Because of how wildly consumers’ worlds have changed in the last four months (COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter), this means they can engage with brands in endless ways and under their own terms. For marketers, this means coming up with effective strategies that address personalization at scale, new technologies, and omnichannel experience, among others. Learn how Portada Council System‘s leading brand marketers are leveraging opportunities and facing challenges around consumer engagement.
More than half (54%) of customers think companies need to fundamentally transform how they engage. (Salesforce)
Companies with initiatives to improve their customer experience see employee engagement increase by 20% on average. (McKinsey)
61% of people expect brands to tailor experiences based on their preferences. (Think With Google)
Three Consumer Engagement Challenges According to Portada Council System Members
1. Problems of Definition: When Does it Really Count as Consumer Engagement?
Related comment: “What is consumer engagement? How is it defined? What does a consumer need to do for that to be considered engagement?”
Depending on the channel, sometimes it’s defined more easily, but it isn’t always easy to measure. It used to be just about exposure, but now the consumer has the power to build a relationship with your brand.
2. Trust Goes Both Ways, Can Brands Trust Consumers?
Related comment: “Reviews and comments aren’t accurate anymore because companies pay for reviews, it’s the same trend as fake news.”
People say one thing and then do another. Marketers know that when you do consumer research, respondents say whatever they need to make you happy, to impress others, to go with the flow…
3. It’s Impossible to Fully Measure Engagement
Related comment: “How do you tie engagement to other metrics down the consumption funnel? We don’t always know if we’re really changing someone’s behavior when they watch or share. Are they more connected than before?”
Engagement is just part of what we do, but ultimately what we want is people coming to our business. The lack of uniformity of the data we receive is a challenge for personalization.
Portada Council System Members Also Identified Three Consumer Engagement Opportunities
1. Technology Can Help Consumers Relate With Brands
Related comment: “When new formats like live video come out, we tend to wonder if we are ready or how to be. Things like Facebook Live have helped people engage more and more with us, and when people engage, we can retarget. Technology allows you to measure and retarget consumers, as well as track when they make a purchase.”
Some marketers feel like they have to encompass every single touchpoint. Rather, you need to identify the right points for your audience and address those. It comes to affinity and targeting the right media.
2. It’s not All About Sales
Related comment: “Engagement translates into investment, not only economical (which is what we all strive for), but also emotional. Nowadays there isn’t time for anything, people invest time on your brand, which translates into loyalty. Brands today all have the same virtual space; as long as your consumers are engaged, you’re winning.”
Interactions between consumers are almost as valuable as interactions with the brand
3. Perhaps You Should Try Influencer Marketing
Related comment: “Influencers can be a positive strategy, but a lot of brands are not selective enough with influencers. Influencers should align with the brand and have credibility. Consumers are smarter than we think they are, they see right through it. When you have a true ambassador, they’re worth it.”
Influencer marketing is great at a local level because you can target your audience according to specific areas where your product is popular. That’s where you have local influencers that you can maximize by investing in trust rather than in reach.
The World Surf League (WSL) ranks third among sports leagues in social interactions and video views, behind just the NFL & NBA. Tim Greenberg, Chief Community Officer at the World Surf League, tells Portada about his social media and influencer marketing strategies. Greenberg explains what content the WSL produces and how they use TikTok and other platforms for social media distribution. Surf’s Olympic debut and more…
Greenberg, an avid surfer himself, joined the World Surf League (WSL) in 2013 and has focused on helping the league grow its digital presence. He oversees numerous innovation projects for the WSL while he also manages content, original programming and strategy for the brand’s social and digital channels. In 2017/2018, WSL ranked third among sports leagues in social interactions and video views, behind just the NFL & NBA.
Big Wave Content: Capturing the Imagination of the Consumer
“We are very lucky. Our content is incredibly beautiful and aspirational. There is something about surfing that speaks to a non-endemic surf fan. It’s the lifestyle, the freedom and the adventure,” Greenberg notes.
Content helps the WSL capture the imagination of the consumer through something Greenberg calls “Big wave content.” According to Greenberg, the visual of surfing a 60 foot wave is not difficult to understand (although hard to comprehend – even if you’re a core surfer). “When a big wave location called Nazare in Portugal breaks – it garners international news coverage. To ensure that we’re generating the most from these cut through moments, this year we have a strategic and tactical plan for what we’re calling ‘strike missions’. A strike mission is when, on short notice, a swell pops up somewhere in the world. We are capturing the content and distributing across social in real-time. In addition, for major moments throughout the year we’re creating 22 minute long-form episodes of a series called ‘WSL At Large’, which is then distributed through our website, app, youtube , AVOD and linear TV partners.”
A strike mission is when, on short notice, a swell pops up somewhere in the world. We are capturing the content and distributing across social in real-time.
WSL Social Media Strategy: Leveraging TikTok for Early Adopters …
A crucial element of the WSL engagement strategy, according to Greenberg, is to be everywhere consumers are engaging and leveraging emerging platforms as early adopters. “We were one of the first sports properties on TikTok and because we crafted our content for the platform our follower count and engagement reflects this strategy.” In fact, the WSL was just named #11 on TikTok for follower growth last month (right behind Netflix). “In 2020 and 2021, we will increasingly be looking to distribute surfing content on linear TV, SVOD, AVOD, OOH and YouTube. We have built a passionate and loyal fan base on our owned digital channels, but one of the keys to our success will be placing surfing content off-platform in as many places as possible”, Greenberg asserts.
One of the keys to our success will be placing surfing content off-platform in as many places as possible.
…and Surfers as Entry Points for Fans.
As stated by Greenberg, surfers are the WSL most important asset: “If you look at your own behavior, likely the first entry point for being a ‘fan’ of a team or sport is through an athlete. It’s the same in our sport. When Brazilian Gabriel Medina won his first World Title and the first world Title for Brasil in 2014, he became a national celebrity. This translated into new fans for the WSL and for the sport in general. We need to help create heroes.”
Likely the first entry point for being a ‘fan’ of a team or sport is through an athlete.
Preparing for Surf’s Olympic Debut
Surf is going to make its Olympic debut in Tokyo this summer. Truly a milestone for the sport. “This is an incredible moment for our sport. The Olympics is a global stage and, for most of the world, this is the first time they will experience competitive surfing. So it’s crucial that the education process for how we, the IOC, the ISA and the global broadcasting partners communicate clearly how surfing works. Who are the athletes? Where are they from? How do you win? What makes a good score? etc. We believe that a new generation of surf fans will be born from this moment and for the WSL it’s about the consumer journey back to us,” Greenberg notes.
Greenberg adds that ahead of the Olympics the WSL has a team of internal WSL staff dedicated to supporting athletes, partners, broadcast partners and the ISA (International Surfing Association). Promotional efforts started last year. The 2019 WSL rankings provisionally qualified 18 of the 40 surfers heading to Tokyo. Qualification was a constant narrative through the back-half of the season as surfers earned enough points to represent their country.
The best thing we can be doing as a league is helping to create heroes.
As surfers provisionally qualified, the WSL Brand Marketing team created gift boxes with custom country flags that were presented to each athlete the moment they were made aware they qualified. “These emotional moments were then shared across our digital and social channels, the athlete’s channels, on our broadcast and to the media. In 2020, we’re working closely with each of the provisionally qualified athletes, the national governing bodies, management teams and sponsors to develop strategies to amplify their profiles. The best thing we can be doing as a league is helping to create heroes,” Greenberg concludes.
Over 4.2 million peanut emojis have been used on Twitter since the emoji’s creation for the Spreading Good Campaign and the National Peanut Board (NPB) has set out to reach 6 million peanut emojis on Twitter by March 31 (National Peanut Month). Ryan Lepicier, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, National Peanut Board, tells Portada how he is using emoji marketing.
The National Peanut Board (NPB) is giving substance to the peanut emoji by turning digital peanuts into real peanuts. The company will turn Peanut emojis into real peanut butter donations to food banks across the nation. The NPB is not only making a donation based upon all the U.S. peanut emojis used to-date on Twitter. In addition, they’re encouraging consumers to continue to use the peanut emoji on Twitter to fuel even more peanut butter donations to food banks.
Emoji Marketing as Amplification Tool
“With emojis, we’ve been able to create a simple and straightforward campaign that is very user-friendly. Emojis are a universal language to communicate feelings and emotions. Thus, it makes it easy to engage with a broad range of audiences”, Ryan Lepicier, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, National Peanut Board tells Portada.
“For example, thefan base behind popular South Korean K-Pop Band, BTS caught wind of our campaign and it quickly spread across their audience. We saw an increase of peanut emojis used within hours! In less than two weeks, we saw more than a million peanut emojis used on Twitter, surpassing our original goal. With people around the globe Spreading Good, NPB decided to increase the campaign goal. The objective is 6 million emojis on Twitter by March 31 and in return, NPB will donate 17,000 pounds of peanuts and peanut butter to food banks.
In less than two weeks, we saw more than a million peanut emojis used on Twitter.
The Spreading Good campaign is all about shareable content and a sense of unity.
Twitter, a Good Vehicle for Emoji Marketing
According to Lepicier, through Twitter the NPB was able to connect to its target audience: Millennials.Millennials have an average attention span of only 12 seconds, making it important to capture their attention quickly. To do so, the NPB thought of a tone for its Twitter page @PeanutsHere that was quick, fun, and a little nutty – just like the platform. “The Spreading Good campaign is all about shareable content and a sense of unity. For these reasons, we felt Twitter was our strongest platform to bring this fun campaign to life”, Lepicier concludes.
Radisson Anápolis: recognized hotel brand Radisson announced the opening of Radisson Hotel Anápolis at Avenida Oscar Mohn, No. 250, Anápolis, Brazil. This upscale hotel is perfectly positioned in one of the fastest-growing cities in Goiás, providing a convenient spot for guests interested in checking out the Brasil Park Shopping, or business travelers visiting companies like Vitamedic orLinea Alimentos. The hotel is also conveniently located near Terminal Rodoviário Josias Moreira Braga bus station and Goiânia Airport (GYN).“Our partnership with Atlantica Hotels allows us to bring the bright, inviting and balanced feel of the Radisson brand into vibrant cities like Anápolis, Brazil,” said Frances Gonzalez, vice president of Operations for Radisson Hotel Group in Latin America.Atlantica Hotels is a licensee for Radisson Hotel Group’s brands in Brazil, including Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED and Park Inn by Radisson. The two companies have enjoyed a longstanding relationship in Brazil that now includes 16 hotels in operation.
