For decades, brands have held the power and had their say over the creative direction of their advertising. But with the rise of influencer marketing, is the tide turning? Simone Morris of GottaBe Marketing considers this phenomenon, and looks at how brands can make successful work using influencers.
Have you ever wondered who has the power when you are putting together a campaign? Some might say the brand does; others might say it rests with those who have the purchasing power. Either way, it’s time to break down this complex relationship. Within this post we will discuss whether brands are representing or assuming, why brands must make the change, and why it is beneficial to recognize the minority ethnic influencers.
GottaBe Marketing considers why brands need to reprioritize diverse representation in campaigns
Are brands representing or assuming?
Millennials and gen Z are the reason for the rise and demand of influencer marketing. Influencers have the power to help consumers decide whether to buy a product. As we mentioned in The power of ethnic influencers for brands, influencers are key to a successful campaign.
It is imperative that you consider the ethnicities of your brand’s audience and how you can market to each one. If your audience is predominately white, ask yourself what you need to do to attract others, as your brand will only attract those it represents. Gone are the days of ‘one size fits all’ marketing; Campaigns need to be tailored to break through and reach cross-sections of society.
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At GottaBe Marketing our goal is to create campaigns that fill these gaps. So, no matter whether you are trying to bridge the gap between South East Asians, Muslims, Africans, Christians, English speakers or other groups, we can help create a campaign that breaks these ‘traditional’ barriers.
Power brands must make the change
As the field of marketing has changed, there is more inclusion of different backgrounds, and there is a need for this to be reflected within all marketing campaigns. Eric Toda, former marketing executive at Gap Inc, Airbnb and Nike, mentioned in Diversity In Influencer Marketing: Why Representation Matters: “As marketers we continue to be one of the only industries in the world that can influence large masses of people; we can do that in the effort of good, or we can choose the other route. We need to put value-driven messages out there, show real life versus a sterilized mirage, and instill purpose.”
To overcome these obstacles, it is important to think about the target demographic and bring into the campaign a diverse mix of influences and cultures. Select influencers from all backgrounds who will champion the brand and the values that your brand represents.
The content that you produce and your relationship with influencers should be authentic. Arthur Altounian, vice-president of Inca’s APAC, said in a recent article: “Many consumers, particularly those in the younger generation, expect more from brands and won’t engage with content that they deem as ‘too polished’ or ‘too fake’ .’”
Having this authenticity allows influencers to have some creative freedom as they know their audience best and will be able to tell your brand’s story in a way that will connect with their followers.
The other key aspect to being successful is representation. As mentioned by Sonia Thompson in her article: “Representation in marketing matters now more than ever, and to some groups more than others.”
In her research, she found that 74% of consumers say representation in marketing is important to them and determines which brands they engage with and buy from. When Thompson asked the question, ‘What do you wish more brands knew about representation?’ to consumers, the responses show how crucial it is. They included:
‘The damage they do by underrepresentation’
‘How much it can affect someone and their feelings about themselves when they never see themselves represented. Like they are not important’
‘Representation doesn’t hurt anyone.’ It only helps’
Those responses from consumers are why it is key to include minority ethnic influencers in your marketing campaigns. Very few products or services are created for one race, gender or viewpoint, therefore your marketing should not be aimed at one single sector of consumers.
Why is it beneficial to recognize the minority ethnic influencers?
Having your audience feel represented by your company’s campaign has an impact on the revenue as it increases factors such as brand purpose. Studies have been done in the US that show the power consumers have if they feel the brand is representative of them – or if the brand is not. In Why diversity in ads is more important than ever for revenue  It details this effect, saying: “Not only do minority groups have huge spending power, but these tightly-knit communities” have a huge impact on pop culture and mainstream media.
A 2016 report by Nielson said that African-American millennials are 25% more likely than all millennials to say they are among the first of their friends/colleagues to try new products, echoing the fact that minorities are pivotal in creating trends and ultimately influencing purchase decisions. These are big word-of-mouth opportunities, and the most powerful marketing tool for raising brand awareness and loyalty.
This power can have a massive impact on the success of not just the campaign or product, but the brand as well. We all want to see ourselves reflected in the brand that we are supporting; we are buying into that brand as well as buying the product. And millennials and gen Z aren’t afraid to use their voice in regard to brands.
These generations appreciate and want transparency from companies. They want to see campaigns that feature influencers with whom they associate and will hold brands accountable as they make changes.