Why Influencer Content Marketing Is The Future Of Marketing, PR And Branding And Why Firms Need To Identify The Best Influencers That Mesh With The DNA Of The Brand

By Steve Biko Wafula / Published May 17, 2021 | 7:32 am


The marketing role is shifting. The role used to be about building relationships with media companies and public relations firms. Now, companies should build their own audiences.

The only things that are constant are taxes, death, and change. Change is inevitable. It’s happening every single day. The interesting thing about humanity is we hate change.

As human beings, we prefer the Status quo. We prefer being comfortable. Leaving the comfort zone is always a challenge that few of us appreciate.

Communication has undergone inevitable change on a daily basis for the past decade that every day feels like a new day in school if you want to keep up with what is happening around you.

The marketing role is shifting. The role used to be about building relationships with media companies and public relations firms. Now, companies should build their own audiences.

Audiences around common interests and likes and are the challenge because different platforms cater to different needs.

Firms need to hire people or influencers who are first, passionate about their brand or product, or service and they have a passionate following and are able to partner with creators of different content that support the brands’ product or service to create the needed buzz for awareness, engagement, referrals, and purchases.

The changes in the last decade have ushered in influencer marketing around the essence of the content. Content that is built around the consumer and the product or service or goods. This is the future of marketing and few brands are even aware that it’s already.

TV and Radio have lost the hold they had. The presented a one-way linear approach to issues. The current consumer wants instant feedback and engagement from the brand.

There are discussions in various digital communities that demand that constant engagement is a must, and most brands don’t have the manpower for this.

This kind of communication is not about what education qualifications that one has but how passionate are you about the various digital platforms and how aggressive is one when it comes to engagement. This is where Influencer Content marketing comes in. A concept that few understand and are deploying in such a manner that is destructive to the brands.

The marketing role of any firm or brand will need to be split in two. One side will focus on the acquisition and retention of long-term customers that the other side of marketing will be getting, through the other aspect of creating partnerships and strategy with content influencers.

This synergy is the future of marketing and communication. Marketing and PR must synergize and ensure that a new realm of engagement is achieved for the sake of the brand and its shareholders.

Even with an existing audience, creator partnerships are the extra nudge to better performing campaigns. These partnerships with influencers are where the crux of the matter is.

Read More: KRA To Tax Influencers 1.5% DST Of Their Income

Few understand the need for content influencers and even fewer know how to manage them. The partnerships need the following to work;

  • They must be of a long-term nature because the influencers must be passionate, they must live, breathe the product and they must be able to talk about it like it’s written at the back of their hands. Passionate and creativity are the denominators of success for this.
  • Budgets are key. Long-term engagement means money must be available. The issue is, money is always available, however, influencers are always paid last like they do not matter, yet in the food chain of the brand, after the owners and shareholders, and they come third, even before management.
  • Big data is the gold standard of Influencer content marketing. Data analytics is critical and must be there for any engagement and campaign. These campaigns are easy to track, monitor, tweak and get the reports of how they are doing, something that TV and Radio could never offer.
  • Brand induction is always key. Something that those in marketing always forget. You cannot deploy influencers, be it for the short term or long term if, first you do not immerse them into the brand. They are your first line of defense. There should not be any regurgitation of content like what we see on trends where a group of influencers is busy copy-pasting stuff to just trend and demand payment and yet the client has not gotten any value for it.

Content Influencers are in three categories; micro, medium, and macro. Learn to create a balance and let each individual influencer create their own content that can spur conversations and through this create the needed grid points that rope on potential clients and the internal team can now harvest the referrals.

Consumers use all kinds of media to make shopping decisions – from YouTube to Facebook – and it’s becoming increasingly harder to put the people that buy certain products into a box than it used to be. This is where influencer content creators are vital.

They create a cult-like following that whatever they say, is the gold standard. If a celebrity says they bought a beautiful hat at an online shop and they post a picture looking handsome or beautiful, their cult-like followers will flock to the shop.

Referrals within the digital communities are very important, delicate, and fleeting like life itself. One moment you are the hero, the next the villain.

Consumer categories like mainstream, or high and low end, are starting to disappear. Segmentation is getting more and more complex. Consumers are banding themselves around influencers and engaging them constantly. For advice, help, recommendations, etc.

The same customer can buy one high-end product and one low-end product at the same time, purely based on their favorite influencers in various sectors. Content Influencing needs authentic and passionate people who can sustain it. It’s a calling that goes beyond the amount of money they are getting paid.

People select which consumer products they want to buy with an unbalanced mix of emotions and rationale purely based on conversations online, irrespective of whether research has been done or not, as long as their favorite influencer has said.

A good example is, many Kenya youth have gotten into farming, because Agriculture Content Influencer Caleb Karuga, who calls himself a ‘Farmacist” has been consistent in documenting his journey as a farmer and why it’s critical for the youth to join.

Read More: To Actualize The Digital Tax, The Government Must Change The Procurement & Disposal Act To Recognize Influencers And Bloggers First

He is the best Ambassador for the Ministry of Agriculture to use to showcase why Agriculture is critical to the country. Any brand in agriculture would be better off with an Influencer like him. But are the brands listening?

The Flip Side of Social Media Influencing;

From Wells Fargo to Volkswagen, the list of disgraced companies keeps getting longer. Businesses are realizing that they cannot escape the transparency offered by social media.

More companies are learning the lesson that, if they aren’t truthful, they will pay the price: Not only hefty fines from the authorities, but also in lost loyalty and business from their customers.

This has ultimately given the consumer more power than brands would want and it’s made worse because if a celebrity or loved influencer decides to go against a brand, that brand will be a shell by the end of the day.

That’s why long-term partnerships with Content Influencers are critical because they become the Marine Troops you send in when the brand is on fire. Their long-term engagement with the brand will make them perfect to engage with the consumers in diverse digital platforms and reverse the situation and create a balance forward.

A few years ago you would have the digital team on one side and the marketing team on the other. It can no longer be that way.

Digital has to be part of everything now so the two have to be fully integrated. Content Influencers have to be part of the team, as partners because their creativity and passion cannot be caged under the tenets of employment.

As one marketer recently suggested: Companies do not necessarily need a digital strategy, what they really need to know is how to plug the digital component into the complex process of how consumers make purchasing decisions. The needed plug is the Content Influencer.

Read More: Innovative Solutions That Will Help Advertise Your Business Better

About Steve Biko Wafula

Steve Biko is the CEO OF Soko Directory and the founder of Hidalgo Group of Companies. Steve is currently developing his career in law, finance, entrepreneurship and digital consultancy; and has been implementing consultancy assignments for client organizations comprising of trainings besides capacity building in entrepreneurial matters.He can be reached on: +254 20 510 1124 or Email: info@sokodirectory.com

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