Health and beauty consumer packaged goods company The Yield Growth Corp.announced that it ships its first products to OMG Colombia, the subsidiary of Organic Medical Growth OMG3 Inc. (“OMG3”) in Latin America, based in Colombia, as part of a 5 year distribution deal for Yield Growth’s Urban Juve skin care line. Today, 1,800 products are being shipped, in partial fulfillment of OMG’s first product purchase order in anticipation of imminent completion of regulatory approval to sell Urban Juve products in Colombia and progressively in other parts of South America.According to Goldstein Research, the Latin America cosmetics market reached a value of USD US$31.98 billion in 2017 and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 4.49% during the forecast period 2017-2025.OMG3 is in the process of distributing Urban Juve skin care products in Colombia and other countries of Latin America. Through its Colombian partner Ortix, OMG has access to a distribution channel of over 44,000 pharmacies in South America and has partnered with on-demand delivery giant, Rappi, to sell products through its e-commerce platform.
US carmaker General Motors has decided to exit Thailand market.The brand will withdraw the Chevrolet brand from Thailand by the end of 2020, and said that China’s Great Wall Motor (GWM) has agreed to buy over its manufacturing plants in Rayong.GM’s co-ordinated retreat is part of the company’s plan to exit unprofitable markets including Europe, while focusing on North America, China, Latin America and South Korea. With the planned sale of its Thai plant, GM has essentially given up on the rest of ASEAN as well, as the Land of Smiles is the company’s regional hub.GM is “focusing on markets where we have the right strategies to drive robust returns, and prioritising global investments that will drive growth in the future of mobility,” especially in electric and autonomous vehicles, GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra said in a statement.
Interpublic Group agency Golin announced a new client partner to its international roster. Leading travel loyalty and benefits brand, Collinson, appointed Golin the global PR and communications Agency of Record (AOR), following a competitive pitch. The partnership will be led via a dual hub model from the Golin London and Golin Hong Kong offices, and the work will begin immediately.As AOR, Golin will head up PR and communications for Collinson with particular focus in Brazil, China, Hong Kong, India, UAE, the UK and the US; with further markets to be activated in Europe and Asia. The agency’s first charge will be to build awareness of Collinson’s integrated expertise in loyalty and travel experience, showcasing the group’s breadth of capabilities under one single brand voice and messaging.
Brazilian plant-based startup Fazenda Futuro, recently valued at US$100 million, will launch vegan sausages made with a seaweed skin for crispiness next month. The sausages are made with a blend of pea, soy, and chickpea protein with beetroot added for a “rosy color”. The products are free from GMO ingredients, food colorings, artificial flavors, or enhancers and the pork flavor comes from natural flavors and spices. They are coated with a neutral-tasting seaweed ‘skin’ that emulates the crispiness of traditional pork sausages.The sausages, which will launch in April in Brazil and the Netherlands, have a 17% protein content and add to Fazenda Futuro’s portfolio of products consisting of its Futuro Burger, ground meat and meatballs.Although Fazenda Futuro is a newcomer – it was founded in May last year – it has quickly made a name for itself in the plant-based category. In July last year, the startup received its first round of investments with Monashees and investment firm Go4it Capital acquiring an 8.5% stake for US$8.5 million. The transaction valued Fazenda Futuro at around US$100 million.The company was founded by Marcos Leta, a Rio de Janeiro-based food entrepreneur and investor.
JOIN PORTADA’S KNOWLEDGE-SHARING AND NETWORKING PLATFORM: To find out about Portada’s new networking solutions targeting the decision makers of the above campaigns, please contact Sales Director Leslie Zambrano at Leslie@portada-online.com.
Endemol Shine North America has appointed award-winning licensing agency Tycoon Enterprises to serve as its exclusive licensing agent for the “MasterChef” television property in Latin America. MasterChef’ is one of the most successful food format in the world with over 60 localized versions across the globe including 10 in Latin America alone.Tycoon Enterprises will expand the “MasterChef” franchise in key categories including food and beverage, cookware and live experiences. Endemol Shine Brazil will continue to represent the brand in their market independently.In addition to “MasterChef,” the partnership will also look to explore opportunities in all categories for Endemol Shine series “¿Quién es la máscara” (“The Masked Singer”), “Te la Juego” (“Deal or No Deal”), “Fear Factor” and “Wipeout” in Mexico.
Portada Council System members have voted for the topics to be discussed at the three main speaking slots at Portada Los Angeles on April 2, 2020. The topics revolve around data collection with a cultural approach, influencer marketing, and consumer insights.
For over a decade, Portada has been there to offer a space in which experts can discuss the most relevant issues of marketing and advertising. Now, for 2020 we are taking it one step further by inviting brand and agency decision-makers (members of the Portada Council System) to get directly involved in the selection of the content of each of our events.
Consequently, the brand marketers in Portada’s Council System have voted for the topics to be discussed at the three main speaking slots during Portada Los Angeles on April 2, 2020.
“The brand marketers in our Council System play a crucial part in determining the topics of our events. By having these leading practitioners suggest and vote for the themes of the three main speaking slots, we make sure that brand marketing, tech and media executives targeting the diverse U.S. consumer get the most relevant content available in the marketplace,” says Marcos Baer, president of Portada.
Below are the three winning topics as well as comments from Portada Council System members as to why these reflect their interests.
Portada Los Angeles Keynote: Why data scientists need to be cultural experts (A media planner/buyer perspective)
In 2017, the Economist declared data, and no longer oil was the most valuable resource in the world. And even though brands and agencies now have access to tremendous amounts of data, the tricky part is how to make sense of it. For the Portada Los Angeles Keynote talk, Council System members selected the topic of data collection and the extra layer of adding a cultural filter to how that data is processed. Below are the members’ thoughts and questions around the issue.
I’d like to hear how data scientists are cutting data to understand audiences and behaviors at the multicultural level. It would be interesting to see how the data changes once you’ve looked at it from a cultural perspective.
Would be interested to hear from data scientists about how they layer in cultural understanding. Is it all done in algorithms or are they also making “manual” choices based on cultural nuances?
Sometimes people have the view that with enough data, you can target anyone effectively, thereby removing the need to appeal to the audience’s culture. How can we continue to recognize the importance of culture in this technology-driven age?
How to combat bias in data, examples of how data can be interpreted in different ways by people who do not understand the culture?
I notice there is a shift where many ethnic or multicultural agencies are moving beyond population subgroups (Hispanic/Latino, Asian, etc) and shifting towards culture. So in a way, culture and being culturally relevant is the latest evolution of multicultural marketing. It would be good to hear how the rigors of data relate to culture or vice versa.
Consumer Insight Highlight Speaking Slot: What creates brand lift?
How to measure brand lift. How to understand the impact of media spend.
This seems fairly obvious, but with so many marketers choosing to focus on attribution and lower-funnel metrics, it’s important to remind ourselves that without a strong brand identity and awareness, the purchase funnel will dry up.
I am especially interested in understanding how can I lift or transform a brand’s reputation and perception online, social listening studies, setting benchmarks, improving engagement based on brand interactions that aren’t necessarily transnational, cause-related marketing and its true impact on brand love and conversion.
How do you break through the clutter in an age where people are used to influencers pitching product after product?
Which industries, type of messages or cultural moments are influencer moments and which are not?
Understanding how companies evaluate influencer marketing’s impact on their objectives. And also how they think about leveraging influencers.
As media markets are diversified to include more faces and individuals that come and represent specific communities it’d be pertinent to hear more about the process of influencer identification, vetting, and relevancy in the different markets we are trying to influence.
It would be good to understand how this has evolved and what the next platform capabilities are.
Portada Los Angeles 2020 will be a unique experience. First, the three different Council System bespoke workshops will take place in the morning. Also, brand marketers and best-of-breed marketing services suppliers will have 1:1 meetings and attend VIP networking functions. In addition, attendees will learn at four exclusive and highly-curated speaking slots on the themes outlined above, which were voted by the over 100 brand marketers in the Portada Council System.
More information about the structure of speaking slots at Portada events:
Keynote: 45-minute session. An overarching topic of paramount importance to the brand marketing community to be addressed by subject matter experts who provide innovative solutions.
Consumer Insight Highlight: 25-minute session. Consumer Engagement and sales conversion are the ultimate objectives for brand marketers. This session will provide key and fresh consumer insights that foster the understanding of the U.S consumer and provide actionable tips for marketers.
MarTech Solution Spotlight: 25-minute session. Technology plays a crucial role both for consumers as well as an enabler for marketers. During this session a major brand marketing thought leader will reveal the latest trends on the use of technology by consumers and brands.
Partner Thought Leadership Presentation. An opportunity for a Portada partner to gain major exposure in front of a listening audience of major brand marketing executives.
For more information about Portada Los Angeles on April 2, 2020 click here
Influencer marketing has become increasingly more important in the last years. It’s risky, but most marketers continue to invest in this trend. We discussed campaigns and best practices with Paula’s Choice’s Rajaa Grar, Kia’s Eugene Santos, and CH Carolina Herrera’s Fabiola Velarde.
Even though the term “influencer marketing” has increased in relevance during the last years, the concept is not new by any means. Influence has been around since pretty much forever. We hardly ever make a choice without taking someone else’s opinion into account, and it’s no wonder advertising has been taking advantage of that since the very need to advertise came to being.
Reportedly, influencer marketing was born around the late 1800s, when consumer goods brands hired celebrities to promote their products. For certain categories, like beauty and luxury, working with brand ambassadors is almost a given. However, it’s been several years since virtually every brand is getting on the influencers’ ship.
The New Influencer Marketing
Because social media allows everyone to be content creators, influencers are everywhere. Brands can now choose between many types of influencers to help promote a product or service, from an active blogger with a few hundred loyal followers to a celebrity that charges thousands of dollars per post.
According to MediaKix, global influencer marketing might become a $5-10 billion industry within the next five years. Influencers are the perfect intermediary between a brand and its consumers. In fact, in spite of authenticity issues, big companies are trying to improve the transparency of this discipline because of its efficacy. In June, Unilever made a $12 million investment in Creator IQ, a software that helps marketers manage influencers.
We recently shared a full influencer marketing guide in which Band of Insiders, Best Buy, Bimbo, and Drinkfinity discuss five important questions on the topic. For this article, we talked to Paula’s Choice Global Brand / Marketing Leader and General Manager Rajaa Grar, Kia Motors America’s Senior Manager of Marketing & Advertising Eugene Santos, and CH Carolina Herrera’s U.S. Managing Director Fabiola Velarde in order to find out about their experience with influencers, how they measure results, and how they think the discipline will evolve. Keep reading to know what has worked for them and what can work for you.
