It’s understandable that marketers today feel the unyielding demand for a higher volume of more trusted and transparent content, amid the proliferation of touchpoints as well as, the growing pressure to remain relevant against Amazon and newer, digitally native vertical brands (DNVBs).
Gone are the days of brands and agencies bearing the sole responsibility for – and control of – the daunting task of content creation in order to meet today’s higher expectations for immediate, personalized information throughout a shrinking path-to-purchase.
According to recent research:
- Content from “people I know” drives discovery and research: 74 percent of consumers who discover new products from people they know are likely to explore it further (Forrester Research, “Four Steps to Add Social to Your Marketing Strategy”, 2017)
- Influencer-generated and user-generated content helps customers explore and inform purchase decisions: 37% of customers go directly to a brand’s website to research products or services, and 49% use a search engine, leveraging blogs, UGC, and reviews to explore product offerings. (Forrester Research, “Four Steps to Add Social to Your Marketing Strategy”, 2017)
- Consumer-generated content validates consumers’ high expectations. Consumers are increasingly seeking out content and signals they need to make a decision on demand, such as products recommended by other customers that are ‘the best’ or ‘the worst’. (Google, 2017)
- Influencer-generated and user-generated content allows consumers to make decisions faster. Consumers are searching for products and product reviews directly through their most trusted channels (vs. search alone), and expecting to act on those decisions to buy immediately (Google, 2017)
The content consumers trust today is content that’s created by influential consumers. An influential consumer can take different forms – from brand advocates with few friends or social followers, to expert reviewers and those most often associated with influencer marketing & relations, i.e. those with six-figure numbers of fans and followers. The content they create can also take different forms – from photos to signals of social proof, like star ratings; to long form reviews, or even survey results. The combinations are infinite.
Marketing and communications that focus on integrating authentic, trusted influencer-generated and user-generated content across their customer journey in order to deliver personalized, relevant experiences for their consumers at every touchpoint will accelerate brand trust and ultimately, consumers’ purchase behavior.
To achieve this at scale, just as marketers’ influencer marketing strategy needs to align with their enterprise communications and media planning – the ideas, insights and content consumers are seeing from influencers should also complement and align with the visual messaging and communications across brand owned and paid touchpoints. Even with the most thoughtful briefs, among marketers’ most common influencer marketing challenges remains influencer-brand dissonance in the content creation process.
Often, as an industry we collectively fail to empathize with what influencers anticipate, think, see, feel, want, and need earlier in the marketing process – before the campaign launches. When in reality, they are more similar to an art or creative director in how they plan, storyboard, test, and create content. How is it, that they successfully influence their audiences, the same target that you are also working to influence?
Through your customer journey mapping and communications roadmap, we’ve shared how to identify the right influencers for your brand, as well as opportunities to repurpose IGC across your digital touchpoints and which to amplify via paid. This becomes exponentially more successful when the influencer is fully onboarded with the brand’s style guide and campaign vision.
Onboarding influencers to your brand style guidelines and campaign vision works to align expectations towards co-creating a cohesive brand experience and integral to helping the consumer find the information they need in the moment – regardless of the device, network, or channel. As well for the marketer – increasing the available on-brand, high-quality content required to repurpose across your campaign touchpoints or to support other departments.
Establish creative boundaries without compromising their creative autonomy by working with influencers as co-creatives using the brand onboarding and campaign style guide templates via the templates below (or download them both here).
Brand Onboarding Brief Template
Campaign Brief Template