GUEST COLUMN: Influencer marketing in 'new normal' digital domain

GUEST COLUMN: Influencer marketing in 'new normal' digital domain

Influencer integration for inclusive marketing is the road ahead, whether in the real or metaverse

Shuchi Sethi

Mumbai: Influencer marketing (IM) has made a big mark in the social media space. It has become a serious business and reached the multi-billion-dollar mark like any other industry and is estimated to surpass $37 billion by 2027, according to Statista report.

IM platforms track these numbers with the help of analytical and influencer relationship management tools.

Influencer marketing on the rise

At the nascent stage about a decade ago, influencer marketing was all about celebrity names. Fast forward to today, influencers are not limited to only celebrities; they have become brands themselves with their appealing content. The authenticity and uniqueness of the content make influencers stand out among the crowd. The influencer marketing space has become competitive like never before, with brands’ adopting IM as an integral part of their digital marketing strategies.

Brands calculated metrics like Return on Investment (ROI) in traditional marketing. When it comes to influencer marketing, the most effective way is to understand the influencer’s role on the conversion path, which goes way beyond the number of 'Likes' and 'Shares.'

Introducers introduce the brand in the consumers’ mind space

Contributors ensure to create an impressive brand recall and are at the top-of-the consumer’s mind while they contemplate a purchase decision. Closers are the real deal closers and persuaders who drive the purchase decision.

Influencers are often introducers and contributors, so evaluating their contribution is critical during the complete attribution plan. They are media partners who help the brand spread the message aloud.

Creativity and social media are becoming one collaboration

Creativity is prized above all, and influencers combining their creativity with social media reach is an incredible amalgamation. Collaborating with an influencer who is a celebrity with a massive following to create brand awareness or a micro-influencer targeting a specific audience depends on the brand’s ultimate goal.

The lifestyle and fashion industry are at the forefront leveraging the benefits of influencer marketing. MAC Cosmetics India’s makeup tutorials, live sessions, and stories on social media platforms were instant hits among millennials.

Daniel Wellington, the luxury watch brand, roped in influencers from all tiers to spread its brand awareness. The brand has successfully implemented this strategy for new product launches and upcoming sale seasons.

The creative collaborations have helped brands monetise their marketing strategies and are gaining momentum in other sectors as well.

Meta influencer - the new age influencers

Creativity is set to reach another level with meta influencers in action. There were over 150 virtual influencers identified in 2021. The war between real and virtual influencers will be a tough one to watch out for in the future.

Meta influencers have the might to identify the latest trends and share quantifiable results with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) techniques. Every part of the world is creating its meta influencers army.

The first Indian meta influencer - ‘Kyra’ engages customers with her virtual avatar. She is an intelligent meta influencer who can create and publish her content. Kyra can be integrated with metaverses, music videos, 3D films, and so on.

The real influencers are giving a tough fight with their digital doubles – a replica of real influencers to promote specific events and spur the excitement level. Amazon sponsored Justin Bieber’s virtual avatar to release a music album in November 2020.

With the meta fever catching up, it will be fun to watch bespoke content in the metaverse.

Inclusive marketing strategy

An inclusive marketing strategy can create a 360-degree impact. Ethically it helps to imbibe inclusivity in the brands’ culture as the new normal, and strategically, it builds sustainable long-term growth. Brands must choose influencers that relate to the audience and a marketing plan reflecting their ideology. Influencer integration for inclusive marketing is the road ahead, whether in the real or the metaverse world.

(About Author: Shuchi Sethi is an influencer marketing expert with over six years of experience in influencer marketing. She currently leads Anymind Group’s AnyTag’s influencer programme in India)