The Influence of True Love
In 2018, 78% of marketers used influencer marketing to promote their brand. However, this type of marketing doesn’t work for everybody. The main reason, according to experts, is that brands are not doing enough research when they first choose influencers. The key ingredient, in spite of what many might believe, is not the number of followers, but rather, the affinity between a brand’s values and the influencer’s.
“Many of the content creators that we collaborate with are skincare enthusiasts and share our skincare passion,” said Rajaa Grar when we first discussed the topic with her. “They also have followers who are Paula’s choice fans as well. They also truly respect our brand and skincare philosophy, rooted in truth and advocacy and are themselves fans of the brand.”
It’s not that the number of followers doesn’t matter, but it doesn’t always reflect true engagement. Paula’s Choice only aligns with ambassadors that are true fans of the product, and it seeks to forge long-term relationships with them.
“We go through a careful vetting process ahead of any collaboration and of course getting to know our influencers on a deeper level is essential as they are an extended part of our brand family,” shared Grar. “When doing so, the results are not only most authentic, but our brand efforts are reaping the benefits for a longer period of time after the content goes live.”
Storytelling that Empowers Your Consumers
An essential part of your research about influencers starts at the consumers you’re trying to reach. Not only do they need to share the brand’s values, but they also have to be the right communicators of your message. For Eugene Santos, one of the first issues on the way of an influencer marketing campaign was budget. For marketers that target multicultural audiences, one of the first wars they have to win is often fought against management.“You’d think that in 2020 we wouldn’t need to fight to convince organizations about the Hispanic business opportunity,” commented Santos. “But we keep fighting the same fight. Therefore, make sure you can show metrics that the general market understands.”
But Santos’ team, together with their partner Verizon Media, came up with an insightful, culturally nuanced campaign, titled “Give it Everything“, to reach potential Hispanic buyers of the new Kia Soul. “Telling a story allows us to continue to connect with our audience and keeps the brand on top of mind. This might look like a simple project, but it’s making our company reconsider how they think about multicultural,” shared Santos. And so he came up with the idea of having two unique influencers that could tell the Latino story, who could really connect with the demographic because it was also their story.
“How do we tell the underdog story, which is really the Kia story, and how do we tell the Latino story to them?” asked Santos rhetorically. “I want to talk about the professional who is trying to do something different and relate it to my key customer.”
Fashion and Influencers, a Perennial Symbiosis
CH Carolina Herrera has worked with social media influencers for more than 10 years, but it has always had endorsers. What used to be a spread in a magazine has now turned into a 24/7 curation of several social platforms. For CH, Instagram is the most relevant platform. They use celebrities like top models and other fashion icons that reflect the brand’s values.
“We’ve been working every day with celebrities and social influencers for over ten years. Now even more, especially because social media are active all the time,” pointed out Fabiola Velarde. “We have started to identify influencers that can relate to the global market, and we also have activations with local celebrities.”
Because it’s such an aspirational and luxurious brand, Carolina Herrera doesn’t take the influencer selection process lightly. “What we do is I communicate with my team, we look at the influencer and we assess the overall relationship between their lifestyle and what we represent, taking into account in which markets they have more impact” explained Fabiola. “We don’t only look at the number of followers. If we did that, we would risk causing misunderstandings and sending out the wrong message.”
How to Know It’s Working
Marketers agree that one of the main cons of influencer marketing is the impossibility to truly measure its ROI. We can get an idea of a campaign’s success from how much engagement a post receives, but there’s still no way to translate that into sales. “In the end, a good response to a post about our product is between 1% and 1.5% of an influencer’s followers,” shared Velarde.
What Does the Future Hold in Store?
Some dare to say influencer marketing is just another fad. However, research shows it will continue to grow steadily and at an accelerated pace. For the ones that work with this discipline every day, like Fabiola Velarde, it’s not likely that influencers will cease to exist. “We don’t believe influencers will die. It’s not something that started 5 years ago,” commented Velarde. “It’s a group that has always existed, but now the unfamous are getting lots of influencers into the market. Some of them won’t be able to sustain the business, but the ones that are really part of the community will remain strong.”
Not only aren’t influencers going anywhere, but brands like CH Carolina Herrera are also looking for new ways to leverage their influence in more tangible ways. One thing Fabiola Velarde’s team is exploring is the possibility of having influencers as personal shoppers. “Having an influencer at the store would help us provide a whole shopping experience,” she told. “This person could come to store events, bring his or her followers and take the business to a new level.” Even though this idea is still merely a draft, it promises to build a bridge to the side of influencer marketing that has been hitherto impossible to measure.
One Size Does Not Fit All
When asked about what type of influencer works best, Fabiola Velarde mentioned that it all depends on the brand’s message and objectives. For CH Carolina Herrera, there are global efforts and local efforts. “If we use a celebrity or international influencer, it helps with the global projection. But if we want to penetrate into a local market, we definitely work with smaller influencers,” she explained. “Like Leonora Jimenez, who is based in Costa Rica and has a good impact in Latin America. No one knows her in the U.S. or Europe. Or Olivia Palermo, who is very well known in the fashion community in the U.S. and with whom we have extensively worked before.”
To sum up, influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere; it’s merely evolving to adapt to brands’ and consumers’ needs. To work well, objectives, channels and the influencers themselves should fit with the brand’s values, not only to minimize crisis risk but to ensure good results overall. It’s very important to analyze the data, be aware of the results you’re aiming at. We shouldn’t underestimate Influencer marketing, it isn’t easy, but it can really bring you success. It should be a part of your whole marketing strategy, not as an isolated campaign but as a long-term program. If we do it well, it’s a great bet. Otherwise, it can really hurt you. That’s why you should partner with experts.
We caught up with Kia Motors America’s Eugene Santos, Senior Manager, Multicultural Marketing, about Kia’s new multicultural campaign, Driving Forces. Anything related to the Hispanic market comes toSantos’ desk first, so he knows a thing or two about how to market to Hispanic consumers. He told Portada New York 19’s audience all about Kia’s first time using influencer marketing to target Hispanics.
Eugene Santos, Senior Manager of Multicultural Marketing at Kia, has spent years practicing how to market to Hispanic consumers. The last time we spoke to him,he gave us a preview of what he had in store for the brand’s next Hispanic-oriented campaign. All we knew at the moment was the goal, to reach the Hispanic segment through an emotional connection to the brand’s new slogan. Fast forward to a couple of months later, Kia has launched Driving Forces, a campaign that involves real Latino stories.
“We launched a message during the super bowl: Give it everything,” Santos said to an audience of fellow brand marketers at Portada New York. “In the past, Kia has been successful with Superbowl commercials. But now that the message is out there, what do we do with it? What does it mean? Especially for Latinos.”
The problem facing automakers these days, according to Santos, is that vehicles are smarter and last longer, so consumers are holding to their cars for more time. “The need for an automobile has decreased,” Santos pointed out. But the campaign has already proved to be fruitful, as the 200-percent increase in traffic to the Kia Soul landing page shows. Santos shared this and other pieces of information in exclusive at Portada New York… metrics not even Kia’s management had seen!
Still Talking Up the Hispanic Market
For a Korean brand that is relatively new to the U.S., the new Driving Forces campaign is a huge deal. “As all multicultural marketing managers know, budget is an issue,” said Santos. “Since Hispanics account for 18% of the population, General Market assumes we should have 18% of the marketing budget, but it doesn’t work that way.”
In fact, a real problem that stood out throughout the Portada New York conferences was the need to convince management of the relevance of Hispanic consumers. “You’d think that in 2020 we wouldn’t need to fight to convince organizations about the Hispanic business opportunity,” commented Santos. “But we keep fighting the same fight. Therefore, make sure you can show metrics that the general market understands.”
The good news is: insightful, culturally nuanced campaigns are an important step to increasing companies’ awareness…, and getting a few more ad dollars. “Telling a story allows us to continue to connect with our audience and keeps the brand on top of mind. This might look like a simple project, but it’s making our company reconsider how they think about multicultural,” shared Santos.
An Effective Campaign Will Take You Far
As Eugene Santos explained, a successful campaign can yield results that are very important for the long run: not only can it get you more budget with management, but it can also ease you into the next step of your strategy.
That’s why Santos likes storytelling; it can elevate your brand by telling relatable stories to consumers and then follow up on those stories. But many times complications arise from the start in multicultural marketing. Whether it’s the lack of multicultural representation in management, inaccurate audience measurement or a lack of creative assets, it’s still difficult to know how to market to Hispanic consumers, starting from the (still relevant) question of what language to use.
Problem: How to Market to Hispanic Consumers
“When people think ‘Hispanic’, they automatically assume they have to use Spanish,” told Santos. “It doesn’t have to be that way. So for the first time, we’re using English-language creative to reach Hispanics. Bilingual and bicultural creatives go a long way.”
But the problem persisted: how could they elevate the Kia brand in a meaningful way? There were many factors at play, like limited assets, recent leadership changes and a low budget. “For a long time people have assumed that Kia is a cheap Korean Brand, but for the last 5-6 years, Kia has been recognized with top quality distinctions with brands like Mercedes and Porsche,” pointed out Santos. “Kia has various brand messages, but the objective was to dilute it into one message that created top brand consideration.”
Answer: Brand Ambassadors Who Share the Consumers’ Stories
Influencers are a risk, and yet most marketers have experience with them. They all learn that the only effective influencer marketing is based on brand ambassadors that share a true affinity with the brand’s values. For that reason, Santos chose two unique influencers that could tell the Latino story, because it was theirs.
“How do we tell the underdog story, which is really the Kia story, and how do we tell the Latino story to them?” asked Santos rhetorically. “I want to talk about the professional who is trying to do something different and relate it to my key customer.”
Consequently, Kia worked with Andrea Londo, a self-proclaimed border child who commuted from Tijuana to San Diego every day to go to school. Now, she is living her dream of being an actress. “You probably don’t know her, but in 2-3 years you will,” assured Santos. On top of everything, Londo drives a Kia Optima, which made for a perfectly organic fit.
Clara Pablo, the other influencer featured in the campaign, is the manager of Miami-based Latin Pop group CNCO and of Colombian singer Maluma. Music is one of Kia’s verticals, which allowed for an organic fit with Pablo. In addition, she’s a breast cancer survivor and awareness advocate, which adds “a humanistic element that allows us to send out a message not only about cars but beyond. Young Latinos want to connect with brands that stand for the same things they do.”
