The growth of influencer marketing will be huge in the years ahead, and with barriers like ad blockers interrupting traditional advertising, marketing budgets in 2016 will see a shift toward earned media — especially earned media through influencer marketing. Forbes
Influencer Marketing is popular and growing fast.
Most marketers* agree that their influencer marketing budgets will grow significantly throughout 2016. Influencer Marketing includes marketing to, through and with opinion leaders.
The influencer premise is simple: Leverage a cadre of celebrities, bloggers and industry experts to post about your brand and expect to boost leads, brand awareness and customer loyalty.
The underlying strategy origins from the 1940 study by Lazarsfeld & Katz, describing the Multistep Flow Model, which claims that the majority of people are influenced by secondhand information and opinion leaders.
But this premise also has a few inherent problems that require appropriate consideration.
Current Situation in Switzerland
Switzerland requires some additional considerations due to its unique situation.
1. Market Limitations:
Switzerland is a very small country with a limited market size. Within this small market there are at least 4 if not seven languages further dividing target audiences. For Social Media and especially for YouTube one needs to differ between the official German (written language) and actual Swiss-German (spoken language). Aside from our native languages we might also need to consider Serbo-Croatian and English as further languages.
2. Influencer Oligarchy:
- With a market that is limited in size, local influencers trying to address the Swiss audience are in fierce competition for the limited audience attention. The amount of money brands are spending in Switzerland only allows for a very small crowd of influencers to actually make a living and follow their passion full time.
- Combined with the fact that influencers from the French part of Switzerland seek a French audience and Ticinesi influencers address an Italian audience, we get a situation were only a select few influencers actually manage to appeal to a relevant audience size.
- This situation is only beneficial to the mentioned select few influencers. This creates a difficult situation for brands looking for influencers with large Swiss audiences. With many brands forced to solicit the same influencers, we have a problem of opportunistic price biddings combined with a credibility issue for both, influencers and brands.
- Additionally complicating the situation is the fact that the market for digital influencers is fairly new and there are no established paths for education or recruitment. Therefore most people interested in blogging will seek the few recognizable leading figures as mentors, thus further strengthening the oligarch position of the few already well-known influencers.
Just like print magazines there’s an abundance of blogs to just about any topic and subtopic imaginable. A large majority of blogs cover several topics. All boundaries are fluent.
A brand (especially in consumer products) should try to be present in as many categories as possible. A smart phone for instance is a useful tool in any category. Don’t focus too narrowly only on the most apparent category of blogs, but imagine where your products have touch points with humans.
Most consumers have several interests and will visit various websites over time. To achieve the optimal effect of “recommendation style” marketing, it is important that the consumer hears the same message from different sources several times. This enforces the perception of “everybody” talking about and recommending said product.
A multitude of posts by lower level influencers is always more credible and thus more valuable than single posts by expensive local leaders.
Influencer Hierarchy Strategy
With all the risks, restrictions and regulations attached to brand ambassadors, any credible influencer marketing strategy must be composed of several levels of influencers and according communication. We recommend at least three levels (better four) for a globally operating corporation:
1.Global Brand Ambassador
2.Local Brand Ambassador
3.Established local influencers
4.Up and coming local influencers
For any long term strategy the first levels must be chosen with extreme prudence and foresight. The selection and use of a local brand ambassador depends strongly on the strategy for the global brand ambassador. If the global ambassador will a have a strong omnipresence, a local ambassador could be more of a disturbing factor.
Choice of Publication Channels
Many contemporary digital influencers don’t actually have a blog (website) anymore, but tend to focus on social media i.e. mini-blogs. The rise of social media has given this market a large variety of channels to choose from. The typical strategy of using social media purely to tease and deliver traffic to a website is not the only valid anymore. Even a single account strategy can be successful. However, a multi- channel strategy is still preferred. The choice of content and channel will influence the style of story telling.
Outreach & Image Formation
Although the creation of online reach (brand awareness) and the subsequent formation of a brand image may seem to be two different processes, with correct Influencer Marketing you can seamlessly melt both into one process. The way you tell a story defines how you’re perceived.
Professional Influencer Marketing Services for Switzerland
CCI Ltd. has put together designated Influencer Marketing Packages. We provide Influencer Marketing solutions for international brands seeking market shares in Switzerland as well as for local brands looking to grow their international reach and brand awareness. To find out more and get in touch click here now.