Article | August 13, 2020
I’ll never forget the night that everything really changed. It was my wife’s birthday, March 11th. I took her out for dinner at a lovely restaurant in South Minneapolis, and for a couple of blissful hours, over exotic cocktails and delicious food, we unplugged from the loudening noise of a worrisome outside world. After we walked out of that restaurant, there would be no more tuning out.
Article | February 17, 2021
In today’s world, brand marketing goes much further than marketing campaigns and advertising.
When it comes to brand advocates, we typically think of social media influencers and the more traditional brand ambassador. However, what better brand advocate than your very own employees?
Matthew Hayes, managing director of brand agency Champions (UK) plc, explains the importance of using employees as brand advocates and the benefits to both the brand or business and its staff.
What is a brand advocate?
A brand advocate is somebody that shares the same values and ethos as a brand, representing them in a positive light, often helping to increase brand awareness and even sales.
Typically speaking, a brand advocate is often a social media influencer, a brand ambassador or there is some sort of mutual, or contractual agreement in place.
However, who are the most powerful spokespeople for a brand or business? The people who work there, of course. These people are often the living embodiment of the brand and front-line representatives that can make or break that brand interaction.
It may not be the most traditional concept or the one we necessarily think of first, but it definitely makes the most sense. Particularly in a time where employee retention and communication are so important.
Brand advocates are a way to drive organic and authentic traffic to a brand or business. Whilst the Internet and social media are incredibly powerful tools for raising brand awareness, nothing quite beats word-of-mouth marketing.
In 2016, a global study found that 50% of employees share something on their own social media channels about their employer. And given that social media has upped the ante over the last few years, I expect this figure to be significantly higher in today’s climate.
So, with that in mind, brands should be working towards improving their internal communications to create a better relationship with employees, promote their vision and mission, and raise brand awareness through organic brand advocacy.
Brand advocacy builds brand love
When done correctly, brand advocacy can build brand love and there are a number of ways to do that.
Whilst many brands focusing their attentions to external communications, however, many neglect or overlook the importance of internal communications and training.
Internal communications are a phenomenal way for brands and businesses to collectively communicate with their employees. Whether this is done via training courses or conferences, internal Intranet or even an email newsletter, this can help improve employees’ knowledge of the business, the brand and the products or services.
Not only that, but internal communications help boost staff morale, providing them with motivation and detailed information ensuring they are involved and up to date with all aspects of the business.
They also provide a sense of togetherness, connecting employees through a series of shared visions, missions, goals and objectives.
Here, is where consumer and employee sentiment is key. Consumer sentiment has always been an important variable in businesses, allowing owners to forecast production, plan ahead or adjust their output depending on popular opinion – and the same goes for employees, too.
And if brands aren’t entirely sure how to turn their attention to employee sentiment, the first step to make is investing in a brand audit or brand value proposition. These can help to educate and ensure stakeholder and employee perceptions are aligned, as well as making sure people are communicating the same messages, vision, mission and values of the brand.
A brand vision is simply intent. The vision should support and reflect the long-term business strategy and help guide the future. And a brand mission, is a statement that communicates the purpose and objectives of a brand.
And with the vision and mission of the brand in mind, it is important for brands and businesses to consider both employees and consumers to ensure values are shared across the board.
Employees are key
Employees are a pivotal part of any business. And quite simply, without them, businesses wouldn’t be able to function. It is the employee’s business just as much as the employers, so it is only right for them to play a part and get involved.
We are beginning to see more well-known brands implementing this strategy and using their employees as a face of the brand, rather than just working their magic behind the scenes. Disney are a great example of this as its employees have been the embodiment of the brand and its ethos for years.
The likes of Sass and Belle, Lindex and Zoella are all putting staff at the forefront of their brands, getting them just as involved as main stakeholders.
Sass and Belle, for example, have a website filled with images of their employees and often share quotes and content from them, too. This in turn, creates a more personal and emotional bond between the brand and the consumer, as the brand is no longer faceless.
Similarly, in 2015, Lindex launched an underwear campaign and instead of tapping into their network of professional models, they used their own employees and have continued to do so. Again, this improves their position in the market by appearing more relatable and creating that all-important emotional connection.
And Zoella often shares content, crediting employees for their ideas, allowing them to take part in social media takeovers and truly getting them involved. By doing so, they are adding personal and humanistic elements to their branding – and it’s paying off, too.
In doing this, the brand achieves an even wider reach as employees share the brand’s content across their personal channels, get to know their online connections and create organic relationships with potential consumers themselves.
Not only that, but this creates reputation, making brands come across as a desirable employer and recruiter, as well as helping to retain current staff and employees.
Listening to new ideas, accepting criticism and being transparent is also paramount. Your employees may well be your consumers too, and as they say, the customer is always right.
After all, employees are the ultimate representative of a brand, and Amelia Neate, Senior Manager at Influencer Matchmaker says, “It’s important to remember we’re living in a social age where employees are becoming micro-influencers in their very own right.
“For example, Emily Rose Moloney started out as an employee for ASOS and now, working as a fashion influencer, is promoting them on her social media channels, with her Instagram account gaining almost 80k followers.”
