Influencer Marketing in Asia: An Interview with Aaron Brooks

Influencer Marketing in Asia
VAMP

Are you seeing more brands turning towards Influencer marketing as part of their marketing strategy? 

Absolutely, the channel is exploding. What was initially quite an experimental advertising channel for some is now one of the fastest growing forms of digital advertising. Influencer marketing is now worth a billion dollars and 84% of brands plan on executing at least one Influencer marketing campaign in 2017. 

It’s not only that more and more brands are using the channel. What’s most surprising is that we’re also seeing brands invest in influencer marketing that you think would never traditionally consider using it. Take our clients MasterCard and American Express. We are building out influencer marketing strategies that align their service to a more experiential lead message. The focus is on attributing their offering to a lifestyle, a relatable story if you like, instead of the traditional product centric approach. And it works. MasterCard have used lifestyle based content produced by Vamp campaigns again and again in digital advertising and seen the incredible results. 

Have you advised brands against utilising influencer marketing? 

We haven’t advised against it however we have turned down work with brands we think are not the right fit for our community of influencers. As we operate a Pro-Influencer model we are very protective about working with great brands and aligning them with great influencers. Our influencers only opt in to work with the brands they love. Doing otherwise can damage their relationship with their carefully curated following. Just as we encourage our Influencers to say no to more briefs than they say yes to, we only seek out partnerships with brands we can deliver high quality results on. It’s the best way all round. We are the first line of defence to ensure we uphold that level of service to our influencer community. 

What are the advantages and pitfalls of Influencer marketing that brands should keep in mind? 

Authentic point of view, engaged audience and high quality native content are the top three advantages. The fact that brands can re-purpose this diverse content into additional marketing channels is an unexpected plus. We’ve seen a huge uplift in brands purchasing additional usage rights of recent. Brands like New Balance are leveraging Vamp influencer content in a digital look books, eDM and sponsored posts off the back of a campaign and MasterCard in digital ad units as part of their on-going marketing strategy. 

Common pitfalls for brands is when they don’t take the time to properly vet theinfluencers, set clear contracting terms and accurately brief the influencers to ensure their execution aligns with campaign strategy. Not to mention the biggest fail in influencer marketing ever. Not relinquishing creative control to Influencers. Followers can smell it a mile off when a brand has too much control over an influencer’s content. It jars with the authentic context of their feed and can really be very damaging for theinfluencer, the brand and the channel as a whole. 

Really the easiest way to avoid the pitfalls of Influencer Marketing is by hiring a professional partner like Vamp that does this on a large scale with legal processes in place.

How important is the number of followers an Influencer has? What is the threshold for quality over quantity? 

Reach is a distant third when it comes to VAMP’s way of running successful influencer marketing campaigns for global brands like Airbnb, Maserati, Country Road and M.A.C. High quality content comes first as this is where the investment really pays off for brands who can utilise the content outside of an Influencer’s feed and in their wider marketing strategies. 

Brands should be looking for engagement and ensuring the influencers are upholding a narrative in the channel when it comes to content. We find the sweet spot for influencers with great engagement and incredible content lies between the 5K – 300K follower mark. 

Brands looking to reach a large number of people are best placed to leverage a group of different authentic influencers who collectively hit a brand’s reach benchmark. Better to hit the reach with a variety of content that has a high engagement than with one expensive piece of content that has a  low engagement. 

What is the biggest challenge when planning out a marketing strategy that includes an Influencer portion? 

Brands need education it’s as simple as that. They need to understand the mechanics behind why and how. The reason we are so successful is because we offer both technology and customer strategy. Influencer marketing is still a relatively young channel and brands are keen to find out the best way to leverage influencers. I still believe the biggest challenge in the market is lack of understanding about the best way to get results which is why some clients have a bad experience initially when working with influencers without a professional partner like VAMP. 

Do you see brands gravitating towards or away from Influencer marketing over the next 2 years? 

The industry growth is only going from strength to strength and there is a real shift in advertising as a whole. Brands are investing influencer spend as part of their yearly marketing budgets over traditional advertising like TV and magazine. People thought social was just a fad and look how wrong they were. Instagram is booming and this as a really good indication. Now over 600 million Instagrammers strong, the count has accelerated greatly in the past six months with an additional 100 million more users joining the platform. Within Instagram alone, the projected Influencer Marketing growth is $2 billion by 2019 and $5-$10 billion as a whole. Of course the industry is evolving but let’s face it it’s here to stay.