Humanising Connections with Consumers: Influencers as Brand Storytellers in the Digital Age

By Gurmeet Gill – Brand Solutions Director at Audience2Media

You’ve seen and heard it all before with your social feeds inundated with content and if you get bored, you simply refresh the page. INFLUENCERS are here, there, and everywhere like they’re part of one of Oprah Winfrey’s famous Giveaways! Let’s embrace them, but with caution.

That said and done, I would like to introduce you to the bright side of the world of Influencers as we at Audience2Media believe in only one thing and that is the power of authentic brand storytelling that is told by Influencers which resonate with a Brand’s target audience.

Influencers or better known as Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) are essentially brand advocates that project the awesome power of Word of Mouth (WOM) just like how your best mate recommends a new restaurant to try and you’d be the first one to believe in it as it is a real-life testimonial that is backed by trust which translates to advocacy.

Storytelling has long been part of advertising. Decades ago until recently, offline broadcast platforms such as Television and Radio played a pivotal role in communicating these brand messages to the masses, captivating us with splashy big budget productions. Who here does not remember at least one Petronas TVC in their lifetime!

Times have changed as GWI has tracked APAC’s average consumer consumption of over 3 hours a day on social media in 2022. We are wired to our devices and this is proven by the fact that Brand Discovery is essentially done these days on social.

According to GWI’s Q3 2022 Core Research amongst 25,941 Gen Z internet users aged 16-25 across 14 APAC markets, more than 36% of them discover brands through Influencers and Vlogs (essentially video branded content).

Now we all know how powerful Influencers are as a tool to “influence” your brand audience and consumers in general but is it being done in the right way? The new 2023 trend of “de-influencing” is rapidly escalating around the world which relates to a movement by KOLs to counter-attack brands that “over-sell” or preach the wrong brand message, to the wrong audience.

While the ASEAN region has been shielded by this movement so far, it is only a matter of time for KOLs on TikTok and Instagram to kickstart this revolution.

What is the solution then? Brands and Marketers should always remember that working with Influencers is to not force them to hard-sell for the sake of the highest reach or simply getting content out there, with the mindset to measure immediate sales, but for generating the highest engagement rate to build brand affinity.

To deliver this strategy it is vital to allow culturally relevant content to be created ensuring the highest standards of authenticity that evokes emotion and a direct connection with the brand or product with only the most relevant people.

Gurmeet Gill – Brand Solutions Director at Audience2Media

Collaborating with creators, we often lead the creative direction to showcase not just the USPs but the outcomes that benefits the Influencers followers. This seamlessly is applied as real time data has been segmented into understanding consumer behaviours to granular detail acting as the underlying piece of the puzzle.

Through data learnings and contextual algorithms starting with the best times to deliver the content and to which audience segment. These elements must be in place to deliver successful campaigns to brands.

We have all heard the saying, “one size does not fit all” so it is important to know how to deliver results through data and creative influencer marketing strategies. This ultimately translates to brand consideration and conversion as part of the overall marketing funnel to drive incremental sales and brand awareness.

The masses like to see than read. Humans are attention seekers and brands have no more than two seconds to capture their attention. Video content generates the highest engagement rate as we have seen through the many Influencers we have worked with over the years, especially on TikTok and Instagram.

Video content is the best format to “visualise” brand storytelling that basically brings the brand to life in front of the audience to spectacle at. This goes beyond standard aesthetic shots of the product next to a gorgeous looking Influencer but to go much deeper by incorporating stimuli that awakens the senses.

We have seen this in F&B related content that harnesses the power of ASMR to tantalise the tastebuds of consumers but the challenge beckons in how to replicate that effect in other brand categories and industries.

The best thing we as Influencer Marketing Strategists can do is to guide brand marketers to first analyse and determine who your target audience is, what their behavioural traits are and what resonates with them. These data points are pivotal in the development of a concrete content plan that is backed by a bulletproof brand strategy that transcends your standard demographics data points.

Once you have built the audience profile and specific segments, it is then important to find the right Influencers whose followers fit the target audience and for those Influencers to also BELIEVE IN YOUR BRAND as only then they are able to AUTHENTICALLY SELL to their followers.

Working with over 134 million Influencers worldwide and over 800,000 in Malaysia, we understand that there is no blue or red pill to make your Influencer campaign work flawlessly. The best way is for a data-led approach that harnesses the power of behavioural audience profiling and targeting that builds the foundation towards ideating the magical creative brand storytelling that can authentically communicate your brand to your desired audience!

Gurmeet Gill is a Brand Solutions Director at Audience2Media, a global digital agency that believes in harnessing the power of behavioural audience data to connect brands with relevant audiences.

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The APPIES is an annual event that presents a rare opportunity for creative, media, digital and marketing agencies or brands to present their best campaigns to the industry.

This is the only event where Live Presentations meets Live Judging.

Similar to TED Talks, The APPIES is the chance for great presenters with outstanding work to show it off to some of the industry’s most important industry leaders.

This year’s winners will receive Gold, Silver or Bronze trophies for 21 categories, and 6 special Best of Best categories (red trophies) that require no submissions!

Campaign entries must have run between June 2023 to May 2024

Submissions Deadline
30th June 2024

APPIES Festival – Judging & Presentations
11th – 12th July 2024 (Malaysia)


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