Once You Have the Right Message, Put it In the Right Creative (and Get the Right Partner to Do It)
One of the first things to do if you wish to launch a successful campaign is choosing the right partner. Because of the various problems multicultural marketers have to face, an agency that can really carry your message is as important as the message itself. For the Driving Forces campaign, Kia partnered up with Verizon Media. “We knew they could programmatically expose our message to a wider audience that is bicultural. Also, their creative studio, RYOT, could help us with assets that allowed us to show our message in relation to the creative,” explained Santos.
Together, they came up with docu-style creatives and an array of branded formats to tell the story of Latinos and Latinas. Through the two “driving forces” the brand chose as ambassadors, they focused on upbringing, biculturalism, accomplishments and their will to tackle a challenge. “The main goal was for them to connect with us,” stressed Santos. “We wanted to hit them at different points of their journey to let them know that we’re here for them and we understand them.”
Results (Spoiler: Cultural Marketing Works)
The results so far have been positive. The completion rates above the benchmark of both videos show that consumers are interested. Also, CTRs are the same in Spanish and English, so language doesn’t always matter as long as viewers really connect with the message. “If the emotional component is there, they’ll stick around and come back,” said Santos. Reach and engagement have also been good, which has given Santos the confidence to ask for more budget.
Ultimately, Santos concluded that it’s all about three key rules. First, define your strategy: be clear on what the content should speak to and ensure alignment to overall brand strategy. Second, listen to your gut. Pick a partner that can execute and deliver significant reach for your targeted audience. Finally, don’t forget to ask yourself this question: what’s my next move?
Experts in Influencer Marketing campaigns discuss best practices. Vivian Baron, Founder and Creative Chairwoman at Band of Insiders, presented the panelists: Best Buy Mexico’s E-commerce Subdirector José Camargo, Grupo Bimbo’s Global Consumer Engagement Lead Giustina Trevisi, Band of Insiders’ Influencer Marketing Manager Leonardo Vargas, and Pepsico/Drinkfinity’s Director of Business Innovation & Marketing Yamile Elias.
How powerful can influencer marketing campaigns be? Is it for everyone? During the last years, the trend of using influencers as a tool to amplify a campaign or message has grown to a great extent. As Vivian Baron, Founder and Creative Chairwoman of Band of Insiders believes, “It is no longer about the relationship with the media, but rather about how we amplify our client’s message correctly. There’s great interest placed on influencer marketing, but there’s also a great lack of knowledge around it.”
In spite of this lack of knowledge, many brands have tried to take advantage of the opportunity that influencer marketing represents. Unfortunately, not everyone has succeeded. “Digital platforms are so strong today that influencer marketing can have a hugely negative effect,” asserted Baron. “It should be taken very seriously.”
Can (or Should) Any Brand Take Advantage of Influencer Marketing Campaigns?
With the buzz around this type of marketing, every brand wonders if influencers can boost their ROI. While this can and does happen, it isn’t as simple as some could believe, and influencers can help a great deal in things that are not necessarily direct sales. “Influencer marketing is key in any brand, not only to create awareness but for many other things,” said Yamile Elias, Director of Business Innovation & Marketing, Drinkfinity/Pepsico. “At Drinkfinity we’re using it for insights, to ask the consumer certain things. When we have a problem they can help us solve it, but only if it’s a good fit.”
For Giustina Trevisi, Global Consumer Engagement Lead at Grupo Bimbo, brands are already surrounded by influencer marketing, and it would benefit them to adopt a position towards it. “Influencers are something we can’t ignore. It’s a ‘can’t hide’ matter, where the question is ‘how to leverage‘,” asserted Trevisi. Influencers are a great tool in any ecosystem, but it doesn’t work on its own. You’re not supposed to have an Influencer Marketing strategy on its own, but rather include it in your overall communication strategy.” Moreover, she agreed with Yamile Elias that this tool helps in diverse areas, such as crisis management, campaign support, and PR and perception. While these don’t have a direct impact on your ROI, “they obviously expand reach,” she said.
What matters now is the content, sales should only be the consequence.
What Are the Keys to Crafting Successful Influencer Marketing Campaigns?
Giustina Trevisi summarized the essential elements when sharing one of Bimbo’s stories of success: 1. Objective, 2. Target, 3. Creative. “The first step is knowing the objective and whom we intend to reach. We held onto a current event, something that was happening at the moment (Peru qualified for the World Cup), and we focused on getting the formats, times, and platforms correctly,” she told. “You need to choose the correct target and influencers according to your objective and budget. If you show the idea to management and they don’t like it, that is a good sign, as it’s not for them.”
A Matter of Strategy
You need to choose the correct target and influencers according to your objective and budget. If you show the idea to management and they don’t like it, that is a good sign, as it’s not for them.
“Influencer marketing should be carried out in very strategic ways,” added José Camargo. “For Best Buy, something that has worked really well is these people we call ‘insiders’ that don’t even know they are influencers. These kids can get 3-4 thousand people in 20 minutes for an opening.” What matters the most, he emphasized, is a good fit between the influencers’ values and those of the company: “The brand and the influencer should have similar values. Only when the influencer is convinced by the brand are the publications really natural: the brand’s ideals rub off on his or her posts and comments.”
How to Select an Influencer?
As we have seen so far, having a clear objective matters, but so does selecting an influencer that matches that objective. The first thing, then, is knowing what each type of influencer can achieve.”There’s an influence pyramid that we can divide into mega, macro, and micro. Each one of these has different results,” explained Leonardo Vargas. “However, the new trend is ‘hidden influencers’, people who have an impact both online and offline. We need to look at their profile and their basic social circle in order to provoke a more direct impact on sales.”
Having an expert to deal with them helps with the flow and builds long-term relationships.
For Better Results, Employ an Expert
The next thing would be the actual process of selection. For Giustina Trevisi, this is much easier with the help of a specialist. “I would recommend others to work with influencer agencies, to work with experts,” she stated. “It’s important to have someone who knows how to handle them, have a good communication with them. We work with several specialized agencies who take our brief, give it back, then we do a second brief, they give it to the influencer and then they present a creative proposal. If I do the regulation part, I lose the emotional component. Having an expert to deal with them helps with the flow and builds long-term relationships.”
Can Technology Make the Process Easier?
“We have to automatize processes through platforms, technology, data, correlations… We need to use what’s available, but the decision has to ultimately go through a human filter who knows the target and can make sense of everything,” said Giustina Trevisi. “A tool can give you a diagnosis, but a human being has to make de decision. A machine uses algorithms, but the context has to be human.”
“I’m in favor of digitalization and automatization, but the human part is inescapable,” agreed Leonardo Vargas. “Instagram stories, for example, can give you very complete information, but only when you have a team of experts constantly looking at what’s going on on social media. Every day there are more platforms; with just one click you can execute a campaign, but we need to go back to the brief. Everything needs to be taken care of.”
What Can We Expect for Future Influencer Marketing Campaigns?
It’s easy to see where we’re going if we take a quick look at where we’ve recently been. As Yamile Elias commented, “If we analyze the number of times people search the word ‘influencer’, we find that the number has grown 200% since 2016, and it grew 60% in the first quarter of this year alone. Estimations show the budget for influencer marketing in the U.S. to go up to 5-10 billion dollars.”
Facebook, Twitter, etc. have become just another showcase for brands, and consumers don’t want to see that anymore.
According to Leonardo Vargas, there are already a couple of trends that we can expect to see in the near future. “One: strategies linked to SEO and automatized keywords, which are different to Google’s ad words because they get placed on social media,” he explained. “Two: audience marketing for influencers; a type of audience analysis that helps you know what works, not what looks well. A new trend that will be very important, and it’s a great time to be pioneers, is the rise of new social media. Facebook, Twitter, and the others have become just another showcase for brands, and consumers don’t want to see that anymore. There are new social media that are going back to what Facebook and Twitter were about originally, like Mastodon, in which users are in control and it’s free of ads.”
In short, we should try to go deep into the influencer marketing campaigns tool instead of staying at a superficial level. Influencers are for every brand only if the strategy is very clear. Objectives, channels and the influencers themselves should fit, not only to minimize crisis risk but to ensure good results overall. It’s very important to analyze the data, be aware of the results you’re aiming at. We shouldn’t underestimate Influencer marketing, it isn’t easy, but it can really bring you success. It should be a part of your whole marketing strategy, not as an isolated campaign but as a long-term program. If we do it well, it’s a great bet. Otherwise, it can really hurt you. That’s why you should partner with experts.
A bi-weekly summary of the most exciting recent news in marketing technology and trends. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.
Facebook is eliminating the “relevance score” on its advertising platform and replacing it with new metrics designed to give advertisers a sharper view of how their messages are performing. As reported by ClickZ, the new metrics replacing the relevance score are “quality ranking,” “conversion rate ranking,” and an “engagement rate” ranking. Ad effectiveness ranking on Facebook will also now be limited to the audience that has seen an ad in the past 30 days.
Brands are giving influencer marketing very high rankings in Linqia’s “The State of Influencer Marketing 2018” report. More than 80-percent said they used influencer marketing in 2017. Some 44-percent of brands reported they plan to leverage influencer content on other digital channels, and 51-percent said that influencer content “outperforms” brand-created content. Instagram topped all social media platforms in the survey, with 92-percent of brands saying it is “the most important social network for influencer marketing in 2018.” Facebook followed at 77-percent.
Users of Instagram can now make purchases without leaving the social media application. More than 20 brands have joined the service called “Checkout with Instagram,” as reported by ClickZ. The new feature is aimed at reducing the number of shoppers that abandon their purchases because of the need to switch from Instagram to a brand’s own website.
Brands will no longer be able to target age groups, genders or zip codes when advertising housing and credit services and employment on Facebook. The social media platform has removed those categories following a successful lawsuit by organizations including the National Fair Housing Alliance and the Communications Workers of America. The use of Facebook’s “lookalike audience” tool will also be restricted for the same ad categories, according to ClickZ.
A recent study by Facebook, which owns Instagram, provides powerful data showing the importance Instagram now has for building brand awareness. Facebook, according to ClickZ, surveyed 21,000 Instagram users in 13 countries and found that more than 70-percent of users had positive impressions of brands they saw on the platform. Some 44-percent of users said they find out about brands for the first time on Instagram and 42-percent said they use Instagram to research brands.
Univision has chosen the Amobee platform to help advertisers plan and strategize their messaging on the Hispanic television network. Amobee’s technology will assist Univision across linear, social and digital platforms, so that the broadcaster can work with brands who want to use proprietary first-party data or custom target audiences to reach their preferred market segments, the broadcaster said in a recent release.
Taptica has now completed its acquisition of RhythmOne, making Taptica one of the leading independent video advertising companies in the U.S.
