From missionary to style inspirer: six types of influencer identified
Influencers are the new internet superstars. In order to work successfully with them, companies have to know how the heroes of Generations Y and Z tick, what influencers are a match for them and the form a suitable cooperation might take. Communications agency, Oliver Schrott Kommunikation (OSK), and market research institute, concept m, have also examined and answered these questions from a psychological standpoint. OSK is now compiling these fascinating insights and extremely useful recommendations into an Influencer Guide augmented by contributions from concept m.
The content bandwidth covered by influencers is enormous, with each digital opinion former possessing their own individual style and occupying their own niche. Each one is an expert in a specific topic. Be it a comedy show, current affairs magazine or specialist publication – influencers are often competitors to classic media formats. They can be classified into six types that companies should know:
All influencer types serve – either consciously or unconsciously – the new cravings of Generations Y and Z. Digitalization has radically changed the (media) consumption of this target group. Everything is constantly available – just a touch away. There is no longer room for boredom, no pause for breath, no routines and rhythms. In these unpredictable times, influencers take on an anchor function and offer orientation and foothold. They come over as authentic and are always accessible. This “closeness” means they become acquaintances, almost friends. Those who follow them feel like they are part of their lives. The experiences enjoyed by influencers provide their followers with brief escapes from the everyday.
How can brands now cooperate with influencers? First, companies have to understand what these new multipliers can bring to the table and what not. Influencers perform a bridging function between consumers and companies. They can incorporate products, brands or services directly or indirectly into their channels or stories in a credible way. This provides companies with authentic communication platforms. In that respect, there are three main functions that influencers can perform: address new and highly specific target groups, inject emotionality into the brand and present product benefits in a compelling way. To cite one example – if the focus is on a brand’s iconic status, extravagant style inspirers would be the right choice for a cooperation, as these types inspire yearning in their followers and motivate them to dream big.
However, brand cooperations always have to be authentic. Influencers are not an extension of the corporate-communications megaphone and certainly not an alternative to billboard-style advertising. The success of a cooperation is not dependent upon the level of fee paid. What matters is that the influencer and their subject matter, look and target group are a fit with your brand. What that means in turn for influencers is that those who see themselves as content creators will become more important, as they function far more as creative supporters of their brand partner than purely as distributors of a message.
Michael Kemme, Head of Consultancy at OSK: “Digital influencers feature regularly on the smartphones and tablets of younger target groups. They set new trends and often have considerable reach, which is why cooperations offer a great deal of potential for companies – when the strategy is right and the choice is a good fit.”
Dirk Ziems, Managing Partner concept m: “The study clearly shows that influencers are not a passing fad. They occupy a psychological gap in the digital revolution and their close bond with the public means they can be valuable multipliers for companies.”
OSK and concept m have compiled the psychology of influencers into two publications. Over 100 pages, OSK’s attractively designed Influencer Guide is dedicated to the insights of the study as they apply to communication and includes comprehensive psychological evaluation, specific sample cases and in-depth interviews with experts (available as an e-book on www.osk.de/blog/influencer). The study by concept m entitled “Influencers – The New Force in Marketing” is available as a booklet in both print and digital format. Over 60 pages, it examines in detail the aspects of brand psychology and market research associated with the influencer boom.
About the study:
40 media users and 15 influencers were surveyed on the topic in in-depth psychological interviews. Participants in the survey were drawn from a cross section of age groups. The method delivers intense and scientifically founded analyses based on a small but meaningful sample size. In-depth psychological interviews are conducted in such numbers as to ensure full representation in the study of all effective motives and influencing factors. OSK conducted the study jointly with concept m (Cologne/Berlin).