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Kaizo Live – Post-pandemic influencer marketing

Kaizo Live – Post-pandemic influencer marketing

STEPH MACLEOD [00:00:25] Hello and welcome to the 9th edition of Kaizo Live. Over the past nine weeks, we’ve covered a variety of topics from the impact of coverage of global media and the workplace through to have it’s changed consumer behaviour and, of course, the undeniable economic ramifications. This week, we’re going to delve into the vault of influence on marketing and have a look at what it’s COVID impacted future might look like. I’m delighted to be joined by one of the UK’s most prolific keynote speaker and trainers in social media and content marketing, Andrew M. Davis. With 19 years under his digital belt. He’s worked with many of the UK’s most prominent corporate names, including KPMG, Tescos, O2, Accenture and the Royal Mail. But he started out moderating chat rooms for pop idol, producing shows for BBC Radio One Extra and being part of a team that saw the rise and fall of MySpace.com add to that he’s worked with celebrity influencers like Jay-Z. Beyonce, J-Lo and Wayne Rooney. I now think it’s fair to say he really has seen all so. Andrew, welcome. Thanks so much for joining us.

ANDREW DAVIS [00:01:35] Thanks for having me, Stephanie. Thank you for the introduction.

STEPH MACLEOD [00:01:38] Pleasure. And obviously covered some of your impressive background and their apps. But I just think if you’re really useful and to kick off by hearing about what you’ve been doing over the past couple of months and how, you know, COVID’s changed what you do on a day to day basis and how you’ve really adapted.

ANDREW DAVIS [00:01:57] Yeah, sure. So what happened was so what I’d do now is I train. So I go all over the world training organisations on how to use the Internet to do X, Y or Z. Whatever your business objectives may be. And. I was actually in India. I was doing a training course in India. And that’s when I was over there. That’s when COVID starts a really, really hit. I managed to get back in time. And then I ended up going to Scotland. I went to Lockerby to train some farmers, Lockerby.  And then that was it. That was, I think that was after that. It was kind of COVID, it was all of a sudden I had what looked up from April, May, June just stopped. So I actually had a immediate impact. And once that happened, after a while, I just it’s myself, okay? Looks like I won’t be doing anything for a while. Brought PlayStation. And that was what I thought would happen, got a Disney plus account. And then that was it. And I’ve done that for about two weeks. And then after about three weeks, emails started coming in again. And what I realised then was people were getting that digital transformation that they were used to the face training, which is why predominantly do. But then it was, well, how what does this look like in a digital environment, just like on online. And that’s when you start obviously Zoom became very popular during that time, and that’s when all of a sudden it went from zero to can you do a training here? Can you do a training here and it get very popular get.

STEPH MACLEOD [00:03:36] And in terms of areas, I mean, obviously, we’re gonna talk about and find some marketing today, and Zoom, I mean, we’ve seen a lot of reports recently about the significant that’s there’s significant drop off and brand and influence that collaboration’s driven that’s been in the years. What are you hearing from influence says brands, clients across the world in terms of how do you know that attacking law and discipline is having to adapt and change and impact freely?

ANDREW DAVIS [00:04:08] There’s definitely been a drop off, but I don’t think it’s as much as people would make out to be. Because what happened was certain things decreased, but certain other things increased. So, for example, one of the most popular areas of influence of the influence says is to do with travel. Obviously, that has stopped completely. So that industry were affected very, very badly. But then all of a sudden, you had a lot of people who, let’s say, were in the fitness niche who could show you how to do working out at home or in education, specially when it comes to children. Then you had cooking. Cooking became like very popular, especially how to cook “salado” bread and things like that. All of a sudden, people would like to learn how recipes or whatever it may be. So what actually happened was, yes, budget stopped, a lot of budgets stopped, but that was across all of marketing and PR really. But was not stopped, obviously decreased. But what you saw, what we saw was some was allocated to different parts. So, for example, budgets when then allocated to all of influences. So, yes, influence is generally decline like everybody else. But certain areas actually saw a huge increase. Yeah. And then what you’re seeing now is we’re starting to slowly get back in some brands has stopped completely to influence a budget. But now some of them are slowly getting back into it where, where some other brands didn’t stop at all because it didn’t really affect that their message changed. But actually…

STEPH MACLEOD [00:05:44] What do you think influencers have had such a broad term right influencers? There are so many different types of influencers arent’ though? Do you think it’s been a different impact on these different types of categories of influencers? Do you think like some as we’ve seen growth,  like for example, the nano influencers decline on the big celebrity influence spans…

