With influencer marketing becoming more and more important, I sought the advice of Deloitte Digital’s Managing Director of Social Media, Content and Influencers, Kenny Gold. Below is his take on how to leverage influencers to drive growth.
Kimberly A. Whitler: How can a CMO implement an authentic and engaging influencer strategy that aligns with a brand’s ethics and creates lasting relationships with customers?
Kenny Gold: Deloitte Digital considers “influential talents” to be creators. Good talent is more than just the number of subscribers. They are unique and diverse content creators, tuned in to what their community is looking to consume. It is important for brands to develop a more personal relationship with talent, as opposed to a transactional and inauthentic connection – this carries over to the connection with the consumer.
Additionally, as with any good content strategy, branding or influencing strategy involves understanding the duality between your brand’s purpose and role in consumers’ lives, and how best to do it. achieve its fundamental goals. The desire to focus on long-term opportunities versus current trends is essential to implementing a genuine and engaging influencer strategy. It can be difficult and numbers can dip early on, but by having a long-term growth goal, brands can create a lasting impact with their audience and maintain follow-up beyond one-off viral moments.
Whitler: What does it take in an influencer strategy to build long-term customer loyalty while attracting and engaging new audiences?
Gold: We find that a genuine loyalty and influence strategy contains three key activities: Listen. Identification. Deployment.
- Listen to what your community is saying – understand their interests, what excites them or prompts them to get involved, and try to paint a picture of what they would like to see from the creators. If done right, the creators become a part of the community, not just a paid shot to increase the numbers.
- Identify the right talent based on what you’ve heard – we live in incredible times when it comes to creators of diverse and original content. With the seismic change in the way we work due to COVID, people are spending more time at home designing, creating and connecting with their communities. This creates a huge opportunity for brands to not only seek out the most subscribers, but rather the best content for their audience. By having a myriad of options to choose from, brands can take a responsible approach and find the talent that gives them the best chance of achieving their goals in the marketplace. It also allows them to find the creators that best match the demographics of their audience.
- Properly deploy content to market – creators can get impressive engagement with their audience when they are genuine. This is not a branded TV spot or a de facto spokesperson; empower creators to do what they know, guide them to align with your brand’s purpose and goals, but don’t force them to be prescriptive. By allowing talents to create in their own style, they will create a closer connection with your audience.
Whitler: How can a constantly evolving influence strategy differentiate a brand from its competitors and ensure a strong return on investment?
Gold: We emphasize the need for brands to listen to their audience because they will give you signals when messages land or get bogged down. These signals quickly become critical data for a brand and are invaluable in informing of any necessary strategy changes.
In fact, audience signals can also help identify the right talented creator. It’s important to be fluid with a designer approach in order to connect with the right talent and use the budget effectively.
While brands used to sign spokespersons for multi-year deals, it is recommended that you keep a budget available to sign creators for individual projects throughout the year. You will create a larger community of creators to tap into and this will give your brand the flexibility to evolve with the signals you hear from the community.
This variability and ever-changing approach will help your brand connect more easily and more often with audiences, which can be a big differentiator.
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