What: Paula’s Choice Skincare’s Rajaa Grar, Senior Director, Global Brand Marketing, reveals to Portada the keys to keepingcontent coherent across channels and why authenticity is critical to successful influencer marketing. Why it matters: Paula’s Choice Skincare has built a cult following of consumers worldwide. At Portada Los Angeles, Grar will provide insights into how she uses influencers and informative content to generate brand awareness with new consumers, while deepening bonds with existing ones.
Paula’s Choice Skincare has built a cult following of enthusiastic consumers across the globe with “real talk about real facts,” and a singular focus on helping women with the truth about skincare. Founded by Paula Begoun in 1994, the highly successful cosmetic brand “helps women see real results,” according to its website. “We create skincare that’s shockingly straightforward.”
Senior Director of Global Brand Marketing Rajaa Grar is building upon and expanding the brand’s success with highly strategic influencer marketing and insightful awareness of the best approach for keeping content coherent across all marketing channels. Portada caught up with Grar for a preview of her participation at #PortadaLA on March 15th and where she will speak on “Influencer marketing: why passion and shared values are key.”
Portada: Content needs to be coherent across channels. What are the best practices for that? How do you get to that result?
RG: For us, it all starts with a robust content and social strategy that is rooted in science-backed research and truly addresses our consumers and brand needs. We strive to empower our audience with the most educational and informative content on skin’s health and skincare while being relevant and engaging. Of course, the content may need to be customized depending on the platform but, it always needs to be aligned with our brand strategy and DNA.
Paula’s Choice Skincare’s Rajaa Grar, Senior Director, Global Brand Marketing, will be a featured speaker at #PortadaLA on March 15 when she will provide insights into how she uses influencers and informative content to generate brand awareness with new consumers.
Portada: Driving passion points through brand loyalty is key for you. How do you accomplish this and what role does influencer marketing play in that?
RG: At Paula’s Choice, we are passionate and absolutely love all aspects of skincare. Our consumers know it and it is one of the main reasons that the brand has a loyal following for the past 24 years and many of our products are cult favorites across the globe. Our influencer marketing strategy is centered around generating brand awareness among new consumers and deepening our bond with existing ones. Hence, many of the content creators that we collaborate with are skincare enthusiasts and share our skincare passion. They also have followers who are Paula’s choice fans as well. They also truly respect our brand and skincare philosophy, rooted in truth and advocacy and are themselves fans of the brand.
Portada: What do you see as being the three top tips/lessons to follow when using influencers in marketing efforts?
RG: Stay authentic to your brand’s essence when aligning with ambassadors. Don’t be driven solely by the number of followers an influencer has. Deploy your marketing resources carefully.
Getting to know our influencers on a deeper level is essential as they are an extended part of our brand family.
Portada: How does Paula’s Choice protect its brand ethos/image when using influencer marketers?
RG: We go through a careful vetting process ahead of any collaboration and of course getting to know our influencers on a deeper level is essential as they are an extended part of our brand family. When doing so, the results are not only most authentic, but our brand efforts are reaping the benefits for a longer period of time after the content goes live.
Portada: What is the profile of the typical influencer Paula’s Choice prefers to use?
RG: We do not have really a typical profile of one influencer as we want to appeal to a diverse pool of consumers. We want to empower a wider audience to discover the power of our products as our brand truly transforms skin for the better and has changed people’s lives time and time again. We aim to collaborate with influencers that authentically love our brand and have experienced the transformative nature of our products. We found that those people are the most loyal and effective brand ambassadors.
What: IZEA specializes in connecting brand marketers with influencer content creators and has signed a letter of intent (LOI) to acquire FLUVIP, which operates multiple influencer platforms in Latin America. Why it matters: The rapid growth of cell phone use and digital marketing to sell products and services in Latin America makes FLUVIP’s network of 100,000 Hispanic influencers in both LATAM and the US look like the perfect scoop for IZEA to move into the region.
IZEA may have found the perfect match for extending its dominant technology connecting brands and influencers into the growing Hispanic market in the US and Latin America.
Who’s the lucky bride? FLUVIP.
It’s not a big surprise when you consider FLUVIP’s multiple influencer platforms in Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Argentina plus FLUVIP’s network of more than 100,000 influencers. Not to mention its client base.
Plus, the rapid growth of cell phone use in the region has been catapulting digital ad spending by brands to new highs making FLUVIP an even more attractive prospect for IZEA.
“We believe that there is a significant opportunity for international consolidation in the Influencer Marketing space,” Alfonso Gómez Palacio, Telefonica’s Director Hispam North said in a statement announcing a Letter of Intent to acquire FLUVIP released on Wednesday.
“This transaction brings together the leading influencer marketing platform in the United States with the leading platform in Latin America.”
A match made for LATAM
Pedigree helps in any marriage and FLUVIP is brings a lot to the altar with investors which include the global Hispanic entertainment brand Cisneros Group, Spanish multinational telecommunications company Telefonica, and Velum Ventures specializing in seed and early stage investments in Latin America.
IZEA’s CEO Ted Murphy told the website Cheddar that IZEA sees tremendous promise in influencer marketing in LATAM where digital ad spending is expanding at twice the rate of the US.
This transaction brings together the leading influencer marketing platform in the United States with the leading platform in Latin America.
But successful influencer marketing requires a vision and perseverance, according to Vivian Baron, founder and creative chairwoman of Band of Insiders.
She recently told attendees at #PortadaMX in Mexico City only a “long-term strategy” can grow the “critical mass of loyal followers” brands need for influencer marketing to do its magic.
Synergy between influencers and a brand’s values is also an important tonic for success.
“You should focus on gaining trust and credibility through an influencer whose values coincide with the company’s,” José Camargo, e-commerce subdirector at Best Buy Mexico told #PortadaMX.
A perfect union of technology
IZEA intends to leverage its marriage with FLUVIP to combine the organizations’ technologies and provide better influencer marketing services to large international brands.
This technological union will accommodate multiple languages and currencies, software and managed services, and cultural expertise.
“We are excited by the potential to unite FLUVIP with IZEA to form a truly unique technology and services platform catering to marketers and influencers across North, Central, and South America,” Sebastian Jasminoy, Founder and CEO of FLUVIP, said in a release.
Multiple ways to tell brands’ stories
The marriage of IZEA and FLUVIP would appear to create a perfect match for brands looking for influencers to deliver their unique stories to consumers in LATAM.
FLUVIP operates platforms in LATAM that include Influtech, AdvocatesPro, and Mediadata where brands can harness the power of leading opinion makers in the region.
Plus, FLUVIP customers include Coca-Cola, Samsung, Apple, Pepsi, BBVA, Sony, Fox and National Geographic to name just a few.
But the game of influencing consumers isn’t just about influencers.
“Influencers are not only about your image; they can provide a great amount of information. By analyzing data and organic profiles, you can find more information than what a common marketing study can provide,” Band of Insiders Influence Marketing Manager Leonardo Vargas told #PortadaMX.
The precise terms of the FLUVIP acquisition haven’t been announced. The transaction may be consummated as soon as May of this year.
What: A recap of the most important trends in the marketing industry in 2018, including digital content marketing. As seen through the eyes of Portada: What went right? What did we learn? Why it matters: With one foot in the next year, it’s time to evaluate the paths we took in 2018. We need to see what knowledge and best practices can help us ride the trends in 2019.
Back in 2017, we thought about how to prepare for the new trends the new year would bring us. Last December, experts in marketing and digital content marketing made their predictions public. We started the new year with our hopes high, ready to face the future. Marketing leaders dealt with disruption and emerging technologies. They promised to mature beyond their initial hype. As the year unfolded, we saw those predictions become true. As a result, marketers found different ways to manage the new opportunities each trend brings.
In this recapitulatory article, we take a look at some of the paths marketing and digital content marketing took us in 2018. So far, one thing is certain: the more we evolve, the more we learn. It is time to take a glance over our shoulder. We need to be ready to welcome 2019 with the best possible tools.
1. Artificial Intelligence and Digital Content Marketing
We’ve been hearing for a while about how AI is getting more sophisticated. Brands are adopting AI-powered solutions. They have found it to increase user engagement. However, “Integrating AI with a site’s chat box or Facebook messenger will require perhaps even more creativity and understanding of the brand’s target market,” predicted in February Amanda Hinski, CMO at YMCA, for Forbes. “AI still has to address customer needs and problems just as aptly as a human agent. It helps if the AI experience delights customers in a fun and lighthearted manner.”
In 2018, the ways intelligent machines can help marketers and advertisers multiplied. Through AI technology companies, several brands are already using smart systems and devices. They deploy them for things such as accurate customer segmentation. They also use them for improved customer interactions. “We can’t even imagine where technology will be taking us,” said to us earlier this yearBruno Lambertini, CEO at Circus Marketing. “Data combined with AI and Robotics, with a boost from 5G connectivity, is an explosive combo that opens a thousand opportunities in the world of marketing and communications.”
We can’t even imagine where technology will be taking us.
AI helps numerous brands to enhance their marketing. Actually, most of us interact with AI every day and marketers are increasingly betting on it. Entertainment platforms such as Netflix and Spotify use AI to provide unique, personalized recommendations to its consumers; in fact, about 80% of the content viewed on Netflix is chosen through the algorithm recommendations. Another brand that has pioneered in the use of AI and AR is Sephora. It has its virtual assistant that gives makeup recommendations to its users. BMW, Campbell’s, Hilton, Dior, Lowe’s, Nordstrom, Skype, Levi’s, Taco Bell, Apple, Under Armour… Chatbots are everywhere; according to an infographic by 16 Best, they will power 85% of sales interactions by 2020.
AI Continues to Grow
Recently, Samsungannounced it will invest US $22 billion in AI, 5G, and AutoTch, and just last week, Hondalaunched its new virtual sales-assistant on Facebook Messenger. If these examples weren’t enough, let’s remember how in November Lexus launched the first ever ad commercial written by an AI machine.
Jivox, a marketing technology company, recently announced the launch of two new AI capabilities. They offer brands a first-ever fully personalized customer experience across all paid and owned digital channels. That includes social media, native, display, video, and mobile advertising, and the brand’s email and website. We’ve been interacting with AI for some time, but as most marketers know, we are just starting to discover how much it can really do. And in spite of how we could be afraid of machines, the truth is they help us do better marketing. In the words of Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Growth Officer at Publicis Groupe, “Because of AI, certain things that machines can do better will be done by machines. But but people plus machines have been found to be better than machines in most cases. The human touch is the difference.”