ANDREW DAVIS [00:06:09] Yes. So what you find if you break, if you had to break influence down into tier, depending, obviously, who you speak to. But I will say there’s 40s, there’s the celebrity tier, which will be the “cristiana’ and those that David Beckham’s who are just famous for being something else, nothing to do with that. Then you’ve got the macro influencers and these are the YouTube bizzle, Instagram who everyone’s kind of heard of. Who will not say so. Everyone in a particular “leisure” herd of. They done okay during this period. Some of them pivot’s it. So they kind of we used to doing this and then they kind of said, well we’ve got an audience anyway, let’s kind of do something else. So for example, Joe Wick’s, he obviously he really benefited from this, but he was really obviously shown more at home exercises where before he was doing all over the place. But then the next tier down is the micro influences and these influences that they in their particular field, in their niche. A lot of people know them, but they’re not quite at the level of macro influencers. They might not have the reach that some of the macro influences have. They done well, a lot of them done well. But the group that done the best is the one that you mentioned Steph, which were the nano influences. And nano influences, could be us yet. One, really. But what you will find in that people were coming up with any form of creative and brands were looking for these people. And you’re going to see moving forward nano influencers was always something that brands want to get involved with. But I think now you’re going to see a lot more nano influencers get some of the budgets that’s available. Oh, that was have to be money.

STEPH MACLEOD [00:07:56] That’s it. I think it’s that move through this community focus. We’ve seen in terms of consumer behaviour driven lockdown and supporting local businesses and what not kind of very dedicated local, you know, parcel advice that I think really helped drive that. I know definitely, expect to see growth of that sector. Definitely. What do you think? What do you think influencers the most worry about? I’m just thinking, you know, there has been a drop and a you know, a definite decline and maybe short term spend with influencers that’s been sacked as. Our areas of interest that have been pretty much decimated. You mentioned travel. And what do you think the biggest concern is on the minds of influencers are at the moment? What should they be thinking about?

ANDREW DAVIS [00:08:47] I think if you really look at influencers, what I say influencers in this case. Influencers who’s made this a full time living. They’re living off of what they… Essentially, they’re just small businesses, individuals, small businesses who rely on contracts to make money. So whether they’re seen as an influence or whether they are a marketing company or a small business, you’re obviously gonna be worried because of this. We’re going to go into a recession. Obviously, we’re here ready, but trying to figure out whether the next contract coming from. And that’s always been the case. And obviously right now we’re going to see that even more. And I think that’s been one of the biggest worries because they don’t want to go back to working for someone else. Once they’ve kind of worked for themselves, especially if they’ve been doing it for a while. They don’t want to be working for someone else, especially if it’s a they’ve put their face out there, you know, internet’s like there’s some really horrible people out there that will judge them if they were working for someone else now. So I think you’re going to see a lot of influences worry about that. It’s can we continue our lifestyle? That is something that they’re gonna be worried about. However, that’s something that any small business or any business really is gonna be worrying about. So I think it’s got a lot of it’s going to be the same issues. Also worrying that brands will be spending in this particular space and what brands would like to do in this particular space. Well, brands then say, okay, well, let’s focus on advertising rather than influencer marketing. Or you might get a lot more people because they’re out of work now. They might try to become influencers. And in barand they would say, well, let’s give to some of the smaller ones. Or we can then say, let’s not pay them. Let’s do something else with them. Let’s offer them this than that, which then obviously knocks down the market. So I think these are going to be some of the or speak its influences from research. These are some of the main worries that you’re seeing when it comes to influencers right now.

STEPH MACLEOD [00:11:00] Ever since we’ve been thrown up in the air and we’re not quite sure where it’s going to fall. Right?

ANDREW DAVIS [00:11:04] Excactly. That’s not just influencers that’s everybody as we.

STEPH MACLEOD [00:11:09] And I think everybody’s are at the moment is on ROI and value. And as you said, that doesn’t necessarily need to be measured. And, you know, monetarily. But it is about that value and how you drive that, I think. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I think we’ve all seen I mean, try this period, I think probably more so than I thought. We’ve seen a number of us call and, you know, celebrity influencer’smissteps. And, you know, the thing is that bad behaviour is the remedies that haven’t gone down well. But which brands and influencers you think have responded really well and avoided that and being successful?

ANDREW DAVIS [00:11:53] I think that some of the brands has done really well with the ones that were doing well before they just continued doing what they were doing. So for me, boohoo’s done they’re one of the benchmarks to look at when it comes to how they go about using influences, these influences, the different types of influencers from macro, micro, nano, how they’ve gone about doing that. How they treat that message consistently going on there awareness, I should say consistently going. And how during this pandemic, how they pivoted from. Selling originally when the pandemic hit. Then it was more about awareness and making people feel good about themselves. That was kind of the message where eventually staying front of mind, because when they can go back to completely selling mass. People won’t mind so much. I think they done very well. I think Converse done very well in this space. Is that how they work with especially some of the nano influencers. So recently they created a campaign where if you are a creative. Contact them and they would train, well obviously, depending on how many people came through, they would try and promote your content, especially if you’re working from home. But even some KFC. KFC has done some really interesting influencer’s stroke user generated content when it comes to what they were doing. Because people will make at home making their own KFC. And they were saying, thank you very much, but let’s leave it to the professionals now. They’re the ones that kind of stood out to me. But what I do almost on a daily basis is I always go to, let’s say, Instagram. I always pin #at, #at into the search. And I always look, while doing that. I always look to see, because if we do that. By law, if you’re doing any advertising online, if you’re being sponsored, you be given any money, you have to put #at. So anybody who’s done that use the hashtag means that they’ve been paid. So that’s a way I always research to see what companies have been doing it for a while throughout this. And what happen if they’ve been doing it for more than a month? They’re probably getting some form of return. So that’s the other way that I just look at, see what brands has been doing well. And that’s why I see boohoo always there.

