In today’s tech-dri­ven, vir­tu­al­ly-con­nect­ed world, a tremen­dous shift is hap­pen­ing in the way peo­ple per­ceive a brand’s mes­sage and make a pur­chase deci­sion. They are no longer con­vinced by what a brand says about its prod­ucts; instead, they form their own opin­ions through infor­ma­tion they get from dif­fer­ent online and offline plat­forms.

Although this con­sumer behav­ioral trend is on the rise, this does­n’t mean that tra­di­tion­al means of busi­ness growth such as word-of-mouth ref­er­ences, refer­rals and reg­u­lar adver­tis­ing have lost their effi­ca­cy. It’s just that today’s aver­age con­sumer is able to sift through a tremen­dous vol­ume of data at a fast rate.

Many entre­pre­neurs, exec­u­tives and lead­ers rely on pre­dictable envi­ron­ments and grow­ing their career, busi­ness or orga­ni­za­tion tra­di­tion­al­ly. But in a con­stant­ly chang­ing envi­ron­ment, it becomes more crit­i­cal to devel­op career and busi­ness strate­gies that make sense and seize oppor­tu­ni­ties.

The time has come for every leader and entre­pre­neur who intends to suc­ceed to take charge of their growth tra­jec­to­ry rather than mere­ly rely­ing on their tra­di­tion­al dig­i­tal and social mar­ket­ing strate­gies.

The Rise Of Influencer Marketing

Influ­encers have evolved into a small, spe­cif­ic, spe­cial­ized niche of social media users. They have a sig­nif­i­cant social media pres­ence and a decent fol­low­er base that may range from sev­er­al hun­dred to sev­er­al mil­lion. From Face­book and Twit­ter to LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, blog­ging sites, Insta­gram, Snapchat and all oth­er social media plat­forms, influ­encers are now every­where, endors­ing prod­ucts, mak­ing rec­om­men­da­tions and influ­enc­ing people’s per­cep­tions, behav­iors and pur­chase deci­sions.

But there’s a catch.

Not all indi­vid­u­als or brands that approach influ­encers will be able to lever­age influ­encer posi­tion­ing. In fact, there are some that wouldn’t be able to entice real and gen­uine influ­encers in the first place.

The whole premise of influ­encer posi­tion­ing revolves around three core fac­tors:

• The strength and char­ac­ter of an indi­vid­ual or brand

• Their per­sona, per­cep­tion and rep­u­ta­tion

• Their rela­tion­ship with the influ­encer

Com­bine them all, and voila! You have an on-point influ­encer posi­tion­ing strat­e­gy in place.

Sim­ply put, indi­vid­u­als or brands must invest in build­ing their own influ­ence as well as devel­op­ing strong rela­tion­ships with influ­encers until they can best lever­age influ­encer posi­tion­ing.

The Correlation Between A Brand’s Character And Influencer Positioning

Con­sid­er the exam­ple of two brands. Brand A has a strong brand mes­sage, empha­sizes its unique sell­ing propo­si­tion and holds a sound rep­u­ta­tion. Brand B, on the oth­er hand, has a laid-back approach to its per­sona and impact and relies sole­ly on its dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tives.

Now, if both brands go about posi­tion­ing their respec­tive brands through influ­encers, which of them would be able to lever­age it best?

A brand that lacks a strong mes­sage, per­sona and cred­i­bil­i­ty would be sole­ly rely­ing on the pow­er of the influ­encer to send out its mes­sage and cre­ate impact. They’re almost like a par­a­site whose inten­tion is to lurk and thrive on the influ­ence of the influ­encer, with­out deliv­er­ing any val­ue in return. With­out a def­i­nite and con­cise mes­sage, they might attract the inter­est of a few social media per­son­al­i­ties, but they won’t be able to engage real and gen­uine influ­encers.

If you or your brand lack integri­ty, strength, rep­u­ta­tion and cred­i­bil­i­ty, not even the influ­encer (no mat­ter how strong) will be able to lure the audi­ence to your prod­uct. In the worst case, pro­mot­ing a weak or unsta­ble brand could harm the cred­i­bil­i­ty of the influ­encer them­selves.

On the con­trary, if a brand that already main­tains a mar­ket rep­u­ta­tion and influ­ence seeks to con­nect with a gen­uine influ­encer, the effect of their respec­tive influ­ence sky­rock­ets, and the impact on their tar­get audi­ence mag­ni­fies expo­nen­tial­ly.

Now, this may sound like a tedious process, which it is, but it will sig­nif­i­cant­ly help your brand stand out, make an impact, influ­ence the mass­es and dri­ve engage­ment.

In A Nutshell

Effec­tive brand­ing is get­ting peo­ple to show an inter­est in your brand. The more peo­ple talk about it, the more engage­ment it will dri­ve and the stronger it will become.

It’s about time brands real­ize that influ­encer mar­ket­ing is the writ­ing on the wall. If you still think you can leave it as an option, you are leav­ing a lot of poten­tial on the table. But for it to be effec­tive, you need to have your own influ­ence as an indi­vid­ual or brand first.