2. Multicultural Marketing
After marketing crises such as Pepsi and Kendall Jenner‘s failed ad last year, voices all over had a lot to say about diversity. They talked about the correct way to address multicultural audiences. As obvious as it may sound, not every brand knows that ethnic groups should be talked to in ways tailored according to their cultural nuances. As a result, we reached throughout the year to several experts in multicultural marketing in order to find out what is obvious and what is not.
The first thing they all agreed on was that, since the US population is increasingly multicultural, everyone should be doing multicultural marketing. “Looking at the US population current data, as well as the projections, I’d be hard-pressed to believe there are many businesses that wouldn’t benefit from multicultural marketing,” observed Marissa Fernandez, Marketing VP at the NFL, a couple of months ago.
“Multicultural marketing is no longer an afterthought or checked box. It has become a key strategy for business growth,” explained along these lines John Sandoval, Senior Brand and Latino Marketing Manager at Intuit. “It’s time for brands to acknowledge this diversity as well. As long as you have customers purchasing your products, you should be considering multicultural marketing.”
You have to know you’re being scrutinized or evaluated as to whether you make sense to that person… specifically, they would ask themselves, ‘Do you make sense to spend my heart and money against?
However, it’s not that easy. Some businesses limit themselves to translating a general market campaign into another language. Or they have an influencer that doesn’t really fit talking about a product. In order for multicultural marketing to work, you need to know who you’re targeting. And as a result, you also need to make sure the connection is real. In the words ofAlbert Thompson, Digital Strategist at Walton Isaacson, “Consumers are very smart, they can look at a brand and they can tell immediately if it’s for them or not. They may not know if it’s exactly the best for them, but they do know when it is not for them. You have to know you’re being scrutinized or evaluated as to whether you make sense to that person… specifically, they would ask themselves, ‘Do you make sense to spend my heart and money against?”
As the diversity of the consumer market keeps increasing, more and more brands realize that establishing real connections with multicultural consumers is no longer an option, but a must. Everyone has seen the numbers: minority buying power in the U.S. is growing more quickly than the white consumer market, to the extent that the white population in America will constitute only 44% of the total population by 2060, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 29% will be Hispanics.
On September 25, members of the Agency Star Committee got together in a panel to discuss how multicultural insights make general market initiatives more effective. Their answer is simple: “The buyer out there is multicultural, there’s no way around it,” declared David Queamante,SVP, Client Business Partner, UM Worldwide. “If you’re going to focus on the non-ethnic half of the population, you’re going to miss the mark, period. If you’re not incorporating a multicultural media mix, you’re trying to move the needle but you’re only pushing on half of the audience.”
3. Direct-to-Consumer Brands
Direct-to-consumer brands formed an important trend that grew in 2018. It pretty much exploded in the last years. Big companies like P&G aren’t growing so much as they used to because of these brands that don’t need any intermediaries to reach the consumers. This helps the interaction and engagement a great deal, since consumers feel like the brand actually listens to them.
A survey by Diffusion and YouGov has revealed that 81% of US internet users said they would buy at least one item from a D2C brand in the next five years. More specifically, 36% said they would make 1% to 19% of their purchases from D2C brands in the next five years. Convenience was the leading motivator; 27% perceived buying D2C brands as easier than going to a traditional store.
Attraction of DTC Brands
DTC brands are so attractive and successful that Unilever purchased the Dollar Shaving Club, a brand that allowed male consumers to receive economical, stylish razors at home without having to pay for a pricey Gillette razor. After Gillette’s market share fell from 70% to 54% from 2016 to 2017, it decided to launch its own on-demand, direct-to-consumer products. Another example is Covergirl, another brand that has decided to face its DTC competitors full on. After 57 years of selling through retailers, there is now a 10,000 square-feet “makeup playground.” It is equipped with a host of state-of-the-art technology where consumers can test and try products, no intermediaries involved.
4. Voice Search
Voice-based devices are another technology that has been evolving in digital content marketing in the last years. According to Mark Browne, MarTech editor at Portada, Voice search increased by 35-fold between 2008 and 2016, but brands don’t have to re-invent the wheel to make sure they’re on top of consumers’ search results.
The smart speaker market spend is ballooning. It will grow from $4.3 billion last year to $23.3 billion in 2025, according to Allied Market Research.
Amazon’s Alexa led in revenues in 2017 but Apple’s Siri is expected to grow the fastest. More will be spent in North America on smart speakers than anywhere else in the world.
The biggest adopters of smart speaker technology are affluent educated millenials as well as young gen X and children, according to Global Market Insights.
More than 40-percent of adults “used voice search on a daily basis in 2016,”Forbes Magazine reports, noting that comScore predicts that “50 percent of searches will be voice-based by 2020.”
Most voice searches according to Forbes are also local. They put an emphasis on the ability of the search engine to deliver up local results.
Voice search poses the natural next step. But we see little direct advertising through voice assistants so far. When users make a voice search, smart speakers usually present only the first organic result. Smartphones may present more results, but still not as many as a manual search. Therefore, brands need to concentrate on SEO to identify the real keywords for digital content marketing in order to produce content that puts them among organic results.
5. Influencers and Digital Content Marketing
During the last years, the trend of using influencers as a tool to amplify a campaign or digital content marketing message grew to a great extent. Vivian Baron, Founder and Creative Chairwoman of Band of Insiders explained at the Band of Insiders Breakfast at Portada Mexico. “It is no longer about the relationship with the media. It is about how we amplify our client’s message correctly. There’s great interest placed on influencer marketing. There’s also a great lack of knowledge around it.”
In spite of this lack of knowledge, many brands have tried to take advantage of the opportunity that influencer marketing represents. Unfortunately, not everyone succeeds. “Digital platforms are so strong today that influencer marketing can have a hugely negative effect,” Baron said. “It should be taken very seriously.”
Getting it Right
However, it’s very easy to get influencer marketing wrong. After surveying more than 4,000 European respondents about influencer marketing, a report by Bazaarvoice shows consumers are tired of the repetitive nature of the content. They don’t like the decreasing quality of posts. According to the study, 63% of online audiences feel that influencer content has become “too materialistic.” They say it is “misrepresenting real life.” Forty-nine-percent of consumers believe there’s a need for effective regulation. It’s needed to define stricter rules as well as best practices for content.
“When used superficially, the influencer marketing tool can lead to crises as the ones we’ve seen recently,” commented Vivian Baron. “Sometimes there’s a great potential but it doesn’t hold up. It’s very important to design a long-term strategy. It allows you to create a critical mass of loyal followers. This in an industry where loyalty is virtually non-existent.”
6. The Soccer Opportunity
The year 2018 was great for sports. Not only did we have the Winter Olympics in South Korea at the beginning of the year. We saw the most important media opportunity that a sports event can bring: the FIFA World Cup in Russia. No brand in its right mind would miss the digital content marketing opportunities in the tournament. Just after it started, the Chair of Portada’s Sports Marketing Board Joe Favorito prepared an analysis of certain brands using the World Cup to activate their products, such as Kellog’s, SleepScore, and Vivo were his cited examples of brands working closely together with soccer in order to achieve results.
As Jason Howarth, VP of Marketing at Panini, explained in a panel at Portada Los Angeles on May 10, the relevance of the Hispanic market was undeniable from the start. When they found out at Panini that team USA had been disqualified, he “realized we needed to seize all the other opportunities we knew would exist in the U.S.,” he said. “When you go around the country you see all the Messi and Ronaldo jerseys. You quickly realize the U.S. team is probably not the focus of most fans anyway.” He and other marketers knew that the biggest opportunity lay on the Hispanic consumer, who would be rooting for their origin country’s team.
Power of the World Cup
IKarina Dobarro spoke to us just before the tournament started. She is VP, Managing Director, Multicultural Brand Strategy at Horizon Media. “World Cup not only delivers reach and engagement of Hispanic fans. It delivers a level of cultural connection unparalleled to any other sports property. It will be key for brands to determine how to stand out from the crowd. They need to find an authentic way and be creative in finding touchpoints to capture Hispanic fans across devices and time zones.” And with everybody trying to stand out, creativity is really important.
“The lessons learned from World Cup activation and engagement continue to grow,” wrote Favorito after it was over. “The effective implementation of social campaigns tied to the games were in record numbers. Spanish language broadcasts in the U.S. drew solid audiences. That in spite of the fact that the U.S. did not qualify for the event. Many of the elite Spanish language countries exited a little earlier than expected. Still the drama and life displayed by first-timers like Peru and the continued growth and engagement of Mexico led to an even bigger bounce. It was bigger than what was expected. It made World Cup in Russia an overall global success, and not just in soccer, but in sports business.”
What: OnBrand and Bynder have published the results of their latest branding report, which gathers answers from 504 marketers on branding trends and challenges for this year. Why it matters: As consumers’ expectations rise, brands struggle to provide a seamless experience that aligns with their needs across all new channels.
OnBrand and Bynder joined forces with Survata this last January in order to gather answers from 504 marketing decision-makers in the U.S. and the UK on their goals, challenges, and priorities for this year. The selection of respondents encompassed a wide variety of industries, from Consumer Products and Financial Services to Telecommunications, E-commerce, and Sports. The main conclusion, as proved by other recent studies, is that customer experience is the number one priority in marketers’ minds; however, fulfilling customer’s expectations is not only more important than ever, it’s also more difficult because of the number one challenge that goes with it: identifying the right technologies for a seamless experience. Based on the participants’ answers, the team behind the study identified 5 key findings.
1. Brands Want to Personalize but Struggle to Find the Right Technologies
The digital landscape has drastically changed marketing. To quote the study, it has “blown up”. Customers want their individuality considered, they expect each transaction to become a personalized experience, and this forces brands to use technology in order to deliver. According to a study by Segment quoted in the report, 44% of consumers say they will likely repeat a purchase that was a personalized experience. Among the participants who answered the survey, 56% expressed intentions to personalize their marketing this year, and while 89% agreed that technology plays a key role in developing a personalized experience, 90% think that finding the right technologies to do so is a significant challenge. “The two-fold challenge facing marketers today is how to deliver relevant and consistent customer experiences across all channels, while filtering through the clutter of the rapidly evolving marketing technology landscape.” The image below shows the biggest challenges in 2018 when incorporating new technologies into marketing.
2. Voice Assistants Dominate Tech Investments
According to the report, 40% of marketing decision-makers will invest in voice assistants this year, and 39% are developing integrations that run through platforms like Facebook, Alexa, and Siri. Interestingly, brands will need to choose the voice they want to present to the consumer: “The rise of voice technology has turned the discussion of a brand’s voice from metaphorical to physical, and brands need to consider the delicate politics of gender, personality, and accents,” states the study. 75% of the respondents agree that an ethical development of voice-based technology is a top priority, and characteristics they would take into account are tone, speaking speed, accents, and personas. While gender was reportedly the least important aspect, 54% of marketers would still prefer a female voice. The chart below shows the technologies marketers will be investing in in 2018. We shouldn’t be surprised that 68% will invest in mobile apps, but it’ll be interesting to see how voice assistants shape customer experience.
