There are many product-focused brands who have engaged in and been successful using influencer marketing. For a product-focused company, the challenge is not to establish the brand or increase awareness, but rather to remind consumers of the benefits of the product and why they choose it. This is a pull approach that is done to maintain the brands identity as producers of a dominant, popular product that is continually the first choice for consumers. Coca-Cola is a great example of a less customer-focused product that engages in influencer marketing and has found great success. Coca Cola uses influencer marketing to maintain their cohesive brand image and reach consumers through every channel possible. By utilizing high profile influencers such as Ryan Seacrest (in the lead up to the World Cup in Brazil) to invite consumers to participate in campaigns, Coca Cola promotes their message of inclusion all the while still interacting with consumers. This increases brand loyalty, because individuals feel a shared bond with the brand; these people have been a part of Coca Cola’s message. The strengthening of the connection between consumers and the product will always lead to increased sales as the product remains in consumers thoughts and these individuals themselves become “brand ambassadors”.
In order for companies to be successful while engaging in influencer marketing, they must ensure that their campaign is not simply a sales pitch, but a new way for consumers to interact with the brand that they love. It must be an aligned message through all the different influencers to maintain the consistent thoughts and feelings associated with the brand. This will also avoid customer confusion with regards to the identity of the brand. An example of this would be if a mens sportswear company ran their campaign through female fashion influencers. While they might attract some females buying clothing for their boyfriends, the product may be seen to be more feminine by males. All brands must carefully and continually reinforce their brand identity.
Product oriented companies should use influencer marketing to increase brand awareness, improve the brand’s image, gain popularity among certain customer segments, grow sales figures, promote certain discounts, and maintain a positive relationship with customers. Because these brands are product-oriented, the image of their product with an effective influencer will achieve all of the benefits of influencer marketing in a single campaign. These brands will likely reach more consumers than magazines, newspapers, and commercials combined!