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Influencer Marketing a Natural Move for the Drinks Industry.
Influencer marketing has grown from strength to strength over the past decade, but the unique nature and circumstances of the drinks industry makes for perhaps the most effective of brand partnerships.
Marketing has changed a lot over the past 20 years. The shift from traditional forms of print and broadcast media towards online advertising in it’ increasingly innovative forms has had a drastic effect on every industry but perhaps none more so that the alcohol industry. While everyone else has only been running the gauntlet of adapting to new technologies, the drinks industry has simultaneously had to adapt to increasingly strict regulations over the presentation of alcohol related products. From restrictions on where they can advertise to how they present the product. In the UK alone there is a strict code of advertising rules that are easy to fall foul of. For example, you are allowed to portray drinking as being sociable but not allowed to portray it as being a key component of a social event. There’s a literal difference between those things but they can be subjectively applied to a video advertisement if you’re not careful.
This style of strict, yet open to interpretation, regulation carries over in various countries into modern paid advertising practises. Google and Facebook have similar regulations in place to prevent them from falling foul of government regulation.
All this has made influencer marketing an increasingly popular and appealing way of marketing drinks products to target customers. It avoids much of the trouble that can come from traditional online marketing. In theory all you have to do is find the correct influencers, who can speak to your target market, make sure they understand brand guidelines and understand what they can and cannot say to their followers and you’re ready to go. Indeed, the drinks industry has perhaps been the most innovative and forward thinking in the space.
There has been however a good stroke of fortune on their side in this regard. Social media has become a way for people to share their experiences as a form of social capital. This demonstrates a shift from traditional status symbols of expensive objects. The move towards experiences, as summed up perfectly by those “live your life” style quotes on Instagram, opened the door for a flood of content from the most fleeting of transient experiences, eating and drinking.
You’ve seen the posts, you’ve seen the people in restaurants taking photos of their food before eating it, you know exactly how this works. Food and drink combined with unique and interesting, placement or presentation is popular on social media. Hashtags related to food and drink constantly ranking in the top used hashtags on both the TikTok and Instagram platforms.
Influencers also consistently get higher levels of engagement over in-house marketing campaigns; this is because they have access to a voluntary audience who are eager to engage. Whether they are as cost effective as in-house campaigns is entirely down to your KPIs, if you provide them with good products/materials and strategies to promote your brand and if you have selected the correct influencers to promote your brand.
The drinks industry has taken this a step further than most. Instead of hoping to find fitting influencers based upon an estimate of who their audience is, instead they have elected to create influencers inhouse. A clever idea. Brand ambassadors and promoters are no new feature of the industry, for years now standard practise has been to send ambassadors around pubs and clubs to promote specific drink brands, make sure the bar has all it’s branded coasters out, the club staff are wearing branded t-shirts, that kind of thing.
The natural progression here has been to turn these ambassadors into micro-influencers. It’s a brilliant solution,
- it removes the expensive gamble of trusting an influencer will stay brand loyal & their audience will be receptive to the brand,
- it will be more engaging that in-house campaigns because the audience is elective and the ambassador provides social proof to an otherwise faceless brand as any influencer would,
- it can be controlled, and brand approved like an in-house campaign as the ambassadors work directly for the company.
Traditional influencers remain an important part of any global or growing brands marketing strategy. They have unique benefits over the ambassadors mentioned above. For example, they can give you access to a completely new demographic you have yet to full tap into. However good influencer marketing strategies should have well defined primary and secondary goals. The messaging and content should be thought out and be on brand. And these efforts should be supported by in-house and traditional marketing campaigns where possible to increase effectiveness. For more information or to discuss influencer marketing strategies or other online marketing contact the Zen Agency now.
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