What if we stopped talking about influencers?
Every shift in society raises questions about our relationship with our models and the things we pay attention to.
In this respect, the pandemic is no exception to the rule. However, one could argue that the major changes that our society is currently experiencing will not cause influence marketing to disappear, but rather to evolve.As the world is slowly opening up, a wind of change is blowing across social networks and creating new figures, who embody the priorities and concerns of communities.
It is possible that the « influencer model », as we know it, may not be part of our journey to the future, and that’s probably not a bad thing.
The value of influence lies in the quality of the connections it generates.
Influential communication is all over the news today, because it has proven its ability to create value and maintain the bond between brands and communities during this period of high uncertainty.
But all this buzz has also fostered a common misconception in our industry – confusing influence with influencer and considering influence as a way to simply amplify your reach.
At CTZAR, we actually consider influence as a consequence. It reflects the credibility earned among communities. The latter will only acknowledge personalities with genuine and credible characters – those talents capable of showing imagination and creativity, or those voices that have the authority to convey ideas and values.
In fact, you cannot train to “become an influencer”. It is neither a profession nor an ultimate goal. If the term still fuels certain fantasies of easy visibility, the recent drift towards superficial content – caused by opportunist stakeholders – has finally dampened the enthusiasm of most advertisers who are now looking for other more relevant and qualitative performance indicators.
By definition, influence has a leading role when it comes to trends and innovations.
For over 10 years now, there has been a significant evolution in the way engagement and virality are measured. As platforms developed, new forms of expression have progressively appeared. We had to be constantly flexible and creative to understand these new social grammars and reinvent the way brands connect to communities. To do this, we have always chosen to surround ourselves with authentic talents and experts, willing to engage in long-term collaborations in order to create value.
We are convinced that they are the most qualified to create this encounter between brand culture and digital culture because they offer a different point of view and are innovative in their way of interacting with the world.
Being influential is a responsibility
Today’s communities pay particular attention to the way brands and personalities influence their audiences. Aware of the fact that they have the power to make or destroy any celebrity, communities have understood that brands and influencer are actually indebted to them. Those highly connected opinion leaders are now expected to become role models, to stand for something they believe in and to use their influence to positively impact the lives of their followers. The #StopHateForProfit movement demonstrated last year that platforms must assume their responsibilities in the fight against online hate and fake news proliferation. Undeniably, brands and influencers also have a role to play in making the world a better place.
"Creative minds, experts, activists and all those who carry out powerful personal projects are the new voices that resonate on social media."
The real face of influence
While traditional media deliver messages, the digital and influence world offers the opportunity for communities to take ownership of these messages.
If they want to be part of this post-truth era, brands will have to position themselves alongside users, now more than ever. To do so, they will need to rely on role models who have the ability to gather and engage audiences who perceive information and entertainment as a new source of inspiration.
Creative minds, experts, activists and all those who carry out powerful personal projects are the new voices that resonate on social media. If these personalities don’t seem, at first, to be the most qualified to create content centred around a product, it doesn’t mean that they are not able to promote it in a smart and personalised way. In fact, a meaningful and longterm connection between the brand and a talent adds that extra layer of credibility that can get communities on board and engage consumers.
No good stories without a good storyteller
Has the pandemic killed influence marketing? Certainly not. However, by disrupting our relationship with celebrity, it may well have undermined the culture surrounding the word « influencer ».At CTZAR, we have always cultivated this ability to innovate and connect with those intelligent talents who are able to develop ideas that fuel the relationships between brands and their communities.
Advertisers today must engage with partners who are able to offer an innovative, legitimate and meaningful narrative, in line with the expectations of new generations.
To begin with, why don’t they stop using the word « influencer » ?