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.