In 2019 more than ever, Influencer Marketing is an essential part of brand's strategic discussions. One of the the most recurring question is: "Does Influencer Marketing ultimately come down to product placement?" However, the question that we should ask ourselves is rather: "What is the role of creativity in this new ecosystem?"
Unlike 360° agencies, which often consider strategy and creation as separate entities, influencer marketing agencies should address the creative process in a cross-disciplinary approach. In our role as a strategic planner, it is our mission to ensure the customer’s satisfaction so that a brand's image can be enriched and reshaped. The constraints of social media and its use, however, require us to work on brand issues from a different angle.
In influencer marketing, creative thinking should on no account come at the end of the creative process It is the essence of strategic thinking!
At WOÔ, we no longer speak of a brand strategist or planner but rather a “creative strategist." What is the difference? This new role involves hybrid planning, between strategy and creative input (from analysis to the big idea, including the activation strategy, but also the artistic direction and the graphic identity of a campaign).
Followers’ changing behaviors
The number of posts for which an influencer worked with a brand represented 6 out of 10 posts in 2018. That is four posts less than in 2017. The brands’ share of voice is in decline. Why? This is due to influencers adapting themselves to the followers’ changing behaviors. The “clickbait” is no longer a valid marketing tactic, so beware of an authenticity trap and proliferation of branded content!
This is a behavior widely supported by influencers, who, in this respect, seek to work with brands as long-term partners. Since “one-shot” operations are becoming rarer, a 6-month or even a one-year campaign strategy must be designed to be adaptable, authentic, and inclusive.
Such a reversal is another opportunity to take risks and be creative. Influencers and their followers are aware that brands are trying to understand them and offer to enjoy new experiences (whether it is online or offline).
So how can one be influential and creative?
- Understanding the influencer and his/her environment
2. Not just a “casting sheet”
A diverse, relevant and thoughtful casting at each step of the influence pyramid (nano-, micro-, macro-) is as important as the idea itself. An effective influencer can engage with your audience via storytelling and authentic content.
After all, a good casting is to make sure that the creative idea is captured and enhanced.
3. “Do not launch” a campaign, begin a discussion
Consumers are looking for authenticity and real stories. Social media tools now enable us to meet the current demand. There are many levers of engagement: commitment, involvement, expertise and so on. How can one manage to find the right equation?
We can connect with the brand, observe and transcend the underlying issues in a distinctive setting, then begin a discussion. Too often, brands forget to focus on the “social” aspect of “social media”. Beware: It is possible to be creative and have a great deal of brand recognition!
For instance, this was the case of Petit Bateau, whose aim is to tell visual and editorial stories that can be captured by each consumer thanks to the simple UGC (user generated content) techniques! Why do these campaigns create such a high level of commitment? Because Petit Bateau does run “campaigns” but rather creates a story in which the consumer is always the hero.
Therefore, one must consider beyond product placement to create a powerful “big idea.” For example, "what would I like to see when I open my Instagram and what would said "brand" be saying to make an impact?"
Finally, how to define its embodiment: Content creation? Experience? Trips? The possibilities are plenty, and the most engaging content is often the one that focuses mainly on experiences.
Well, the good news is that influencer marketing is still relatively recent, so there will be hundreds of “first times” to be discovered!
4. When the customer is your greatest creative force
To highlight the new collection of reversible windbreaker from the brand Petit Bateau, WOÔ organized a campaign called #CacheCacheCouleur (#colourhideandseek). Various profiles of influencers (men, moms, seniors, etc.) fades into the background colors with their windbreaker, while motivating their communities to enter a contest to win gifts.
Influencer are not a channel, nor are they a billboard. Being creative in 2019 implies to consider each campaign as the result of teamwork among the agency, the brand, the content creator and his or her follower!
Laury Guégan, Creative & Brand Strategist @WOÔ