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edition 6 (241)
June 2019
Retail & leisure

How to win friends by influencing people

The viral influencer outbreak marketers actually want to catch
How to win friends by influencing people
“Generation Z is amenable to a more entertaining marketing approach and that answers their questions. Influencers fit this need perfectly – they are authentic, while providing useful advice,” says Patrycja Górecka-Butora

As new media and digital tech becomes ever more central to our lives, greater possibilities are also opening up for marketing to enhance brand and product recognition. one increasingly popular technique is influencer marketing, which taps into the reach of youtubers, bloggers and vloggers. among the sectors most keen on channelling the power of influencers are retail and e-commerce

Everyone seems to afflicted with a general weariness these days with the traditional advertising we are bombarded with wherever we go, in our everyday lives and on the internet. This has prompted brands to look into the growing advertising potential of what are known as influencers, who can be defined as influential social media personalities that often promote brands and products to their many followers. “Polish internet users are very good at blocking ads. So the effectiveness of traditional forms of advertising has become very limited,” points out Urszula Frąckiewicz-El Ghaouati, a senior account executive at the Public Dialog agency. For this reason, marketers need to look for a different way of reaching customers to increase sales and brand recognition – or interest in, for example, their real estate. One of these techniques is influencer marketing, which exploits the potential and reach of such influencers. Katarzyna Gorbaczow, a senior account manager at the Hash.fm agency, which specialises in this field, explains that the influencer marketing phenomenon has closely follows the growth of social media and the emergence of new platforms, such as video app TikTok.

A few numbers

Patrycja Górecka-Butora, who has co-authored a book on this subject, ‘Influencer Marketing od A do Z’ [‘Influencer Marketing from A to Z’], argues that this is one of the most popular marketing trends to emerge in recent years. “Companies are even now rushing to employ specialists responsible for building relationships with online influencers,” she claims. Katarzyna Gorbaczow of marketing agency Hash.fm, cites ‘The State of Influencer Marketing 2019: Benchmark Report’ by Influencer MarketingHub to prove that the expenditure on influencer marketing is continuing to grow year by year. In this paper it is estimated that it will amount to as much as USD 6.5 bln for this year alone. Patrycja Górecka-Butora refers to another survey carried out by both authors of ‘Influencer Marketing od A do Z’ and WhitePress of 400 marketers, that confirms that interest in this field, and thus the value of the market, is also still on an upward growth path. “More than 46 pct of the respondents declared that they plan to increase their budgets for engaging with influencers this year. Interestingly, 31 pct of them spent more than PLN 5,000 monthly on such activities last year,” she reveals.

Why are brands and companies becoming so deeply convinced by this trend and increasing their financial outlays on influencer campaigns so much? Because influencers can and do have a huge impact on purchasing decisions. “This is not only supported by a substantial amount of marketing research, but there are also many examples of successful campaigns – and the most dramatic of which have seen products virtually disappearing from store shelves overnight after being reviewed by the top bloggers,” insists Urszula Frąckiewicz. “According to AdWeek, as many as 92 pct of consumers trust influencers more than traditional celebrities or advertising,” she adds.

The brand and the influencer

One of the companies that has most eagerly taken influencers to its bosom is Ikea. The success it has had with this approach shows that it is worthwhile not only tapping into the potential of the top online influencers but also confirms the value of employing influencer-specialists. “Our partners are broad-reach internet influencers, such as Martin Stankiewicz and the Darwin film group, as well as influencers specialising in interior design,” relates Bartosz Binczewski, Ikea’s digital marketing manager in Poland. “Influencers present the wider online community with a home furnishing situation they can identify with and how Ikea’s products can play an important role in resolving this. If the need is recognised, you then need home furnishing influencers to help you identify a comprehensive home solution, such as creating a relaxation area for gaming,” he explains. As he points out, it’s important that influencers are able to adjust their own ideas to consumers’ needs. “The transparent and authentic nature of this approach has resulted in such engaging concepts as ‘Guy vs. Ikea’ – a video more than 15 minutes long with strong but natural branding, which has now had more than 3 mln organic views,” adds Bartosz Binczewski.

The influencers themselves are also aware of the many advantages resulting from such co- operation. In addition to the financial benefits they receive, being associated with a well-known and reliable brand always has a positive impact on the influencer’s image, as is stressed by Ania Zając on her Fashionable blog. “This is a challenge for us but gives us ideas for interesting content for our readers,” she says. And what is marketing cooperation like ‘from the inside’? “If I don’t know a given brand, I quite often test the product before covering it on the blog or on Instagram. After that I can recommend it with a clear conscience,” explains Ania Zając, who as an influencer has cooperated with such fashion brands as Promod.

“Influencer marketing involves establishing a barter or paid relationship with a social media influencer. This can be for increasing product or service sales, enhancing brand visibility, image creation or education,” says Urszula Frąckiewicz-El Ghaouati, a senior account executive at Public Dialog

A tool for shopping centres

Malls and retail parks are also on the lookout for new, cutting edge marketing tools to encourage potential customers to visit their centres. So what is the best way to attract crowds to the opening of a new shopping centre or a special event? Attractive promotions and discounts cannot do the job on their own. You can, and often even need to, invite an engaging and well-known personality. Celebrities, actors, presenters are all still welcome. However, it is influencers that have recently being enjoying the greatest interest in this regard, especially among generation Z. Marketers working for malls know this very well, which is why they are increasingly aiming to exploit their potential.

“For the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Klif shopping centre in Warsaw, we have brought in popular Polish make-up artist Magdalena Pieczonka, as well as one of the country’s most well-known stylists, Grzegorz Bloch,” reveals Sylwia Wiszowata-Łazarz, associate director and head of asset marketing services for Poland at Cushman & Wakefield, which manages Klif. “Influencer marketing is crucial for us right now,” explains Adrian Majsterek, a representative of A&A, the owner of the Tkalnia shopping and entertainment centre on the outskirts of Łódź. “Cooperating with popular social media influencers enables you to reach a specific group of consumers. In our preparations for the opening of the Tkalnia, it was obvious that we needed to turn to popular internet channels to promote it among younger people,” he says. “That’s why we have invited one of the most popular youtubers in Poland to open the building, which is to take place in June,” he adds.

Influencers can often act as the star turn of the opening of a shopping centre or of other events, in the process attractive a large number of their regular viewers. “Shopping centres also carry out other types of campaigns with the engagement of fashion bloggers,” comments Katarzyna Gorbaczow. “Plac Unii in Warsaw has been using this form of promotion. The shopping centre invites influencers to shop and dress ‘from head to toe’ in its stores. They then publish positive content about the products on the internet,” she explains. And this is why influencers are so effective: they catch the attention and imagination of their fans, who, following the advice of their online idol, then become devotees of a given brand sooner or later.

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