Marketers have always preferred influence to drive brand affinity over other forms of paid media. Research findings point to the fact that influencer associations have a significant impact on a brand’s reputation as well as its sales. This brings us to a rise in innovative influencer-led marketing campaigns be it for launching a new product, building brand awareness and brand advocacy in varied sectors like FMCG, banking, food & beverages, beauty and technology.
While celebrities have been the chosen ones to exert their influence on potential consumers of a brand, the digital age has seen the growth of a new type of influencer – he or she could be an expert in a particular domain, or simply have a large number of followers on their social networks, especially Twitter and YouTube.
Read also: Influencer Marketing – A Double Edged Sword
But brands have the added responsibility of choosing the right fit too, when it comes to influencer marketing in addition to understanding the nature of influence and measuring the social media reach of an influencer.
Here, we bring you the best of 2014 campaigns that were designed to leverage the power and reach of influencers:
1. Philips Air Fryer with Vah chef Sanjay Thumma
When Philips had introduced its innovative kitchen appliance named Air Fryer in 2012, little did the consumer know about its health benefits or its usage. The product allowed one to cook chicken wings, French fries, aloo tikkis and other deep fried foods with 80% less oil, but was faced with a low awareness level among cooking enthusiasts. Also, content on the internet especially YouTube focussed only on international recipes that can be cooked with the Airfryer. The lack of Indian recipes with the Airfryer hindered its growth in India.
The brand with its digital agency Ogilvy One cooked up an influencer led awareness campaign to tackle relevant content, in tandem with paid media. Instead of launching and creating its own YouTube cookery channel from scratch, Philips leveraged and roped in India’s biggest YouTube influencer (in the cookery domain) named Sanjay Thumma. Thumma runs a cookery channel on YouTube titled VahChef with more than 330K subscribers.
Through a six-month long branded show titled “Philips Superchef” on VahChef, Sanjay cooks a variety of Indian dishes on the Airfryer, thus creating a storehouse of useful information for the product. Read case study.
2. Lenovo YoGa2bFree for Yoga tablet
For the Yoga 2 tablet, Lenovo launched a fun interactive campaign teaming up with four well-known Twitter influencers – actor Ashwin Mushran, gadget guru Ankit Vengurlekar, film critic Mihir Fadnavis and food blogger Kalyan Karmakar. But it wasn’t the regular influencer marketing campaign where the four would share features of the tablet to their followers. The four were actually trapped inside a box! The idea was to get consumers thinking – do gadgets make us free or do they in reality box us up?
Designed by Lenovo’s digital agency Experience Commerce, the four influencers could be seen trapped inside boxes in interactive videos. They could only be set free with the help of gamified clues within the website. In the process of hunting for the clues, a participant learns about the new yoga series tablets that tilts, holds on, stands or hangs, as per one’s wish.
While Ashwin is trapped inside his office, Ankit is trapped inside a train, Kalyan is trapped in his kitchen and Mihir is trapped in his bed. Each of the four interactive videos has the entrapped person explaining his case and what also giving clues later. Participants with all right answers stood to win the Yoga tablet. More on the campaign here.
3. Opera Coast kinetic sand surprise for iOS users
The Opera Coast is one browser that is designed to change the way an iPhone user has been browsing. With no conventional address bar, forward and backward buttons or other features that have defined browsers for more than 20 years now, the Opera Coast enhanced your browsing experience leaving one with more idle time. Taking this as a cue, Opera India teamed up with its digital agency 20:20MSL to launch the browser through a fun, influencer-driven marketing campaign called #OperaCoastSurprise.
Creative folks are well known to have cracked a big idea while wasting time, so Opera Coast would be a great app for them to help them waste time well. The team sent a surprise package to 50 creative professionals in the country with a personal note to each of them. The people included artists, media & ad folks, an illusionist, musicians, entrepreneurs and other inspired individuals who used the iOS. The surprise package contained ‘kinetic sand’ along with a note encouraging them to waste their time.
While the excited receivers played around with their kinetic sand, they also shared about the iOS browser and how they liked the surprise with their social connections. More on the campaign here.
4. Cadbury Glow launch via online influencers
To capitalize on the festive season, Mondelez International chose to make its debut in India for its premium chocolate gifting brand, Cadbury Glow. The luxurious pralines that come with a chocolatey filling are packed in what looks like a box of jewels and come at a premium pricing of 16 pieces for Rs 400, 24 pieces for Rs 600 and a limited edition box of 54 pieces at Rs 2000.
For a chocolate poised to take on the super premium chocolates in the country, the brand launched a special influencer-driven marketing campaign that highlighted the special feature of the chocolate – the Cadbury Glow can be personalized with special notes, songs, a photo album or a personalised video made from special moments of the sender and the receiver.
Bollywood, fashion and lifestyle blogger, Miss Malini was roped in, along with some Twitter influencers who enjoy a decent following to trigger conversations around the chocolate. A very close friend of Miss Malini made a personalized video for her and uploaded it on the Cadbury Glow website and tweeted to her, which she reshared with her followers. Read case study.
— MissMalini (@MissMalini) October 8, 2014
5. Colgate Charcoal toothbrush #WhatTheBlack
For the launch of its new SlimSoft Charcoal toothbrush with black bristles, Colgate India ran an innovative campaign driven by online influencers and bloggers. Through a 3-day campaign, key opinion leaders were sent a black item every day. On day one, it was a black paper mug and a chocolate within a ‘black egg’. The only indication of the source was the product website. On day two, they received a 12-page ‘WhatTheBlack Times’ in which the first and last page featured fictional stories, while the rest promoted the website. On day three, they finally received the charcoal toothbrush, after striving hard to decipher the clues received earlier.
Parallely, a blogging contest of the same name ‘#WhatTheBlack’ was conducted where bloggers had to write down their wishlist of 5 black things. The brand or the product wasn’t revealed.
Some concluded that it could be for the launch a dark chocolate, while some thought it was a new Blackberry launch, but nonetheless, they tweeted about the black items everyday along with pictures and the campaign hashtag. The pictures, tweets and blogs all contributed towards an interesting social media debut for the charcoal toothbrush. More on the campaign here.
— Abhyudaya (@CaptainnVyom) July 31, 2014
Beginning with identifying the right online influencers for a product to executing a memorable association for the community, these campaigns have got their influencer marketing right.
But, influencer marketing is a double-edged sword; it can go wrong too – For HP’s ‘Bend the Rules’ campaign this year, it roped in influencers that are shining examples of having bent the rules to chase their dream. However, one of the influencers happened to have been part of Lenovo’s Flexperience campaign too, that was executed a few months earlier. Read: HP Ropes In The Same Influencer As That Of Lenovo, Just A Coincidence Or Is There More?
This did trigger some chaos in consumers but hopefully it serves as a lesson to future influencer marketing campaigns in India.