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Today, the positive impact that influencer partnerships have on brands and their marketing campaigns casts doubt for some. In the current climate following a global pandemic, it is key that communications remain authentic, connected and resonate with audiences.
According to the Launchmetric report, The State of Influencer Marketing 2020, 94% of fashion, luxury and beauty (FLB) brands found influencer marketing effective in driving sales. There is no doubting that their presence in brand actions has become much more commonplace. Influencers are a crucial element in helping brands forge authentic relationships and memorable experiences with audiences, especially when the industry has been turned upside-down. Now, influencer marketing will change, and Owned Media will be at the forefront of brands’ strategies – with influencer content playing a large role in contributing to this. There is a current demand for transparency, honesty and commitment when driving marketing activities now, and influencers can play a key role in communicating this during a delicate time.
Focusing on the different industries, it is apparent that the influencers are as diverse as the markets themselves. This makes it important for brands to have a solid understanding of their product, their audience and, in particular, who it is their target is listening to and engaging with. i.e. For the launch of a new luxury handbag to a local market, there is little sense in partnering with a Mega Influencer (an influencer with an audience between 500K -2M) whose expertise is global high street fashion brands and has a following that is predominantly male. They reach an audience that is engaged with a different market, and would not deliver the impact or potential conversions expected. By working with the right influencer, brands can be sure to maximize the effectiveness of their campaigns and, thus, the ROI achieved.
In order to fully understand the impact that influencers have on campaigns, it’s necessary to have the tools in place that will help decipher results into actionable learnings. Launchmetrics recently collaborated with Stylight to decipher the value of the impact that influencer Caro Daur generated during fashion month and how it drove demand for brands and products. To understand the value of her impact, Lauchmetrics used its proprietary algorithm, which it uses to measure the value of all marketing activities across voices, channels and markets by assigning a monetary amount called Media Impact Value™ (MIV®) to every post, interaction and article. By having a unified currency, it’s easier for brands to compare results across various voices, channels and media types. In this case that voice was Caro Daur, and the impact her Instagram content had on the brands she wore in the posts, which you can read more about, here.
So, with the integration of KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) in FLB brands marketing activities somewhat essential, it is important for brands to have sound knowledge of what influencers can do for them.
Marketing activities in general have changed as we know them, and both brands and creators are under pressure to find new ways to communicate that consider their audiences’ needs, feelings and situations. As influencer marketing reshapes itself, we are likely to see an increase in campaigns that involve the influencers’ day to day life. Rather than carefully crafted partnerships, it’s likely that brands will want to push authenticity by staying honest and open with consumers (and this also diffuses into influencer marketing). This strategy already exists and pays off: for instance, Laura Mercier’s collaboration with Mega Influencer Tamara Kalinic for a winter press trip clearly resonated with the brand’s audience, as the creator generated on average $50K in MIV® per post she created. However, in the future we are likely to see an increase in campaigns framed around experiences like these, to incorporate more storytelling into collaborations.
As COVID-19 has changed daily lives globally, the popularity of platforms like TikTok have increased as an outlet for entertainment at home. Users have joined by the millions to take part in and watch fun and entertaining challenges online. It is likely that this will also be reflected in influencer marketing. Rather than pushing a product on its own, it is likely that brands will incorporate sponsorships in challenges and new styles of format. This allows both brand and influencer to gain traction in a more organic way, by providing entertaining and engaging content for their audiences without pushing a product placement too heavily.
As highlighted above, the size of an influencer’s audience can also inform the brand as to whether one KOL is more appropriate for a campaign over another. Aside from leveraging large audiences for immediate awareness, another benefit of a well implemented influencer marketing partnership is that these opinion leaders can facilitate the connection between a brand and a niche audience. 56% of FLB professionals prefer to use Micro Influencers (those with followers between 10K and 100K), 32% of which said it is because they have a better connection with their target audience.
This is also because there has been an increase in the number of smaller influencers popping up during COVID-19, as more and more individuals make time to create different types of content that are in demand currently – and this can even assist in building new markets.
Looking at the fashion industry, there are multiple categories that have whole markets built around them; take streetwear, luxury fashion, and online mass market retailers like Pretty Little Thing, for example. Each of these can be broken down into smaller categories, funneling down into niche markets that can be difficult for marketing teams to target. This is exactly how influencers can help: by bridging that gap between the brand and niche directly. This does not only increase the effectiveness of marketing actions, but can also significantly reduce the resources involved to reach their desired consumer.
With storytelling becoming the norm and brands being pressured for more transparency in their values, consumers are looking to connect with those that communicate authentically. There are brands that have successfully built their company on the notion of authenticity, such as Timberland and Nike, both voted the ‘most authentic’ fashion labels in their field, leveraging in their campaigns real people that are genuine fans of the brand. When partnering with influencers, Lagence made a smart decision by partnering with someone who truly embodies the brand – Aimee Song – who drummed up $91K in MIV® from just one fashion week post.
Of course, influencer marketing already has been, and will continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, but how brands and creators react and respond will effectively define their success in the coming months.
Launchmetrics is the leading Brand Performance Cloud used by Fashion, Luxury and Beauty (FLB) executives to connect with the modern consumer in a constantly changing landscape. With over a decade of industry expertise, Launchmetrics helps more than 1,000 customers create inspiring, impactful and measurable experiences.
Its Brand Performance Cloud provides companies with the tools and intelligence they need to optimize the use of their creative assets, execute powerful brand amplification programs and measure their brand performance. The company’s AI-driven and proprietary Media Impact ValueTM gives customers the ability to benchmark their performance against 2,000 competitors worldwide. Launchmetrics’ intelligence empowers these companies to grow their businesses and streamline their processes, bringing a sharp focus to profitability, accountability, and efficiency while enabling the type of quick decision making required for agility.