As our world continues to face lots of change, each level of the marketing funnel is changing and influencer marketing is no different. It is paramount that brands evaluate their influencer marketing efforts to ensure that it is an effective and efficient spend as budgets continue to shrink. Over the course of the last few months, we’ve been able to aggregate learnings from well-executed (and not-so-well executed) influencer programs from brands across many consumer categories.
Prior to launching any influencer campaign, we believe that the performance of a four-step audit can help determine if influencer marketing is the correct approach for your brand at this time. By auditing the brand/segment, storytelling opportunities, potential partners and go-to-market
messaging, we are able to build end-to-end recommendations that ladder up to overarching brand goals and KPIs while remaining sensitive to the current climate.
Step 1: Brand & Segment Audit
Does your brand/segment have something meaningful to contribute?
The first step in our audit process is to identify the key brand product or service offering and the segment category it falls into based on consumer perception. Some questions that are helpful in identifying these offerings and segment categories are as follows:
- Is the segment category providing a service that is applicable to the current climate?
- Example: Stay at home/lounge clothes everyone needs vs. High-end fashion.
- What value does this product bring to consumers?
- What sets your brand apart from other players in the space?
- Here, you can leverage customer incentives and brand differentiators to help drive consumer consideration.
Once you’ve established that the segment category is applicable and the product offering brings value to consumers in the COVID-19 era, you can move on to establish the potential storytelling opportunities for each key product offering.
Step 2: Storytelling Opportunities
What are the storytelling opportunities for this product or service?
“Buy this product” messaging no longer works with consumers – particularly during a global pandemic. So, we have to get creative. During this stage of our audit, it’s important to identify all of the potential storytelling angles for your brand or product.
Here’s what we recommend doing in order to achieve this:
- Establish a editorial calendar of tentpole moments.
- These moments could include promotions, holidays, cultural moments, etc.
- Prioritize up-to-date editorial themes.
- What are consumers going to relate to most right now? Determining the answer to this question will help your brand pinpoint winning messaging placements and strategies.
- Ensure storytelling angles are positive and uplifting.
- Consumers get enough doom and gloom on the news today. Now is an opportunity for your brand to spin up some positivity in its messaging.
Step 3: Potential Partner Identification
Who are the partners that can relay this message with relatable authenticity?
One of the most important (and fun) steps to planning an influencer program is sourcing partners to help tell your story. First and foremost, key customer demographics must be identified in order to create sourcing criteria. Influencer needs must also be determined during this step. Does your campaign require a tiered approach? Just one macro influencer? A network of micro-influencers? Answering questions like these will help in selecting the best possible partners for your brand.
Leveraging an influencer sourcing tool to confirm key influencer audience metrics is paramount to connecting with the correct consumers and providing program ROI. Last but not least, brands must do their due diligence to ensure that selected influencer partners not only align with brand values, but that their online presence reflects these values.
Step 4: Messaging Assessment
Does our message need to be altered or tailored to the current climate?
Now more than ever, it is incredibly important that both your brand and your influencer(s) do not come off as tone-deaf. We recommend taking the following steps prior to pushing content live in order to ensure that the content will be well received:
- Acknowledge the current climate without centering campaign messaging around it.
- “Since we’re spending so much time at home...” or “These days, I love trying out new recipes…” are two solid examples of lead-ins influencers could use when discussing your brand or product.
- Be nimble and pivot as necessary.
- Things change rapidly. In the time between content creation and posting, circumstances can change. This means it’s imperative for your brand to ensure that content stays relevant and gets messaged appropriately.
- Coordinate with influencers to determine tailored messages based on their knowledge of their content performance and audience.
- Influencers know their audience better than anyone and know what will resonate with them – so why not ask them to help your brand?
By auditing your process through the steps outlined above, any influencer campaign you work on can successfully meet consumers where they are with relatable stories and a product or brand that they can get behind.
Check out the piece on Little Black Book Online: https://www.lbbonline.com/news/how-to-evaluate-if-influencer-marketing-is-right-for-your-brand-right-now