Is Influencer Marketing a new strategy for brands?

Brand engagement through influencer marketing is the single most important and fastest evolving area of marketing today. As a senior marketing professional with over 10 years’ experience in FMCG in Europe and America, it is hard to ignore the importance of generating a fluent conversation between brands and their consumers.

Is “Influencer marketing” a new concept or simply the modern day “word of mouth”? a communication model used for centuries which eventually evolved into a multibillion dollar industry – advertising.

Brands have a long history of consumer engagement and influence. Traditional consumer research and data tools have long been used to make informed decisions about an ad, a campaign, push an image, a product or service and keep it in line with the consumer’s wants - the ultimate goal? to influence the consumer to buy. 

Today social channels have changed the usual benchmarks brands and advertisers once used to gauge their success. The social media boom has seen huge growth in engagement between consumers and the emergence of a new type of influencer. One with a huge social media following, and anyone who fits the criteria of a micro/ macro influencer may peak the interests of a brand wishing to engage with the right audience for their brand. Today brands can no longer dictate the image to the consumer in the same way they once did and we are witnessing far more collaborations in the retail world than ever before, placing the relationship between brand and consumer on a far more level footing.

As far back as I can remember brands routinely promoted their products through popular personalities using regular communication channels such as radio, television and newspaper. These celebrities or popular characters had the ability to influence consumers and the wider the social demographic that character / personality appealed to, the stronger their influence was.