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  • Marwa Kaabour

The Changing Landscape of Influencer Marketing

Updated: Sep 28, 2023


The Changing Landscape of Influencer Marketing
The Changing Landscape of Influencer Marketing

I am happy to take part of an outstanding panel discussion on ' Unleashing the Power of Collaboration Between Marketeers and Influencers for Effective Brand Engagement.'

Here are some key takeaways from my talk:


Over the past decade, we have witnessed a shift in consumer behaviour, with people placing more trust in their peers and online personalities as opposed to traditional advertising.


The role of influencers in shaping brand engagement strategies has evolved from one-off endorsements to more strategic, diverse, and long-term partnerships that leverage authenticity, relatability, and data-driven decision-making to connect with target audiences effectively.


This form of digital marketing has proven highly effective, delivering higher engagement rates, enhanced customer loyalty, and improved ROI compared to traditional advertising channels.


- Emergence of social media platforms has given influencers prominence across multiple channels to connect to their audience, this means brands can work with influencers to adapt strategies to new trends and emerging platforms.


- Authenticity & Relatability: Influencers’ role has shifted to authentic and relatable content making, posing them as storytellers and assisting brands to convey their narratives in a more compelling approach. Demand for transparency shows clearer disclosure of partnerships, which can affect how audiences perceive and engage with branded content.


- Micro-Influencers: Brands are increasingly collaborating with micro and nano influencers to foster long-term instead of one-off campaigns, and employ a more targeted approach to reaching their audience. With diverse content formats, eg. videos, stories, and live streams, influencers offer brands varied visual approaches.


- Advocacy & Ambassadorship: influencers have evolved into brand ambassadors, advocating for products or services in an integrated and sustained manner, thus strengthening brand loyalty. They often foster communities around their content, giving brands a way in to tap into these communities for engagement and interaction. Influencers also play a significant role in driving consumer purchase decisions, making them a key component of brand strategies.


- Data-Driven Decision Making: Brands are using data analytics to identify the most effecSocial media influencers ; social media strategies tive influencers for their target demographics, ensuring a more strategic approach. Brands are also focusing on measuring effectiveness of campaigns, leading to more accountability in the influencer marketing space.



Marketers are consistently expanding their outreach by integrating influencers, elevating our consumer-focused brands to the forefront. This approach presents a valuable opportunity to connect with a diverse range of audiences across various demographics, enhancing brand interaction and engagement.


At Al Masaood Automobiles, our foray into influencer engagement has proven to be a highly effective complement to our marketing endeavors. Within Nissan Abu Dhabi, we persistently seek out tailored partnerships to enhance brand engagement. This approach affords us a sustained presence, allowing us to increase visibility, showcase car features and above-all engage with our target audience through an authentic approach that resonates with them. On a brand level, it also increase Nissan’s Share of Voice in the digital sphere.


An example that comes to mind is a recent collaboration between Nissan Abu Dhabi and Rony Mhanna to promote the flagship model – The Nissan Patrol. Through engaging videos and stories, Rony was able to communicate clearly and simply on the attractive features of this car model, and highlight recent upgrades on it. The videos generated very strong engagement on the social channels, with reposts and saves by his followers, in addition to direct inquiries from his community.


Another example was our effort to promote the INFINITI QX55's special summer promotion, where we organized an exclusive soirée for influencers. The event provided them with a firsthand introduction to the car in a close & personal setting. Despite the small group size, the influencers maximized their impact by broadcasting live from the showroom and producing diverse content formats for distribution across their channels. This approach enabled us to extend our reach to a broader base of potential customers. The influencers were treated to a carefully curated preview of the INFINITI QX55, enhancing their overall brand experience.


Our strategy for ARB Emirates at ADIHEX 2023 was understated yet strategic. We partnered with two micro-influencers: one, a female lifestyle enthusiast less inclined towards the great outdoors, and the other, a well-known Emirati adventurer. Our aim was to convey that ARB's product range caters to a diverse audience, from novice campers to seasoned adventurers. Throughout the week-long campaign, we achieved an impressive 30% reach, propelling our exhibition stand to remarkable levels of engagement.


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By aligning their goals, values, and strategies, marketers and influencers can create a cohesive brand narrative that resonates with the audience, fosters authenticity, and ultimately drives success for both parties.


- Clear Goals, Shared Values & Messaging: Marketers and influencers should collaborate to establish clear and specific objectives for the campaign. These objectives must align with the brand's overall marketing goals and the influencer's content style and audience. Both parties should identify and agree upon the core values and messaging that the brand wants to convey. This includes understanding the brand's mission, vision, and key messages that need to be communicated through the content.


- Audience Alignment & Content Planning: Ensure that the influencer's audience aligns with the brand's target demographic. The influencer's followers ideally should be potential customers or stakeholders for the brand. Collaborating on content planning is a must, to ensure that the influencer's content seamlessly integrates the brand's message. This includes deciding on the content format, tone, and style, hence working together to develop a compelling narrative that resonates with the audience.


- Engagement Strategy: Discuss how both parties will engage with the audience during the campaign including responding to comments, conducting Q&A sessions, or organizing giveaways as a reminder or token to keep the brand top of mind.


- Measuring Success: Agree on key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of the campaign. This could include metrics like reach, engagement, conversions, or brand sentiment. Maintain open communication throughout the campaign and be willing to adapt if necessary. Marketers and influencers should be receptive to feedback and make adjustments as needed to ensure the success of this collaboration. Post the campaign, a thorough analysis of its impact and outcomes should be conducted to evaluate what worked well and what could be improved for future collaborations.

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The evolving landscape of influencer marketing presents both challenges and opportunities that marketers can navigate to create successful campaigns.


Challenges:

- Oversaturation of influencer content may lead to reduced audience interest, trust and engagement.


- Maintaining authenticity as influencer marketing becomes more commercialized can be difficult.


- Stricter regulations require transparency in sponsored content, posing compliance challenges for brands and influencers.


- Determining the ROI of influencer campaigns and measuring their impact on sales can be challenging. This brings us back to the importance of agreeing on KPIs before the collaboration goes live, to give a basis for evaluation and measurement.


- Rapid changes in social media algorithms can affect content visibility and reach.




Opportunities:

- Leveraging micro and nano-influencers for niche markets and higher engagement rates.


- Advancements in data analytics enable more precise influencer selection and campaign optimization.


- Building enduring partnerships with influencers for consistent, authentic brand messaging.


- Encouraging user-generated content through influencer collaborations can boost authenticity.


- Exploring new content formats like video, stories, and live streaming to diversify engagement and expand reach.


- Integrating influencer marketing with e-commerce platforms for direct sales and measurable results.


- Expanding influencer marketing to international markets for broader brand exposure.



I am very grateful to have shared this panel with:


🔥Dr Sheen Gurrib FRSA - Content creator, business coach, tech entrepreneur.


🌐 Myreine A. MASSIH - Group Marketing, Communication & Creative Director, Damas Jewellery.


💥 Rand Dalati - Content Developer creator, Influencer.


🌐 Nuran Mekky - Group Head - CVM Operations and Customer Experience, Gargash Group.


🌐 Farah Al Alami - Chief Communications & Marketing Officer, Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Center.


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