"Influencer marketing is more successful when applied with everyday consumers. We always look for people who have an intimate relationship with their followers and those who are able to provide a real-time user-experience about their products and services to the global audiences." - Anneke Schogt
Influencer marketing is a key component of today’s social media marketing mix. We have seen here at Cannes Lions 2016 that Snapchat has a massive presence, both in terms of advertising and in the way they have encouraged companies to actively promote their brands by using the social media platform. I started off by asking Anneke, who is the Managing Director of IMA, on what are their clients and agencies not doing what they should be doing when it comes to implementing influencer marketing.
“Firstly, there are a lot of clients who do not use influencer marketing. What we always share with them is that people follow people and people don't follow brands. That is very distinctive thing with the rise of social media. What we do a lot of times, in how they can improve, is that we still need to explain to them why influencer marketing should be part of their permanent work. Usually what we do is that once they start of, it has such a huge impact because if a person recommends to a another person, especially if something is a good product or a service, then it has much more of an impact than an advertisement- so Word of Mouth (WOM) is very powerful and an important part in influencer marketing. So, in the end brands are no longer defined by what they tell the audience by who they are because consumers are defining brands by telling each other what a brand is. We are in this space where from person to person and not brands to person.” Said Maddie.
In terms of a particular brand, Maddie mentioned gave Tommy Hilfiger as a prime example using influencer marketing to their great advantage and successfully: "For Tommy Hilfiger, we introduced a new eyewear for their consumers. We worked on a new campaign for them in Spring/Summer 2016 to introduce a new eyewear collection built around influencer marketing and built upon their existing advertising campaign. The team went to an island to shoot all the content and then combined it on a digital experience platform, where consumers can explore all the different content. The campaign is called "Hilfiger Island #WISHYOUWEREHERE" and is still running. It shows that influencers are really the faces of all the different content shots, including photos and video material. They are the medium that spreads the message and reach, as well as the authority to spread the message.
So, what are the weaknesses that creatives have within the agency world? Maddie commented that: “They struggle because they want to push the influencer in a certain way and they are afraid to let it go, and they not letting the influencer to be free, and then that becomes too advertising and so it is important that they give the influencer the freedom and it is a gap that is out there,
In terms of defining an Issue, Impact and measuring the results, the campaign is still running (for Hilfiger). Anneke mentioned that the key challenge for corporations and agencies is mainly raising awareness, especially the targeted regions were for the eyewear are Italy and Germany. To create as much awareness as possible is always going to be a challenge. The results will be measured in terms of reach and engagement through things such as earned media, like Snapchat for example. “We have our own data and tools to measure the campaign from Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.” Said Maddie.
Anneke went on to say: “One of the biggest challenges is to create as much impact as possible. Eyewear is a highly competitive market and we had to think of something really different to stand out. That is why we took the digital influencers to the Island. Making eyewear relevant is quite a thing and we had to get those influencers.”
Maddie added that there were some key learning points, specifically from campaigns that they have done with L’Oréal for example. “What we learnt from there is that influencers can also influence other influencers, and create a kind of the snowball effect. The core group, the biggest ones out there, can influence the smaller ones, the niche shop culture who focus on the consumer market and the community engagement. And that's really the strategy we created to launch their new perfume and it was really effect.” Said Maddie.
So what are their thoughts in regards to the evolution of influencer marketing in the past five years and where do they think is the future of influencer marketing?
“We have seen a big shift in video and a shift to companies, including agencies and big corporates, using Snapchat, and that is also the trend that we are seeing. People want to see real content, with less filters that make it real and less beautiful or ‘staged’ just for the benefit for the companies, but for the consumer to experience it as it is. You want to see the product being used in that moment, and not staged PR, but a real actual 'campaign' in real-time being used by ordinary consumers of the products.” Said Anneke.
So, my next questions was, which aspects of the campaigns do they believe that they need to focus on Snapchat?
Maddie said: "Snapchat is super relevant for events such as Cannes Lions 2016, for example. There are only a few days when you are doing an event like this, and if you have too much happening in one day then Snapchat is super relevant and effective and you can share that with the whole wide world.”
To round off, both of them provided three key case studies that illustrate best practices where agencies and clients have effectively used influencer marketing:
1. Yves Saint Laurent was a good campaign where we gained earned media increased five times. An example of a good match between brands and influencers.
2. Tommy Hilfiger, we built a special platform for the influencers to come together. Created a huge impression base.
3. Farfetch was a global campaign and always on there. Instead of pushing for a specific product, we found that influencer marketing was important for Farfetch and important for their SEO results.
In closing remarks, Anneke added that “Influencer marketing is more successful with applied with everyday consumers. We always look for people who have an intimate relationship with their followers and those who are able to provide a real-time user-experience about their products and services to the global audiences. Those influencers are sometimes more important than A-listers or well-known celebs because that is almost a review of a product or service by someone who has tried and tested it and has become a 'brand ambassador' of the product. Smaller ones are much more relevant than the bigger ones. We have a team who spots influencers searching online for the newest ones, and we can spot from our social media tools.”