For a while there, teaming up with a celebrity influencer was the most sought-after form of ambassador advertising. Your customers wanted to be them, to wear what they wear, to drink what they drink and to replicate their lifestyle as closely as their non-celebrity budgets would allow. These Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) were aspirational with an eager audience ready to listen to their expert opinions on which brands were in and which were out.
But, recently, these KOLs aren’t quite packing the same punch as they used to. It seems that Key Opinion Consumer (KOCs) are fast becoming an important voice in influencer marketing now, and therefore worth considering when creating your influencer marketing strategy.
KOCs – Small but mighty
As a result of the over-use of celebrity influencers, combined with murky, untagged advertising deals and increasingly unrelatable lifestyle images, the consumer has become sceptical about the authenticity of these celebrity endorsements. They know they are getting paid to push a brand, so do they really swear by them? Have they even used the product they so eagerly advocate? It’s hard to tell, and so the message becomes diluted and the customer is made to work too hard to figure out what is genuine.
Attention is now being turned towards the KOC. These influencers are normal customers who have a very modest following, but at the same time access to hugely popular platforms. The Little Red Book, for example, is a prominent Chinese app focused on user reviews, mostly of beauty and cosmetic products. Their users’ accounts may not have a big following, but their reviews can be read millions of times, often influencing the purchasing decisions of other users.
Brands are catching on to this new phenomenon and gifting products to the most respected KOCs in order for them to be able to review them on these busy forums. The beauty of their audience is that they are in the research phase, so have already made the decision to buy. Consequently, you can skip the part where you work to convince them they need the product, focusing instead on making sure your brand is the one they choose.
By using both KOLs and KOCs in your marketing strategy, you are covering all your bases in terms of influence. Celebrities still bring a unique star-quality to your product that can motivate a purchase, however for authenticity and trustworthiness, the power lies very firmly in the hands of the consumer – the Key Opinion Consumer!
We’d love to hear from you! Email us at [email protected] to find out how to optimise your marketing strategy in a landscape where the customer is your most powerful influencer.