The digital world is constantly changing and adapting. Project Manager, Shauna O’Brien, gives her two cents on a subject close to her heart…
We’re at a stage in this evolution where consumers are almost required to be poised; ready to jump on any and all of the latest trends and promos. It’s common to see the annual Autumnal influx of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Silly Season (Christmas) deals supported by our favourite influencer friends.
And as you stomp through the streets, the taste of pumpkin spice being washed away by toffee nut, your mobile friends continue to reassure you and help you navigate the latest seasonal frenzy of ‘must have’ products and ‘too good to miss’ offers. It’s undeniable that influencers have played a pivotal role in starting and increasing the virality of campaigns, capturing our attention and inherently reshaping the advertising landscape.
Over the past year, we’ve witnessed the incredible rise of the influencers ability to drive trends. So it’s no surprise that these trends have left a significant mark on the advertising world.
The Year of the Influencer
Virgin Voyage Cruises set sail with 35 influencers on board to document their journey’s in their unique styles and TOV. Their content reached an audience of 14.8 million pairs of media scrolling eyeballs and generated an eye-watering ROI of 26,500%.
Meanwhile, “Barbie mania” flooded our timelines with pink-themed fashion, renamed local landmarks, and opened up a profound new dialogue around what a movie has the power to stand for. And let’s not forget the endlessly playful references to Barbie and Ken, the Hallowe’en costumes and this fine example of how you can’t just become an influencer.
This cohort of creators truly painted the social media town pink. You might as well have been living under a rock if you were unlucky enough to not experience some kind of Barbie reference this year. A giant pink rock.
Instances like these showcase the simple and immense power influencers can have in reshaping customer behaviours. It’s clear these guys haven’t just been brought on board the advertising ship; they’re at the helm!
This is a rapidly expanding industry.
The Future of Influencer Marketing
Brands are starting to veer away from conventional paid advertising and opting instead to forge organic partnerships with influencers. A staggering 54% of 13- to 38-year-olds aspire to become influencers. There are even specialised courses like the Content Creation and Social Media BA offered by SETU in Ireland that cater to an increasing number of people’s burgeoning interest in a career as an influencer.
It’s not even uncommon for figures like Kim Kardashian to deliver lectures at prestigious institutions like Harvard Business School. This is a world we can no longer afford to ignore as it continues to evolve and gain mainstream recognition.
Influencers: More Than Just Pretty Faces
In a world where the exchange of memes and TikToks is a primary form of communication, influencers are capitalising on the abundance of this digital currency. And, for these creators, staying on top of trends is paramount and lifting your ear from the ground for even a single day is enough to damage a well-formed reputation.
We’re living in a time where remaining agile, adaptable and perpetually trend-conscious when it comes to living online presence is almost as important as food, water and air. Influencers aren’t simply promoting products any more. They’re actively participating in cultural shifts and setting trends in real time. Leading the conversations around them and creating content that aligns to their beliefs and evolving cultural phenomena.
There’s a clear correlation between influencer marketing and the advertising world.
It’s about much more than engagement. The smart ones have already strategically positioned themselves as key players in the advertising world.
Personally, I think the role of influencers is about to snowball and continue to snowball. Brand building, especially when it comes to recruitment advertising, relies of authentic storytelling. A relatability that can’t be fabricated. And with influencers having absolute autonomy over who they work with, brands need to resonate with them if they’re to be endorsed in any way.
To the cynic and sceptic, money will always be a driving factor (girls gotta eat), but the audiences that these creators nurture like baby goats, learn so much about their personality. Followers are acutely aware of any deep-rooted position an influencer holds and what exactly makes them tick. So if an influencer rejects a brand, their unique audience will avoid it.
This is real power. And the value of that power will only continue to increase.