Influencer marketing may not be the first thing manufacturers, integrators, associations, and the collective grouping of AV brands consider when they put together a marketing plan. Yet, in my opinion, it absolutely should be. The reality is, it’s getting harder and harder for brands — especially those in the custom space — to cut through the noise and engage in a meaningful manner with their intended audience. Aligning with people who share in the storytelling role for your brand can be incredibly beneficial. Here are some things to consider and ways to get started.
First things, first: Identify your audience, understand its needs, and develop a defined path for them to engage with your brand. It’s critical that this be done before engaging with a third party, simply so the investment being made is maximized. The best influencers are the ones who have a relevant connection to your offering and are actively talking about related topics in a manner that’s complementary and actively reaching the audience(s) you seek.
More Secrets of Success: Be a Brand to Believe In
For instance, interior designers are a target audience for many brands and one that the industry has been clamoring to align with since the dawn of technology. They often have a stronger emotional connection to the client and can be highly influential in the decision-making process. But, did you know that designers can also serve as brand advocates?
Enter Veronika Miller. She’s the powerhouse behind Modenus Media and the mastermind behind the Designhounds, a group of several hundred influential designers and design influencers available for hire by brands to support marketing activations and campaigns. Together, they do an amazing job of pairing brands with designers who want to truly experience what a brand is all about and share that with the world.
Miller recently paired Designhounds with Signature Kitchen Suite (SKS), LG’s luxury line of kitchen appliances. Founded on the idea that better cooking is possible through better thinking, the Signature Kitchen Suite portfolio caters to a new generation of forward-thinking cooks they call Technicureans, combining their passion for food with their appreciation for innovation. Fifty carefully chosen Designhounds were shipped a box of hand-selected ingredients and recipes to make drinks, appetizers, mains, and desserts, and SKS executive chef Nick Ritchie provided a video tutorial to help the Designhounds create delicious dishes at home but alongside their peers, in a casual, fun-filled setting.
One event focused on making Sous Vide Limoncello while another was a full-fledged “Summer Lovin’ Date Night” where Designhounds brought along a date to share in the preparation, plating, presentation, and enjoyment of a date-night worthy meal, all via Zoom. SKS kicked off the event with a product overview and brief dive into some of the newest or more compelling new features — all done virtually from another location but with a casual, entertaining flair that fit the mood perfectly. The Designhounds loved every minute of these events, and they shared that love prolifically on social media, in blogs, videos, reels, chats, Clubhouse talks, and articles like this one. The strategy behind these activations was, and still is, to build a collection of content about the brand that is genuine and consistent with the brand’s message. The influencers became the voice of the brand that speaks directly to the consumer with confidence and ease. The power (and value) of that is simply immeasurable.
Even More Secrets of Success: Managing Your Local Presence
As you think about executing an influencer marketing program and everything I’ve mentioned here, remember that it starts with a clear plan and requires a strategic approach. Finding the right influencers is arguably the hardest part of influencer marketing. When you hire someone to be an ambassador or to promote your offering, they become an extension of your brand, so it’s important that you do the homework to ensure they are a match. Are they a good reflection of your company and your vision? Do they have the right audience? Who their followers are is more important than how many they have, with relevance being far more important than reach. Once you choose influencers, it’s important not to micromanage them. It’s their voice that their networks are interested in listening to, not yours.
Last, but not least, choose wisely as it’s (very) hard to recover from a social media flub. Influencers need to be well-prepped and well-versed, provided the right resources, and their activity should be monitored closely. An article from Falcon shares some cringeworthy Instagram mistakes, like the one where an influencer posted notes from the marketing firm/editor that said, “Here you go, at 4pm est, write the below,” which they went and put right into the post itself where thousands saw it. Ugh…
Have you tried or successfully implemented influencer marketing? I’d love to hear about your experience. Drop me a line at [email protected].