Advertising Is Really Weird Right Now. Influencer Marketing Isn’t
• April 28, 2020
At the outset, advertising during a global pandemic looks pretty gross. Touting products that consumers can’t safely access let alone afford is a bad idea. It’s crass. Tone-deaf. It feels…yucky.
Besides, no one cares right now. Literally everyone is managing a crisis every day; no one has time to hear about your product’s unique value proposition.
We need to feel supported. We need to feel heard. We need to feel connected.
We need to know what problem your brand, product, or service is going to solve for us.
All advertising needs to shift to values-based messaging. What do you stand for? Who do you help? How are you giving back? To whom? Are you providing helpful information? A much-needed laugh? Are you offering discounts to those on the front lines? Donating resources to hardest hit (often minority) communities?
Brands that are actively doing good and visibly helping people will gain lifelong customers. Brands that do nothing or sell as though everything is normal risk losing — and even enraging — customers.
The Entire Point of Influencer Marketing Is To Not Be Yucky
We developed influencer marketing as a way to make an exploitative-by-nature industry better. Truer. More real. Consumers are too savvy to believe much of what a brand tells them, but they always trust their friends. They follow influencers because they trust their content, too.
Kylie Jenner hawking Fit Tea was never the point.
The point was, is, and always should be about real people connecting with other real people to share information: about life, about love, about cooking, about being funny, about dogs, about style, about everything including opinions about products.
NOT bought and paid-for opinions. Real ones.
Let’s be clear: Influencers are paid for 1) the work they put into posting and 2) for a brand’s access to their hard-earned followings. Sponsored content only really works if the content is genuine.
The entire influencer marketing industry is predicated on realness.
There has never been a realer time in history.
Influencer marketing was made for this moment.
We’re in each other’s homes now. SNL being broadcast from Michael Che’s living room is a thing that happened. We’ve seen everyone’s living rooms! (In some inadvertent and unfortunate instances, we’ve seen people’s bathrooms, too.)
We’ve seen sunny patios, closet-cum-home offices, and the insides of conference rooms that are actually family minivans.
We’ve seen each other’s boisterous (and bored) children, partners, parents, dogs, cats, fish.
We’ve seen each other’s dusty shelves, unvacuumed carpets, loads of laundry.
Half of America may not be wearing pants at any given time.
Brands need to take their pants off, too.
We’re all just people, warts and all, trying our best to grope through this dark time. We’re desperate for content that makes us feel better, feel connected. And so while brands can’t actually take their pants off, the influencers that partner with them can.
They can be real like us.
They can share their survival coping mechanisms, diversions, projects, tutorials, memes. They can show us what 5 days of going without a shower looks like (as if we don’t already know). They can sing, or dance, or bake, or just sit around and eat chips — it doesn’t matter. They can just be themselves the way we are. And brands can support them doing their thing.
Not selling. Not hyping. Not making product promises. Just supporting people in real ways that are helpful, or hopeful, or happy, or all three.
Everything that makes influencer marketing effective and — frankly — special, is what makes influencer the best tool advertisers have right now.
We’ve compiled a list of 20+ ideas you can implement with influencers right now. Our guide is designed to help you leverage influencer marketing in the best, most meaningful, thoughtful, and creative ways.