3. Influencer Marketing is Still Hot
The magic of Influencer Marketing is that they provide access to an already-engaged base of consumers. Good results are not guaranteed and even though influencer marketing could still be proved to be a passing fad, the report’s results show that most marketers are still betting on influencers. 79% of the respondents will invest in influencer marketing this year, and 43% are planning to spend more than they did in 2017. To quote the study, “Influencer marketing is not just a new broadcasting channel, and the brands that achieve cultural relevance in smaller, niche communities will win in 2018.”
The most successful brands no longer market to the world, but behave in the world.
4. Brand Activism is on the Rise
Today’s world is interconnected and transparent: there’s no way a brand will do or say something without everyone finding out the next minute. Consumers expect brands to use their power and influence to give something back to the community; there’s no reason not to contribute to or get involved in social issues, and in fact, customers don’t mind spending a bit more in a product if they know the brand is supporting a cause. According to the study, “The most successful brands no longer market to the world, but behave in the world,” which is why 79% of the respondents said that social and cultural issues will play a role in their marketing this year.
5. Marketing Teams Are Hiring More Tech Talent
As customer’s expectations rise and the digital landscape explodes, companies will need to largely invest in hiring the right talent that can adequately handle the technological challenges ahead. 53% of respondents said they’ll be hiring experiences designers and developers in 2018, while 34% said they’ll add data scientists to their teams.
A summary of the most exciting recent research in brand marketing in the U.S., U.S.-Hispanic and Latin American markets. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.
According to research from Accenture cited by eMarketer, 41% of consumers have switched the brands they buy from because of poor personalization, and 50% say that they did so because of “poor customer experience” in general. This mistake represents a total of $756 billion in lost retail and brand sales.
A new study from RetailNext found that 2017’s Black Friday event saw less foot traffic, but still experienced a combined 4.8% increase in sales compared to 2016.
A new study released today by Engagement Labs found that an estimated 19 percent of consumer sales are driven by offline and online social conversations.
Content marketing platform Linqia‘s new study, “The State of Influencer Marketing 2018,” found that 86% of marketers reported using influencer marketing in 2017 — and, of those, 92% said it is an effective strategy.
A recent study by Shutterstockfound that 88 percent of U.S. marketers surveyed agreed with the statement “Using more diverse images helps a brand’s reputation.”
StreamOn, a new study by Market Strategies International, has found that only 11% of all streamers pay for live streaming television.
Tiffany & Co. is the favorite luxury jewelry brand among wealthy millennials, followed by Cartier, Pandora, and Chanel, according to a recent survey by consumer-research group MVI Marketing. Rolex was the top brand for watches, followed by Apple, Omega and Cartier.
Research from search intelligence platform Adthena found that Amazon took 49.65% of the consumer electronics category’s click share during October and November of 2017. Director of Product Marketing at Adthena Ashley Fletcher credits this to their preference for pure brand terms, versus generic terms.
Latin American media owners’ net advertising revenues (NAR) are set to grow by +9.3% in 2018, to US$26.3 billion, following a +7.3% growth in 2017; thanks to a more robust economic recovery in the region, according to MAGNA. Television remains the top media category in the region with 54% of total advertising sales while Digital advertising in Latin America remains lower than the global average.
According to a new report by research firm Counterpoint, 99 percent of Smartphone Sold in Argentina are LTE Enabled.
Influencers have become a major force in sports and soccer marketing. Mexico’s Chicharito is just one example. Leading executives from Nike, H K Strategies and Fluvip provided Portada insights on how to make the best use of the soccer influencer market.
Soccer runs through Javier’s veins. His dad used to joke that his son first kicked a ball before learning how to walk. At the age of nine, he enrolled in the Guadalajara Deportivo club’s youth league in Mexico. Twenty years later, Javier Hernández Balcázar is now known worldwide as “El Chicharito” and his 8.3 million followers on Twitter make him one of North America’s most important soccer influencers on that platform, above the Mexico National Team, with 5.4 million followers.
The boy from Guadalajara was sponsored by multinational brand Nike for seven years, an athlete’s dream come true.
TV hosts used to wield the most influence over public opinion on basically any subject, including soccer. For millennials, however, these personalities do not have the last word. For digital natives born between 1980 and 1995, Internet is their main source of information. Brands are increasingly interested in being able to take advantage of the connection that influencers have with their audiences.
“According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust other people’s opinions ̶ even if they do not know them ̶ over brands. Brands need stories to be told by people, or influencers. Brands need people to share their experiences with products and services,” says Sebastian Jasminoy, CEO of Fluvip, an influencer and content marketing group that specializes in connecting influencers with brands.
Although the term influencer is now all the buzz, its function is not: five years ago, they were known as brand ambassadors; 10 years ago they were known as celebrity endorsers. “The language has changed, but the accompanying principles that make for strong and powerful connections with your customers, or potential customers, has been a dynamic in marketing for the last 40 or 50 years,” says Andy Sutherden, Global Head of Sports Marketing + Sponsorships at H+K Strategies.
“What has never changed is the brand’s appetite for identifying the right player, and once identified, to find very powerful and relevant ways in which that player can make relevant connections back to the company’s business,” adds Sutherden.
Soccer Influencer Marketing Rules
For brands, the first golden rule in choosing a soccer influencer is making sure the player shares a credible and authentic link with the brand’s business, such as pairing Cristiano Ronaldo with fashion brands, or David Beckham with personal care brands, explains Sutherden.
Denis Meyer, Director of Sports Marketing at Nike Mexico, agrees: “We select our influencers according to future projections, performance, image, and relationship with consumers. We expect these ambassadors to make the most authentic connection of products and brand exposure with our market.”
Five years ago, measuring this type of return on investment for brands was very difficult. Now, with proper social media or digital marketing for e-commerce, a sponsorship deal is expected to deliver sales
The second ruleis to get the most out of the loyalty of the influencer’s fan base: “Loyalty can turn into commercial benefits.” To do this, several aspects are evaluated: the size of the soccer player’s fan base or number of followers on social networks, the depth of engagement between that fan base and the influencer, and if available, the historical evidence of the impact the influencer’s support had on past campaigns.
“Five years ago, measuring this type of return on investment for brands was very difficult. It all boiled down to awareness and brand equity. Now, with proper social media or digital marketing for e-commerce, a sponsorship deal is expected to deliver sales,” says Sutherden.
The third ruleis summed up in an old popular saying: “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.” The [sponsorship] contract must be very clear regarding reasons for termination and should consider the sponsored influencer’s behavior on or off the court, as his image will be linked to the brand.
What: In a recent study, more than half of all marketers surveyed reported investing in Influencer Marketing in 2016, and more than one in five estimated their corporate-wide Influencer Marketing budgets to be in excess of $1 million. Why It Matters: While brands are certainly excited about Influencer Marketing, they are still learning how to identify the right creators and engage target audiences through this new and unexplored medium. We spoke to two experts on Influencer Marketing from Fanatics Media and the Branded Entertainment Network (BEN) Group to find out what it takes to hit the mark.
“Influencers.” Brand marketers may not fully understand them yet, but they definitely cannot ignore them. Influencers are content creators that use platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter to build audiences through showing off their unique talents, sharing thoughts on virtually any topic, and teaching others how to do pretty much anything. Their audiences are not only enormous but also engaged and passionate about sharing. It’s a goldmine for brands looking to connect with young or niche consumers, but implementing an effective Influencer Marketing strategy requires a deep understanding of a very new digital landscape.
In the State of the Creator Economy report from online marketplace IZEAx, more than half of the marketers surveyed reported investing in Influencer Marketing in 2016. 69 percent of those who indicated that they are currently conducting Influencer Marketing campaigns have dedicated a stand-alone budget to them, and from 2014 to 2016, those budgets have increased steadily, now reaching $700k+. More than one in five of those surveyed estimated their corporate-wide Influencer Marketing budgets to be in excess of $1 million.
Research also shows that when Influencer Marketing is done right, it can be very effective: Collective Bias, Inc.’s study, The Power of Influence: A Window into ROI, looked at 11 Influencer campaigns from five CPG categories. While Influencer content significantly outperformed control groups, the study found a wide variance in performance, “driven largely by the advertiser category, seasonality, price point, purchase frequency, and budget size.”
For example, in the case of a major confection brand’s Influencer Marketing campaign, the study concluded that the campaign saw a 7.6x return on ad spend by weighing households exposed to the campaign’s Influencer content when compared to an unexposed control group. A national rice brand and frozen food brand found that its Influencer content generated a 45 percent redemption rate, tripling their benchmark of 15 percent and surpassing the industry digital coupon redemption rate of 8 percent. The study also found that of the group exposed to Influencer content, 48 percent visited the retailer within four days vs. only 29 percent in the identical but unexposed control. These figures beg the question: what separates the high-performing campaigns from those that fall flat?
What Makes a Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign?
What does “doing it right” look like?
The complexity of implementing and executing a successful Influencer Marketing campaign has led to the emergence of agencies that specialize in putting together and optimizing these campaigns for brands. From choosing the right Influencer to producing something that engages the right consumers and fits naturally into the creator’s content, a variety of variables determine the shape and performance of an Influencer Marketing campaign.
Meredith Jacobson, the Head of Digital Partnerships at BEN Group, said, “Depending on the campaign, some clients are more interested in raising awareness around their product or brand, while others are aggressively trying to drive downloads and/or trial and purchase.” A number of factors are typically factored into brands’ decisions when choosing the “right” Influencer for their campaigns: “The number of subscribers, viewership, engagement, vertical, and whether they believe that an Influencer aligns with the brand’s values” are all important, according to Jacobson.
Mark Fidelman, the managing director of Fanatics Media, explained that “smart agencies come to Influencer agencies to optimize.” When a brand or agency turns to an Influencer Marketing agency like Fanatics, they know that they are seeking brand awareness and to generate leads or sales for specific products. But the vast and continuously-evolving worlds of content creation and online video are overwhelming and foreign to them. They lack expertise and appreciation for the detailed work that goes into content creation and do not know enough to “integrate a product and service into video and still keep the Influencer’s MO consistent with what their followers expect from them,” Fidelman asserted.
