Published 19 July 2017 Category: Business, Insights, Digital, Marketing

The Battle for Brand Position

Influencer outreach is still considered a new tactic but, by the end of 2016, it was already a $2 billion money-maker.

$2 Billion And Growing
If you’re new to the numbers, here’s how big the influencer market is. Despite the interest, influencer outreach is still considered a relatively new tactic. It’s a growing bandwagon that anyone with a phone and basic grasp of filters, cats, and food photography can master, and the rewards can be high.

Too Many Brands, Too Few Celebrities
This poses a problem for celebrities, their agents, and the brands that employ them. Why? Because there are more brands than there are celebrity social media platforms, and the selling power of any influencer is based on the authentic connection between themselves and their audience. In other words, authenticity, plus credibility, plus relevance, equals sales, and like it or not, the sponsored hashtag works at breaking that connection.

However, the occasional sponsored post from a household-name actor or musician isn’t going to have any lasting negative impact on audience relationship. This is the real world. We understand everyone has to earn their money somehow.

Rethinking The Model
Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Celebrity value will always remain priority for brands, so the new challenge is to rethink the one-tier celebrity approach and share sponsored messaging across a two or even three-tier model. Done correctly, this ensures a cohesive brand message through multi-media conversations and social media storytelling. But if celebrity endorsement already reaches the audience on a global scale, who else can help drive brands forward and help shoulder the responsibility for sponsored posts? Well, there’s one group, in particular, which looks set to take advantage of this new structure. An influencer group with smaller, more engaged audiences that, as a result, can leverage huge levels of brand engagement - the micro-influencer.

Until very recently, the best performing post of all time on Instagram was Coca-Cola ambassador Selena Gomez, sipping from a Coca-Cola bottle (have a look at the image, she’s even dressed in Coca-Cola colours). It’s brilliant, and it’s enjoyed 7 million likes and rising.

Selena-Gomez-Coke.jpg

But despite the high fives all round at Coca-Cola HQ, the difficulty comes in using that data to see how many of those 7 million fans actually went out and bought a bottle of Coke. Brand awareness? Huge. Actual sales? Who knows? Better engagement metrics are to be gained from the next tier down, the micro-influencers, who have fewer fans but a much more engaged fan base. Essentially, if these guys endorse a product, it gets sold.

Micro-Influencers Dominate
Brands need scale as well as engagement, and so the new model to emerge is a combination of traditional influence (big-name celebrities to you and me) working alongside micro-influencers to ensure brand reach and brand message work in tandem. Sponsored content can be shared, timelines become less cluttered, authenticity comes under less scrutiny, and the micro-influencer takes a new role in the never-ending battle for brand position and voice.