Communication is the Pulse of Life!

Posts tagged “Marketing campaigns

Influencer Marketing – Where to From Here?

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The popularity of social media sites over the last two decades gave rise to a new and contemporary style of marketing, aka influencer marketing – involving a group of people known as influencers. Influencer marketing is essentially a hybrid of old and new marketing tools, where brands take the age-old concept of celebrity endorsements and turn them into modern-day content-driven campaigns on various social media platforms. In place of traditional celebrities on mainstream media, these “internet celebrities” are referred to as such because of their sizeable number of followers, and who are engaged by brands to endorse and promote their products and services.

Nearly 60% of marketers have been reported to include influencer marketing in their budgets. The strategy, however, has moved on from “What do you think about doing something with influencers?” to “What’s the influencer strategy for this campaign?” That’s how big influencers have become!

Whether we like it or not, influencers are here to stay. Influencer marketing is projected to grow to US$10 billion in 2020, and brands are increasingly using influencers as ambassadors to promote their products with their audience. An influencer can be a popular fashion photographer on Instagram or a food blogger who tweets. There is enough to go around.

The important thing to remember here is that whatever the end goal may be, you need to make sure the influencer you choose will be able to deliver on your message. Here are some points to consider when identifying one:

1. Consumer Trust

Influencer marketing first became popular as a result of scepticism among audiences towards brand advertising. Consumers instinctively turned to influencers, more so than the traditional celebrity spokespeople for the brand, for more ‘authentic’ voices of opinions or reviews. Influencers’ work has typically been dependent on their commitment to put their audience’s interests first. While their role in marketing has increased rapidly, today’s savvy, informed consumers may still be cautious, and are likely to see them as mere conduits for corporate brands, similar to traditional celebrities.

2. Influencers not synonymous with big audiences

Initially, the word ‘influencer’ was an umbrella term for a group of people on social media with more than a million followers. Today, its subcategory that brands have successfully worked with includes micro-influencers – those with 10,000 to 90,000 followers. In time to come, more everyday brand advocates, with as few as 400-600 followers would become their spokespeople, as brands increasingly commit to reaping stronger results among smaller audiences, rather than blow their entire budget on a single influencer.

3. Differentiation

Social media sites today have millions of active users daily. Having to tap into that big of a potential market on your own can be tricky. That’s where influencers come in handy. With the large number of users, you are likely to be swimming in a sea of thousands. The high level of competition with low barriers to entry make it all the harder for brands to identify influencers. It’s worth considering the different levels of influencers and which ones are best suited to your brand/campaign.

4. Fake accounts / followers

Another risk that comes with the exceptionally large user bases on social media is the number of fake accounts or influencers with fake followers that marketers have to spend time weeding out, in order to identify the ones that organically generate quality engagement. A recent study conducted by Points North Group revealed that up to 20% of mid-level influencers’ followers are highly likely to be fraudulent – artificially inflated to increase their asking rates from brands.

5. Costs

As the demand for influencers continue to rise higher than it already is today, marketers have to set aside a huge portion of their budget for influencer marketing alone. To amass a following as large as they have, influencers would have had to put in hundreds of hours to build their personal brand and reputation; so naturally, they expect just as much in terms of remuneration.

With their ability to engage a highly relevant audience, and share content among their followers, influencers are vital to a brand’s marketing mix. Engaging an influencer comes with a unique set of challenges that can impact the results of your campaign. At the end of the day, it’s really about the messaging. What do you want them to share with their audience? How do you want them to present your brand?

 

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Clash of the Titans: Advertising vs. Public Relations

Advertising and public relations are important marketing tools; knowing the difference can help businesses reach their target market and achieve their objectives.

Advertising and public relations can be exceptionally good at reaching the masses and helping a brand or organisation get the word out. However, before you dive into any advertising or PR campaign, make sure you know enough of each industry’s strengths and weaknesses. Often times, these two industries, although entirely different, are commonly confused as being one and the same.

Considering all the time and energy that has gone into pitching everything under the sun from razor blades, washing detergent and even medical supplies, you would think someone would have answered the age-old question by now – Which is better, advertising or public relations? The answer is entirely dependent on what you want to achieve. Advertising and PR have decidedly different benefits, and each contributes differently to your company’s communication goals.

Some useful tips to help you which way to go:

1.     Review your Budget: A large portion of the budget for an advertising campaign will be spent on ad space. Ad agencies also charge for concept development, copywriting and creative work such as graphic design, filming and editing. On the other hand, a PR agency works to gain free publicity for its client. A PR campaign budget usually goes towards the creation of a compelling story through media pitches, press releases and events and ongoing media liaison.

2.     Creative Control: Ad space is paid for and with the help of an ad agency, companies can take the wheel to maintain full control of an ad’s content and exactly when and where it will appear. With public relations, once a media release or pitch is distributed, PR agencies are limited in the amount of control they have over the way media outlets use the information or if they choose to use it at all. Even the best media release can be bumped off for a bigger story. However, a PR professional can help you navigate through the white noise of news and get your story heard.

3.     Media Exposure: Big budgets allow companies to run ads for as long as they wish. The downside is that seeing the same ad can become repetitive and ineffective, as consumers do not stand to gain any new information. A media release, on the other hand, can be distributed to many different media outlets. Although news has a relatively short shelf life, it is possible for a media release to sit an editor’s file until it can form part of a bigger story. The key takeaway is that consumers may see the same product or service in different context over a period of time.

4.     Reaching your target audience: Consumers know when they’re reading an ad that they are being sold a product or service. It’s very rare for people to actively seek out ads unless they are looking for something in particular. From a PR standpoint, a story covered about a service or product carries more credibility. If presented correctly and in an informative medium, people are more likely to take notice of a company’s key messages, even if it’s only on a subconscious level.

5.     Content Style: Advertising campaigns rely heavily on creativity, catchy slogans and eye catching graphics to attract consumers’ attention while PR campaigns require a nose for news. With a comprehensive understanding of the media, PR agencies exercise creativity by crafting captivating, factually correct stories that educate readers about a product, service or company.

Executing Your Campaign

Compared to advertising, public relations is a more subtle, disciplined approach with the aim of influencing public opinion and behaviour. It is the foundation that builds name recognition and brand trust.  With it, future advertising can succeed to greater heights. Think of your promotional campaign as a pyramid:

Making that Sale!
Raising Brand Awareness
Advertising and Promotion Campaign

Public Relations Public Relations Public Relations

An advertising or public relations campaign doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. They can and should be used in conjunction with one another to help spread the word about your product or service further.

With proper planning and precise execution, you’ll have no problem in achieving sustained media presence, building credibility and making that sale!