationalist, but will eventually lose credibility for me as an expert. And unless you are an expert, how will you influence sceptical Ms. Consumer?
Connection and Creativity: Influencers who have their consumers questioning. The number of followers, likes and comments an influencer has does not ensure success. It's when your followers show genuine curiosity about the product you are promoting and engage with you to know more, that you have done a great job at crafting creative content. Flattery doesn't matter. If the influencer engages with the consumers so as to get constructive feedback and is a sport about it (in cases of criticism), she then builds a solid connect with her following.
Consistency: Influencers who post content after having taken enough time to understand the product. An experience needs to be understood, distilled and shared in a trustworthy manner. An influencer who publishes content three times a week obviously doesn't give the product enough time to understand every bit of it. Someone who posts content once in two weeks and shares genuine experiences, encourages reliability. The influencer should be deeply involved with the product for her experience to become relevant for the follower.
As a marketeer, I have been welcoming towards distinctive ideas and being influenced. However, I believe we must all set very high standards as to who and what should impact our own choices and beliefs.
(Vani Gupta is Co-Founder, Hypersonic Advisory, and ex-Marketing Director, Pepsico. Views expressed are personal)
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)