The Growing Importance of Influencer Marketing for PR Campaigns
As one of the fastest growing fields in PR, influencer marketing has become an integral element of PR. According to Goldmedia, the influencer market reached a volume of €560 million in the DACH region in 2017 alone. On top of this, the market is expected to grow to almost €1bn by 2020. This includes monetary and other remuneration. Instagram and YouTube are the major platforms being used.
Steadily gaining in social relevance, influencer marketing now offers ample opportunity to add value to brand awareness as well as to performance campaigns. Considering the nature of influencer marketing with its strong ties to the target audience, this marketing channel is distinctly different from other channels.
In the face of rapid digitalization and the advent of artificial intelligence, what is exactly happening and what does this mean for brands and their PR campaigns, particularly those operating in different geographical markets?
First of all, influencers not only have the trust of their target audiences making them valuable for brands. Influencers also receive lots of attention from the press which in turn adds to the influencers’ reach as well as the reach of the brands working with them. As a result, we have observed converging scope for press and digital teams for some time now.
By extending the PR scope to include influencers, brands can significantly enhance and intensify their message to the target audience. However, this entails careful selection, planning, and close execution collaboration with digital marketing and/or e-commerce teams.
The selection of a suitable influencer not only depends on reach but to a large degree on the level of trust the influencer is able to instill into followers as well as the fit with the brand’s culture.
By the same token, who may influence the target audience varies from market to market and product to product. Customers in the US or UK for instance rank the definition of an influencer at a lower number of followers than customers in Germany. Younger buyers of beauty products expect a different approach than buyers within the high fashion industry.
This all has practical consequences for evaluating acceptance, approaches and presentation and therefore has significant planning and execution implications.
From our experience, implementing a successful influencer campaign requires careful analysis of
- what a target customer expects the influencer to impart
- what defines the potential customer as a person to influence (likes, interests, socio-demographics)
- the best approach considering reach, level of trust with the target group as well as the overall objectives – awareness, sales or image management.
Last but not least, working with influencers on a daily basis vastly benefits from a close collaboration between digital and PR teams. Specifically, collaborating allows for transporting a consistent, holistic and integrated image of the brand throughout the relevant channels making success the likely outcome.
Who says digitalization makes life easier? Retail remains detail – at least well into the foreseeable future!