Brands and The Future of Influencer Marketing

While spring may have sprung across the globe, the world and its economy are still facing a state of uncertainty following the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus). It comes as no surprise that the pandemic is raising some serious questions for brands and marketers. 

 

According to a recent Econsultancy survey, 55% of UK marketers (57% in North America) are delaying product and service launches, with the majority of respondents claiming marketing budget commitments are under review. 

 

Influencer campaigns have also inevitably been pulled due to current circumstances. Whether concerning an influencer campaign hinged on a cancelled event such as Coachella, or as a result of brands erring on the side of caution due to consumer sensitivity and a decrease intolerance of being sold to, there is already impact evident on current work.

 

After all, at present, influencers are reportedly struggling from a monetisation standpoint, with many endorsements being cancelled or delayed – which is problematic considering in essence, most influencers operate as freelancers.  

 

According to a report by global e-consultancy agency Xeim, when it comes to influencer marketing, though the current climate may be trickier to navigate, it would be unwise to fully blanket ban activations. Instead, the time should be utilised for reflecting on strategy and purpose. In fact, brands that can productively reflect current shifts in consumer priorities through influencer partnerships and more comprehensive purpose-led marketing will be able to connect and communicate with their customers in a significant and resonant way. Brands need to refrain from being opportunistic or acting in poor taste, but they also have a responsibility to support the broader economy by keeping the industry moving forward. 

 

How can one influence positively amid a global pandemic?  

 

It seems to be increasingly hard to influence positively amid this trying time. However, some influencers have been successful at it, creating content that that gives advice on things to do at home during isolation or remote working. For example, a few weeks ago, Italy-based influencer Chiara Ferragni raised more than 4.5million dollars to support the funding of a new hospital in Milan. 

 

Others instead, like American fashion influencer Arielle Charnas (who fled New York for the Hamptons just a few days after being diagnosed with COVID) have been receiving backlash for their questionable use of social media.

 

A report by global e-consultancy agency Xeim, confirms that, therefore, if brands can pursue purpose over profit and engage in meaningful influencer partnerships with sensitive and sensible individuals that provide a service, it could strengthen the relationship between brands and influencers, as smart brands will use this opportunity to future-proof their internal strategies and build better long-term partnerships that will extend effectiveness far beyond what the world is currently experiencing. 

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