Is influencer marketing still relevant?

AUTHOR: Sylvester Chauke, founder of DNA Brand Architects

Mention the word ‘influencers’ and you are bound to receive a polarising response. Thing is, for many marketers, there has been a big question about the influencer strategy and perhaps even more of a discussion of its effectiveness in light of fake news and almost everyone becoming an ‘influencer’.

A photo of the founder of DNA Brand Architects, Sylvester ChaukeWe have heard the term ‘influencer marketing’ at the forefront of boardroom discussions across the world, and in recent months, we have seen major multinational FMCG companies like Unilever rethink its approach to influencer marketing.

There seems to be a need to regulate the space to ensure compliance with advertising standards across the world. As marketers, we have an obligation to fully understand the ‘what’ and ‘why’ before implementing a campaign. All marketing tactics, whether new or traditional, require a clear strategy and understanding to be successful.

A marketer’s responsibility

I read this interesting quote: ‘the trusted voice of an influencer is now a Vogue’. As amusing as it was, it rang true because it’s the bigger platforms that give the added stamp of approval as to which influencers we should listen.

Truth is, the space is in a constant state of flux and we may be singing a different tune in the next few months. So, our job as marketers is to be flexible and keep our eye on the movement to ensure our brands are not left behind.

The growing global impact of social media is undeniable, yet the tactics are changing. There are over 3.028 billion people actively using social media and ultimately basing their purchasing decisions on social engagements and opinions, yet the ‘how’ is where marketers should focus their attention.

The influencer approach is centred on social relationships that bring human elements to how people interact with products. At best, it needs to be authentic and based on a real connection with the influencers and brands involved.

Authentic influencer connections

We are seeing so many brands dabble in this space and many speak of great successes while others not so much. One of South Africa’s most popular influencers, Siya Bunny, better known for her fashion and lifestyle opinions, has collaborated with incredible brands in the past. Her recent partnership with proudly South African mixer, Clark and Sons, seems to be hitting the sweet spot with content that get consumers gagging for more.

Siya is one of the influencers who are great to watch online and how she controls her content and incorporates the Clark and Sons brand into her life which speaks to credibility, personal experience and trust.

This particular partnership that is mutual and does not seem forced. Many brands get it wrong by assuming a big name is a sure way to make the brand connect on social, but it’s not the case.

Consumers and influencers

It has been proven consumers are more likely to act on a peer’s opinion as opposed to that of a brand, especially through traditional methods such as advertising. So, the conversation around who to partner with needs added attention.

Technology has created new careers and ended them. As marketers and brand experts, we need to be in tune with the world and to forecast trends. The way to do this, is not to get too married to our plans. We need to allow room for tweaks and changes as we navigate brand performance.

These are interesting times with many possibilities for brands to excite and inspire consumers through good, old fashioned relationships.

About the author

Sylvester Chauke, an award winning entrepreneur and cascade of the Stand Against Bland movement, is the founder of DNA Brand Architects. He also sits on the advisory council for WEF Global Shapers and is a board member of the South African State Theatre.



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