There is a slight misconception I continue to see with some African brands on the use of local influencers. Influencers seemingly are associated with luxury, exclusive or premium brands. True, these exclusive brands are trying to make their products or services more relatable to a certain audience whilst being aspirational to others. What I tend to find boring about this is that the engagement level of an average consumer is merely that of admiration and “I wish”. Then life carries on.
It is here that I think everyday brands in convenience, food, beverages, household items and the like do not always see the opportunity. A lot of spend is made on above-the-line advertising for consumer goods which is fair. They need to inform a mass audience of their service offering and pricing point to get feet through the door. And it works for the most part.
Since moving back home to Zimbabwe, I have been observing brands and their interactions with consumers. I believe there is great opportunity for consumers brands to engage with their audiences more successfully. In defining influencers, I am drawn to a LinkedIn article I recently read that spoke of the importance of micro-influencers – not necessarily those with a gazillion followers. Everday influencers are “everyday users of a product” and “modern-day shoppers are placing their trust more and more in these smaller voices, ‘real’ users, or brand ambassadors, by seeking out insights from keen advocates of the brand” says Sharyn Smith.
On a global level, there is an increasing shift away from “celebrity influencers” to these everday influencers because they are connected to a brand’s offering and are trusted advisors for their followers. There definitely is a place for celebrity ambassadors, but there is growing room for everyday influencers especially those who:
- Give tips on how to successfully use a product e.g. a recipe incorporating a brand’s product
- Answer questions on the benefits of a product in comparison to others
- Provide objective and unbiased reviews
- Integrate a product/service into an everyday environment
- Add real value to a brand
- Are relatable to their audience – their followers see themselves in the influencer whether it be visually, in their values, thought process and purchasing habits
I would be very interested to see brands such as Bon Marche, OK Mart, PUMA Fuels, Dairibord and the like really make use of this. TM Pick n’ Pay has been forward thinking in creating a ‘Battle of The Chefs‘ show which incorporates their products into a human interest show. This helps create a captivate audience whilst creating brand awareness. Everyday influencers help make such a connection on a more personal and real level. Herein lies an even greater opportunity given the tough economic climate in which we find ourselves.