The positive impact that a well-known face or name can bring to the successful marketing of a product has been known since the dawn of advertising and marketing. Tying a brand name to a person who represents positive attributes that marketers would like to apply to the brand and product as well, is a time-tested, valid strategy. It can spread the brand awareness to reach groups of people who would have continued to be little awareness of the brand name, if not for the personality it was linked with.
But before we get into how influencers and KOLs (key opinion leaders) can be used in the digital marketing era, we need to draw a distinction between the two terms.
The two terms and the people they represent have a distinct difference that is notable for the differences in the way they are utilised by marketers. Although frequently serving much the same purpose in marketing, this distinct difference means that they matter to marketers for different reasons.
The influencer, by definition, is a long-term denizen of social media platforms who has built up a sizeable amount of followers, enough followers that they can have the power to influence their follower’s buying habits and likes and dislikes. Taken a step further, they can also immensely help a brand’s marketing campaign when engaged by marketers to spread the word about the brand to their followers.
In the digital age, this is a significant amount of power to have, and it can mean tapping into access to millions of willing consumers for the marketer.Read More...
The KOL, on the other hand, is known not so much for their voice in social media, as for being a recognised authority in a particular area, someone who has become well-respected due to the influence they have on their own area of expertise.
This area may be business, science, entertainment or sports. The only thing that is important to the marketer’s goals for the brand is that this person is always seen to be a positive role model that will fit well with the image the brand is trying to achieve.
So the KOL causes the brand to be noticed and reinforces the message of the brand, and the influencer provides the conduit that helps spread the message and reinforces the message as well.
The personal motivation of the influencer and the KOL to do business with the marketer is also different. The influencer generally looks at the work he has put into growing his legions of followers and wants to monetise that work. They correctly look at their followers as having a marketable value in and of itself.
A marketer approaches an influencer as much for the number of followers he can deliver as for the demographics of the followers. The marketer is willing to pay for access to those followers, so it’s generally a business deal of putting the numbers together that represent the accepted value of those followers to the marketer and having the influencer agree to that value.
But influencers can have other forms of compensation as well. If an influencer is supporting a particular cause that's led to a surge in their followers, gaining the support of the brand to the cause can work positively for both parties.Read More...
The motivation of the KOL to offer support for a particular brand can also be strictly monetary, or it might be a lifestyle brand that they regularly use in their own life, but it’s just as often tied to their primary career and area of expertise.
The KOL could be using the brand for their own cross-purposes, such as sponsorship for various projects they are pursuing, charitable donations to a cause they support, or tie-ins to another brand that together, furthers the aims of the KOL.
Or, they may just like the watch, car or fragrance they’re representing.
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