To Determine the ‘Right Fit,’ Look Beyond Followers and Views
At the end of the day, “anyone can hire an Influencer for 100k,” Fidelman said, “but there are many steps that require optimization in order to make sure that leads and sales follow.” For example, brands often focus heavily on the number of views that a video receives, or feel that with one big win, they’ve done enough. “A lot of brands think that if they get a million views once, they have succeeded, but those views are not necessarily generating sales,” Fidelman added.
A lot of brands think that if they get a million views once, they have succeeded, but those views are not necessarily generating sales.
Fidelman explained that at Fanatics, his team makes sure to dig deeper, “so that when somebody clicks on links in the description of the video itself, this is being tracked through pixels and cookies.” With solid analytics, they can track the path to purchase when, for example, a pixel hits a thank you page, which only happens if the customer bought something. Other factors like how long people are watching the videos can give his team valuable insight into how well the campaign is working.
To Jacobson, much of it comes down to whether or not the creator and the brand’s goals are aligned, and whether the product can be fit seamlessly into the creator’s typical content. “Ultimately, we advise clients to execute campaigns that empower creators’ content rather than disrupt it, which often results in making viewers happy,” Jacobson said. And if viewers are happy, they are more likely to continue down the intended path to make a purchase and become loyal consumers.
When selecting creators to pair with a brand’s campaign, Fidelman emphasized that the number of views or subscribers is less important than the connection and engagement they have with their fans: To form a real understanding of a content creator’s engagement levels, he looks at the number of likes, shares and comments that their videos are receiving and puts it into his own proprietary “engagement” formula to weed out creators whose numbers are misleading. Using this approach, he has found that a creator could “have two million views, but 0.5 percent engagement, while the opposite could be true for someone with just 50,000 views who will also be cheaper to work with.”
Most Common Mistake: Brands ‘Overly Controlling Over the Creative’
Jacobson of BEN agreed, stating, “Some of our best campaigns have included a hybrid mix of large and mid-size Influencers,” and that “this approach gives brands the opportunity to achieve true scale with a large amount of reach and engagement.” She also emphasized that brands need to be “clear with their objectives and talking points, and truly allow the Influencers to act as the creative directors and do something cool and unique that they know their audiences will love.” At the end of the day, the creators know their audiences, and brands should look to them for guidance about what will resonate and what will not.
“The most common mistake that brands are committing when they are overly controlling over the creative,” Jacobson continued. “Influencer content is not a commercial, so it shouldn’t feel like one.” Coming off as “inauthentic and forced” has consequences, as “audiences can immediately pick up on this, and it can cause a backlash.” When the brands listen, Jacobson says the results are huge: “Our campaigns have sold out stock of products in thousands of stores, crashed websites, and delivered over 200% ROI for some clients.”
Brands ‘Understand the Importance of this Space,’ but Are Resistant to Change
How well are brands taking the experts’ advice? Jacobson insisted that education is important, and that they are sure to thoroughly explain “what’s been done in the past, which platforms are most effective at any current moment, trends, what potential campaigns could look like, and what kind of results to expect.” But the interest is there, as “many brands understand the importance of this space, so it’s really exciting to help them find opportunities and success,” Jacobson said.
Fidelman asserted that there is resistance from brands that still cling to platforms like television even though it offers fewer windows into how well campaigns are performing. “There is hesitance because it is what they have always done, and if you are a brand marketer or an advertiser, it is a pretty big risk to move into a new thing.”
Ultimately, we advise clients to execute campaigns that empower creators’ content rather than disrupt it, which often results in making viewers happy.
With television, Fidelman explained, it is impossible to know who is actually watching a commercial even though it is aired. “Unless you have physical stores, you have to look in a demographic area to see if sales went up or not, and it is not a direct link; it’s about inference,” he said. But with Influencers, one can track performance from start to finish without the big budgets of big television campaigns. “Moreover, you have a third-party source that is essentially doing a commercial for you,” he added.
To combat that resistance, Fidelman and his team will often start small with their clients, putting together a pilot whose performance can be compared to that of the brand’s television ads. He says that 90 percent of the time, the Influencer campaigns are more effective.
Targeting Opportunities: Influencers Reach Variety of Demographics
While the Influencer industry was certainly propelled forward by young, digitally-savvy Millennials,brands with older or more diverse targets are finding Influencer Marketing to be an effective targeting tool as well. Fashion and makeup are particularly focused on Millennials and Multicultural, Fidelman said, while technology brands are targeting mostly men in the age range of 30-50. The toy industry is reaching a huge audience through kids that spend hours on their parents’ tablets clicking on videos (have you seen the videos of this woman unwrapping toys?).
But Multicultural Millennials are still some of the hottest targets. “Executing Influencer campaigns in itself is a way that brands are attracting Millennial audiences,” Jacobson said. “As far as Multicultural goes, Brands love working with a variety of Influencers to attract all audience demographics…There are thousands of creators out there, so there are plenty of opportunities to reach any audience.”
The Future Belongs to Those with Long-Term Influencer Relationships
While it is encouraging to see more brands exploring Influencer Marketing, Fidelman emphasized that creating long-term relationships with the creators themselves is key to having repeated success with campaigns. Brands should aim to “work to build relationships with Influencers, and most companies that are smart enough to do it right are only doing it right one time,” Fidelman explained. Episodic content over a sustained period of time will see greater returns on investment.
Overall, the most important factor in the success of IM campaigns might be simple: build a good product and you will be able to find someone who will promote it authentically. “We’ve learned that the best collaborations occur when the creator truly is passionate about the brand or product,” Jacobson said.
Influencer marketing is here to stay. In this article, we offer some thoughts to keep in mind.
In a context where ad revenues are threatened by the presence of ad blockers, brands are forced to find new ways to reach their audiences.
One alternative is to seek out influential people on social media to carry the advertisers’ message, in exchange for some kind of compensation for the influencer.
In so doing, the product appears “organically” integrated into the daily content created by the influencer to communicate with his or her followers on social media.
Up to this point, everything ties in seamlessly— on the one hand, brands can reach their audiences in an environment related to their values (through a legitimate voice that is respected by users), and on the other hand, influencers can profit from the hours they spend maintaining their relationship with their followers (which they would do anyway, just for the fun of it).
In other words, it’s as if the brands selected certain popular voices on social media and paid them to be themselves (who wouldn’t want to make money for being oneself?).
The dilemma arises when the brand “forces” this spontaneity, worrying more about plausibility than the credibility of the influencer selected to carry its message.
The Axe case
A similar scenario happened in Argentina recently. Axe, within the framework of the #VosTenesLoTuyo campaign, apparently created a supposed relationship between a homely boy and a popular “It” Girl (both of them well-known thanks to their participation in different highly-rated reality shows on open television).
The uproar on social media was such that both of them were forced to reveal the truth behind their alleged romantic encounters published on Instagram.
What is not clear is whether this confession was all part of the brand’s plan, or whether it was due to the influencers’ lack of experience (which means no one would have subsequently wanted to hire them as influencers if this “suicide confession” had not been part of the original plan).
For its part, the brand circulated a video in which it gave its version of events, although it is impossible to know if this was carried out as part of its strategy reveal, or whether it was a release of liability in response to breaching the confidentiality agreement of the influencers contracted to carry out this action.
There are various questions that arise from this scenario. Should we underestimate the users’ intelligence by expecting them to not differentiate between paid and organic messages? Is there a disadvantage to hiring an influencer to convey a brand’s message, as long as the influencer agrees with the brand’s values and considering they would use the product in question anyway? Is it questionable for brands to openly reveal that they encountered some marketing action by influencers to reach their consumers in a novel way?
Users’ behavior makes Influencer Marketing one of the key strategies for 2017. However, before embarking on any action of this kind, it is important to keep possible repercussions in mind and be prepared to respond to any contingencies that arise.
The role of Influencers in Latin American Marketing efforts, often in real-time, was a pervasive theme during last week’s #PortadaLat. Comments from Social Influencers as well as from Brand Marketers in CPG, Cosmetics/Health and the Luxury Goods and Services Categories.
As Denisse Guerra, Regional Marketing Director Latin America, The Estee Lauder Companies and Manuel Medina Riveroll, Marketing Director, Bayer Mexico pointed out during their session on “Brand Leadership in a disruptive World”, even the traditionally conservative healthcare and cosmetic sector has to take a leap of faith and compete in real-time. That includes the hiring of Social Influencers. They also emphasized that some of their categories are growing much more in LatAm (as an example they cited OTC products which are growing 17% in Latin America vs. low single digital growth rates in the U.S. and stagnation in Japan). During his presentation, Jon Suarez-Davis, VP Global Media Strategy, Kellogg Company also noted that Influencer Marketing is an important of the CPG Giants, Latin American Marketing efforts.
At a session called “Online Video Power Connection”, putting together Online Video Content Creators and Platforms, moderated by Pablo Silva, Director Product Innovation at Viacom, Fabienne Fourquet, CEO and co-founder of MCN 2btube stressed the importance of user-generated “instant videos’.
Lyfestyle and Fashion Blogger Daniela Ramirez noted that she has experienced an increase in interest from brands over the last few years in Influencer Marketing: “Now there is a budget for this,” she said.
Influencer Marketing does not mean a lot for the Luxury goods and services category represented at a panel during #PortadaLat by Alexis Thanasoulas, MD Latin America, Zenith Optimedia Group, Stephanie Peña, Regional Sales Director Americas, Longchamp, Andrea Carneiro, Director Sales and Marketing at The St. Regis Mexico City as well as by Javier Martinez Staines, Director General Editorial, Televisa. During the Q&A after their presentation Maya Kosovalic -Head of Media and Digital Communication at L’Oréal Travel Retail Americas and also a presenter in a video advertising best practices case session together with executives from Teads and Socialyse- asked about whether St. Regis and Longchamp have Influencer Marketing programs currently going on. Both of the brand representatives noted that this is not a priority right now.
Brands like Hermes have very few social media followers, but they are selling like crazy.
A little bit of Schizophrenia
“There is a little bit of schizophrenia in the Luxury World,” said Zenith Optimedia’s Thanasoulas. “Luxury brands are often debating between keeping control or letting it go away. 80% of the marketing programs are still invested the old-fashioned way and not in Social Media.” The marketing of many luxury brands is managed centrally and this makes decentralized content marketing and social media programs more difficult.” Panelists also pointed out that while in the U.S. luxury brands consumers like to be associated with the mainstream and its celebrities, this is not the case in Latin America where consumptions of luxury goods and services ss a more elitist endeavour. Besides, as Thanasoulas pointed out, “Brands like Hermes have very few social media followers, but they are selling like crazy.”