Has Influencer Marketing Become Redundant?

Everyone’s doing it. They’re filming it in parks, kitchens and bedrooms; live Tweeting it; taking photos and broadcasting details on the internet…

Some of the biggest brands in the world have engaged bloggers, vloggers, Instagram and Vine stars to endorse their products or services, and nobody wants to be left behind.

But when everyone’s doing it, does that mean you’re no longer special? Are brands and PRs turning away from influencer marketing in search of ‘the next big thing’ in brand marketing?

We’ve heard the horror stories: most recently, the Twitterstorm over the breakdown in relations between a blogger and a bakery over a tray of macarons in #BloggerBlackmail. Yet there are also the triumphs. A well-executed influencer campaign harnesses the power of word-of-mouth and the trust consumers place in peer opinions and celebrity endorsements. A 2013 SocialChorus report estimated that influencers drive an average of 16 times higher engagement rates than paid media and owned alternatives.

What I found from speaking with colleagues about this article is that PRs certainly value working with influencers. But the key is authenticity – there has to be a true connection between the influencer and the brand.

Consumers are savvy. They know influencers work with brands, and they’ll be able to tell when an influencer doesn’t understand or even like the product they’re talking about. Advertorials might have ‘PROMOTION’ emblazoned across the top of the page, but a video by a vlogger about a product or service feels more authentic because they put their own brand (and face) behind the content – even if that, too, is paid for.

Influencer engagement is a powerful way to create connections between brands and consumers, but authenticity is paramount.  Brands that can create real relationships with influencers will be the winners, creating goodwill and advocacy with their customers.

Beth Hunt, Account Manager, Brand Marketing