UNDER THE INFLUENCE (PART 3/5)

BIGGER ISN’T BETTER – SCALE VS TRUST

Mark Ritson, in his column for Marketing Week, described Influencer Marketing as untrustworthy. And he made his point in an amusing way. Photocopying his bum, opening an Instagram account, buying followers and using an Influencer market platform to get brands to pay for his endorsement.

It was funny - but irrelevant. He’s right that there are ill-informed brands spending money in stupid ways, but that’s no different to brands falling for fake circulation numbers of some dodgy title. And there are loads of those. Anyway, I digress.

The power of Influencer Marketing is in generating multiple advocates over time who effectively market your brand for you. Some free, some gifted, some paid. The scale comes in the focus and concentration of Influencer engagement over time, and building a network that - unlike Ritson’s beloved TV ads – doesn’t disappear once the TV spot has gone. (Of course, sometimes TV ads are the right thing to do – it simply depends what you are trying to achieve).

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But back to scale being inverse to response. Below is a chart I created 4 years ago – “The Influencer trust continuum”.

Along the bottom axis you can see the Scale (Reach) of Influencers, and on the horizontal axis the rate of response and level of Trust.

It’s a generalised graph, exaggerated but based on mountains of campaign data to illustrate the point that “Trust” and “Response” degrade as the scale of the Influencer increases.

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RESPONSE AND TRUST DEGRADE AS SCALE INCREASES. SO WHY ARE YOU SO OBSESSED WITH SIZE?

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The cool kid at school can make everyone buy the pink slime, or the head of the PTA [Parents & Teachers Association] make everyone order the same gin at the bar – they have a huge Influence in their local communities. At the other end of the scale, we don’t trust the massive Lifestyle Influencers. Every 10 year old knows that Kim K’s life is a total fabrication, but we aspire to LOOK like her or have her LIFESTYLE, and that can have a huge effect on product sales. But that’s a completely different kind of Influence. Both are valid, and both can be harnessed by brands – but they achieve completely different things... And that brings me to point four...

Under the Influence is written by Dudley Nevill-Spencer, Head of Strategy and Innovation at Live & Breathe.

Stay tuned for part 4/5, or get in touch for the full report.

harry.hembrow@liveandbreathe.co.uk