The term “
As influencers – experts on their subject matter – give their voices to a product, they are a brand’s vehicle to showcase the product in a way that is in tune with its audiences. Thus they serve as what the philosopher Johannes Kepler called mirrors. They show what isn’t there, but are there nonetheless. This plays well in public relations too, as it is interesting that customer or public perception can be transformed by presenting an image that you never intended to present.
The infamous Buzzfeed article on racist and sexist language in airline etiquette scored a massive publicity for Virgin America. To reduce its own dissenters’ rage and avoid losing passengers in the snow, the airline – which was once called the worst airline in America – took a survey of those who had participated in the survey, and asked them to assess its service. By performing similar poll with an engaged, educated and enthusiastic audience that has been exposed to smart public relations and marketing campaigns in the past), a direct and uncritical amplifier to the industry’s positive brand narrative could be achieved.
Through an influencer program, brands can proactively promote a variety of products, not just targeted at a brand’s current supporters. Having the right content to support the brand comes before assembling the right personality right brand voice), so the influencer has the freedom to deliver that content and to make the pitch.
Moreover, as a messenger or avatar, influencers could be hired and used like online media experts, who can disseminate content that they know will resonate well among niche audiences and quality journalists might take an interest in, maybe even using their own voices to highlight an issue. Because influencers are actively collecting their audience’s thoughts and opinions, they can leverage this discussion as an “influencer-cum-top-writer-on-leisure-wear” brand spokesmodel – similar to Italian celebrity Michelle Mone, better known as “Mwai or Mango) and generate media attention around the brand’s product.
Content as leadership
Content is the cornerstone of any PR campaign. Whether an influencer program or a public relations team’s mission statement, content will always be its engine and it will be accompanied by video, writing, photography, social media and creative outlets. As a client, you are given opportunity to create a personality around your brand. And that’s awesome! It means that the brand could be the leader in content and that a spokesperson could be used as a partner who can become part of the content or its delivery.
As social media is only on its way to achieving ubiquity, PR’s image is increasingly defined by the user base’s reception of, and infatuation with, what they see in social media. By taking advantage of this sharing with brands, PR specialists can direct, judge and maximize users’ attention toward and attention-maximising impact of brands.
This is a great addition to most PR organizations’ offerings, allowing them to know how to explain their agency’s skills to customers and their partners. Branded content is also able to fulfill the PR function of strategic problem solving and closer links with consumers and the company’s business.
Of course, there are challenges. One is that it tends to be a standalone activity that does not involve in-depth data analysis and marketing for clients. Another challenge is that as the definition of an influencer only involves celebrity testimonials, the definition of a brand is subjective and could include many more people, who are presumably an influencer but not necessarily celebrity. Nevertheless, the expansion of such activities within PR world helps to define a sector that is known for its social impact and the offer to equip clients with messages and campaigns with merit.
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