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Main Feature Marketing Partners APAC

What’s the current trend and flow in influencer marketing –and why should it matter to brands?

With the creator economy continuing to boom every year, brands are increasingly recognising the reach of influencers and the impact they can have on campaign success. As a marketing and advertising channel, we have started to transition away from tapping popular celebrities and A-list personalities, to seek out content creators that have built successful profiles on social media thanks to their content and fanbase. The overarching question still remains: how do brands know which influencers to tap, and which trends should they get into?

To answer this and further explain the upcoming trends within the influencer marketing industry, industry leaders Ruben Ahmed, director of marketing for HP Australia & New Zealand; Isabel Falco, chief digital and marketing officer of L’Oréal Philippines; Jonathan Gerard, head of production of VaynerMedia Asia Pacific; and Aaron Brooks, co-founder and president of Vamp–recently sat down for a panel discussion as part of the What’s NEXT 2023: Influencer Marketing in APAC webinar–to talk about the trends and top tips for brands and agencies.

Influencers are typically considered to be ‘key opinion leaders’ (KOLs), an umbrella term frequently used in the marketing industry. However, it is worth noting that the term ‘KOL’ among present-day influencers is referenced in a much broader context. KOLs may still be most commonly associated with paid partnerships, but they are the creatives and content creators who also promote their work organically to their follower audiences.

This was a point L’Oreal Philippines’ chief digital officer Isabel Falco expressed, who said that influencer marketing has been a key objective for the company. She acknowledges the fact that with the booming creator economy, social media users are now looking at KOLs to learn more about brands and what they should try out next. KOLs have become an influential voice in helping brands retain loyalty.

“The balance has tipped – creators have the power, and they are not “beholden” to brands anymore. Therefore, brands need to attract, vs “demand from” our KOLs & creators; we need to give them a reason to want to partner with us,” she stated.

She also notes the fact there is a greater need for brands to team up with micro- and nano-influencers: those that don’t have the biggest number of followers, but have built a close community thanks to the content they share.

“We need more micros and nanos as well, especially as we see that the “lower” tiers typically have higher engagement rates, as they have a more dedicated following. For this level of scale, we definitely need the right agency partners to also operationalize,” she says.

This is a view supported by insights from VaynerMedia’s Jonathan Gerard, who notes that with the massive shift between influencers and brands nowadays, brands should stop asking influencers to make ads, but rather engage with them as content creator partners.

“They won’t stay and consume ads, so optimising for a 3-second view means you’re creating the wrong thing. Create the right thing and you’ll get much more attention. There is so much appetite for content and consumption is higher than ever,” he explained.

He also adds that brands need to also loosen the reins they put on creator partners and give them more creative freedom to execute the campaign, aside from the mandatory elements of a traditional ad campaign.

This was later reinforced by statements from HP’s Ruben Ahmed, who shared insights related to their recent campaign with local artist Mulga to produce original artwork to promote their Instant Ink subscription and printers. For him, they had a clear objective in combining KOLs and some growth marketing tactics in tandem, with some paid marketing to drive both organic and paid reach.

“Understanding the role of social for your brand is critical – understanding how your audience uses the particular social platform is the key to unlock engagement, because it shapes the direction in a very different way to just running your typical advertising on a social platform,” he said.

Ahmed also noted that brands need to ask themselves if they need an influencer to be able to create online reach, or if they need someone to help cut through by making a ‘splash’.

“Social is quick and short-lived, so we designed for this – lots of creative variations, combinations of videos, images, carousels, polls, competitions were put into a plan together with our media team and set up in the platform so that we could quickly pivot behind what was working or not,” he concluded.

Learn about other insights from the influencer marketing industry, including strategies for storytelling and raising awareness through social media campaigns, by checking out the full on-demand webinar here.

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Main Feature Marketing Partners APAC

MARKETECH APAC tackles ‘What’s NEXT’ in influencer marketing in latest industry discussion 

Singapore – On 8 November, marketing leaders from APAC gathered in an industry discussion to share expert insights into the continuously evolving channel of influencer marketing, and the creator economy that’s sprung from it. 

Influencers – whether macro, micro, or nano – have long been used by brands alongside other more traditional forms of advertising, as a means to build authentic and relatable engagement between audiences on social. As the industry continues to develop, the important question on everyone’s mind is, ‘what can we expect next from influencer marketing?’. 

In a recent event hosted by MARKETECH APAC in partnership with influencer marketing platform Vamp, the What’s NEXT 2023: Influencer Marketing in APAC webinar brought together leaders representing the brand, tech, and agency side. Our experts imparted their top tips for influencer marketing, highlighting what trends we can expect to see moving into 2023. 

The webinar began with a presentation from Aaron Brooks, co-founder and president of Vamp, who later joined a panel discussion that included Ruben Ahmed, director of marketing for HP Australia & New Zealand; Isabel Falco, chief digital & marketing officer of L’Oréal Philippines, and Jonathan Gerard, the head of production of VaynerMedia Asia Pacific. 

In his presentation, Brooks gave an overview of the influencer marketing landscape. He discussed the forecasted growth and investment expected into the channel, the key factors powering the creator economy, and how creator content is being activated to drive outcomes at each stage of the marketing funnel. In addition, the presentation touched on the different elements critical to deploying a successful influencer marketing strategy such as the essentiality of video, recruiting creators with a ‘squad’ mentality, and the importance of representation and advocacy. 

The panel discussion—moderated by Shaina Teope, regional editor of MARKETECH APAC, gave the industry experts an opportunity to share how influencer marketing is being leveraged from the perspective of their brands, and how they’ve been involved to date in the creator economy. 

Ahmed, Brooks, Falco, and Gerard discussed how the demand for key opinion leaders (KOLs) is moving brand engagement into co-creation and collaborating on social strategies. The panel explored ideas around how brands can stand out in their content direction amidst the growing saturation of ‘me too’ content. 

Important takeaways for marketers emerged such as the best approach to managing and maintaining brand-creator collaborations, moving away from creating inauthentic ‘ads’, using influencer marketing for advocacy-driven initiatives, as well as understanding the purpose of each social platform in delivering creator content. Our experts rounded up the discussion with examples of how influencer marketing has become a vital part of an always-on performance marketing channel strategy for their brand. 

Overall, the webinar drew 168 attendees out of 598 registrations. Those who participated came from a variety of industries, including retail, e-commerce, travel & hospitality, consumer products, financial services, F&B, and media & entertainment. 

The top markets represented were Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, India, as well as the US. More specifically, those who took part were from brands and companies Danone, Electrolux; Love, Bonito; Netflix, Ninja Van, OPPO, Philippine Seven Corporation, Pomelo Fashion, RedDoorz, and Summit Media.

Teope commented, “We may think we’ve exhausted the best out of influencer marketing, but with the emergence of popular content formats such as short-form video, we’re attracting new audiences towards creator content. With this industry discussion, we had a diverse and well-represented panel who gave us actionable insights into how the influencer marketing landscape will continue to evolve. The webinar is an essential guide to helping us all prepare for what’s to come next in this exciting space.” 

“In a challenging economic climate, brands should approach influencers as a scaling mechanism to help you reach every consumer type and every sub-niche audience,” says Brooks. “Find those creators who are advocates of your brand already. Don’t be afraid to be bold and go outside of the confines of conventional advertising as you start building out your influencer marketing strategies for 2023 and beyond.”

If you missed out on the live session, there’s still time to dive into the content presented by our industry experts. As we enter a brand new year, don’t miss out on this insight-filled industry discussion. Register HERE to access and watch the on-demand version.