What employees think of a brand or business they work for speaks volumes. And employees help to drive brand awareness, so empowering them through a plan of brand advocacy is a sure-fire way to achieve great results.
So, next time you are seeking to boost stats and see results, consider the power of your employees and come together to create your very own culture.
Lead by example, work together and invest in your employees.
Article | August 13, 2020
The way restaurants once operated has radically changed over the last few years as technology continues to advance. An industry that once thrived on word of mouth marketing now must turn to other promotional methods to entice customers to dine with them. However, many restaurant owners are unaware of the plethora of digital opportunities available to them. In this post, we will explore the different digital tactics we’ve seen restaurant brands benefit from and discuss how to effectively revamp your restaurant marketing strategy.
Article | February 25, 2021
We’re now living in a world dominated by technology and digitisation. Whatever the business or industry may be, technology is sure to be at the heart of it, and if it isn’t already, it will be very soon.
Thanks to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the entire world has been thrust into upping the ante when it comes to living much more digitally and often, virtually.
Not only are our usual get togethers being replaced by Zoom and FaceTime calls, but we are finding ourselves surrounded by technology in all aspects of life, and this will only continue.
Social media influencers kept the entire nation entertained throughout each and every lockdown, but now we’re seeing an influx in the number of virtual influencers filling our social media feeds, too.
Amelia Neate, Senior Manager at Influencer Matchmaker explains the role of AI within the influencer marketing industry and what we can expect from it, both now and in the future.
The rise of artificial intelligence
With the influencer marketing industry set to grow by 15% on a global scale, it is important for brands, agencies and influencers alike to adapt to the current times in order to see progression and boost sales.
Artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t something we would necessarily associate with influencer marketing, but it is fast becoming a crucial aspect of many industries and businesses. And with that in mind, it is something we must utilise and understand, rather than shy away from.
Thanks to the effects of 2020, we have been forced to completely digitise our businesses quicker than we could have thought possible – but we did it, as did everybody else.
And with an influx of technologies becoming available to us, we’re able to develop our businesses and industries even further.
Although an unlikely partnership, AI-powered tools and influencer marketing could become quite the powerhouse, changing the landscape entirely.
AI and influencer marketing agencies
The relationship between artificial intelligence and influencer marketing has the potential to be quite literally, ground-breaking.
If used correctly, AI can be used to streamline the jobs of marketers and agencies, allowing them to focus on the human elements within influencer marketing.
Artificial intelligence can home in on problem-solving, data analysis and research, leaving the influencer marketing strategies to us, the experts.
AI-powered platforms can help agencies and brands identify fake followers, inauthentic engagement and unreliable social media influencers.
As well as this, AI is able to process and detect relevant and valuable content, and with the help of machine learning (MI) and natural language processing (NLP), can revolutionise the way brands and agencies conduct the way in which they work.
With the ability to generate likes, industries, demographics and interests of the influencer’s following, AI is not only beneficial for brands seeking to create collaborative campaigns, but also for influencers who are looking to understand their audience that little bit more.
By developing a better understanding of their audience and social media followers, influencers are able to ensure the content they put out is relevant and useful. This in turn, helps brands decide who they should work with.
Measuring success with AI
Not only can AI, MI and NLP help with the start of an influencer marketing campaign, but they also have the ability to collect data, analyse results and measure the levels of success.
Monitoring the results and performance of an influencer marketing campaign can be quite the task, and by using AI-powered tools, we are able to measure its success and more importantly, the return on investment (ROI).
Analysing a creator’s content and metrics, artificial intelligence is also able to examine the likes, comments, engagements rates and even conversion rates of a post, in whatever format.
AI has the power to predict ROI through performance benchmarking and forecasts, providing both influencers and brands with an estimated result based on their desired objectives.
A vision for the future
As we continue to see a rise in the use of artificial intelligence within the influencer marketing industry, we can also expect to see an influx in the number of virtual influencers filling our social media feeds.
Yes, you read that right – virtual influencers are becoming a force to be reckoned with, competing against the likes of real-life influencers.
Despite the fact that they don’t really exist, these influencers have most definitely made their mark on the industry, some of which have even worked with global brands such as Nike and Fenty Beauty.
This new wave of CGI influencer is fictional and generated by computers, however they have very realistic characteristics as well as the personalities of humans, and what’s more, brands are lining up to work with them.
It isn’t just virtual influencers that are becoming much more prominent as we enter a new decade of influencer marketing, though. Virtual assistants are now a part of the influencer marketing industry, too.
Whilst we may not typically associate Amazon’s Alexa or it's Google competitor with influencer marketing, they are in fact, influencers in a whole new form.
Now, consumers use their virtual assistants to ask for advice, or for product recommendations and for those that have one at home, they become a live-in influencer.
Supporting brands and businesses within the retail industry in particular, just how much more will we see of virtual assistants as influencers? Only time will tell, and we can’t wait to find out.
Whilst it may seem like AI can take over the roles of us as humans, it simply cannot replace the work we do, but rather, enhance it.
If influencer marketing agencies utilise the tools available to us in the form of artificial intelligence, it allows us to streamline our processes, work closely with other people and focus on what we do best - building long-lasting relationships and partnerships whilst creating innovative and impactful campaigns.