STEPH MACLEOD [00:14:21] “I always” thought it’s got to be about the empathy, hasn’t it? I think it’s been about making sure that whatever you’re doing in terms of overall communication and, you know, your understanding where people are, what they’re going through now, so you get it’s like you say it’s moving completely away from that hard sale. And I’m really creating walking with influencers that are in line and will understand that I am now able to communicate and empathetically.

ANDREW DAVIS [00:14:50] That’s essential marketing really is about is. I’m gonna leverage, I’m a brand. I want to speak to this influencer to leverage their audience. And they know their audience better than I do. So as a brand, your goal is to influence the influencer, not the end user. That’s what the influencers role is to do. And it’s understanding how to influence and communicate. If you’ve done your, I call it due diligence and find a new influencer, you know what influencers can read their market. Can read the audience. Can read everything. Because timing is really key when it comes to social. You can say “executive may finger at” the wrong time and you get two completely different results. So it’s up to a brand to work out what influencers are, you know, the right thing to say at the right time. Know when’s to sell and when not to sell. And that’s one of the key things that makes a good influencers as well.

STEPH MACLEOD [00:15:46] Yeah. So in your experience, do you think that brands who are who might be new to it, I guess, and more comprehensive. And find some insights on marketing programmes to some of them struggle with that lack of control, if you like. Because obviously what we do in influence the marketing. You can, you know, you can get all the power and freedom into the influencer to create content. You can have them appear when you’re paid for content. But I’m just quite interested in your experience of the psychology of the brands and that kind of level of control that they would like.

STEPH MACLEOD [00:16:24] One thing I say to people or brands is forget control. You know, control is something a relic of the past. Control like privacy is not realistically is not there anymore. But what I always say to brands is focused more on influence. And what I mean by that is you cannot control me, type in your name into Google. But you can influence what I see. So this is the real important thing. So a lot of brands are like we only use influencers because they might say this about our brand or they might portray in the wrong way. But the reality is they can do that without your permission. Anyway way they can. If you’ve got a product out there, they can just do a video. They don’t need your permission to speak bad about a brand. So of to say to brand. It really, really goes down to one defining what you actually want. Oh, I like to call, so what behind the reason you’re gonna use influencers in the first place. Then it goes down to monitor, discover in the right influencers for you or group of influencers. Then it goes down to doing your due diligence. So by the time you actually start speaking to them and then that’s when start doing your brief. Your pitch, you put in the contracts together. You’ve done a lot of the hard work already. What I find is that a lot of brands, they will say, right, let’s do influence the marketing because it’s the thing to do. Let’s go with this person because they’ve got a lot of followers. And then let’s just send it out to them. And that is where where things go wrong. Most of the time, very rarely do I see a brand who’s really done that, they work. And things go wrong to that nature. It might go wrong in the sense that they might not converted as much. But very rarely have really done the work, that they’ve put something out there. And then the influencer went on and just done whatever they want with them. That’s usually more of the relationship they have with them rather than influencer marketing as an issue.

STEPH MACLEOD [00:18:19] Absolutely. And I think it’s also having that very clear mixture of objectives behind anything you do, because some of it might be sales conversion. But obviously there’s a whole brand awareness and engagement piece as well. Also having max of fun in center is going to be so important. So we talked a little bit of a cheeky question. We talked about the brands that I thought that you thought I’ve done really well during this period. What about the brand or influencers that haven’t?

ANDREW DAVIS [00:18:53] Okay. So what I would say this is usually down the ones that is not being well that I’ve seen is more to do with the celebrity influencer. Not necessarily say a nano influencer, because they might be so small just doesn’t appear on someone’s radar. But it’s usually the celebrity or the macro influences. And what I mean by that is. A lot of them, the timing was wrong. So I think it was was it Gwyneth Paltrow that she was trying to sell? I think it was some form of clothes right at the beginning. And again, that didn’t work because people were not in the mindset of buying, especially it’s, oh, let’s make this rich person even richer. That, it was that, that was what that’s what they got wrong. So that’s the type of thing that she got wrong. A lot of macro influencers, especially travel influencers. They were saying things like, oh, I can’t believe I’m stuck in Bali, beautiful resort. It’s to self isolate with a beautiful picture of the background and then with tears in their eyes. Peoplr don’t want to hear that at that particular time. Because there was a stage inspiration was not what people wanted to hear. They will “worry”. Nobody knew what was gonna happen and inspiration was not what they needed to hear then. As I said a lot of the time, what I’ve seen in my experience working in digital. You can say the right thing at the wrong time. And that is typical example. When it comes to brands. The government, I think they.  I’m not sure who exactly was, but they use Pogba. So Paul Pogba, the a footballer. And they said, okay, well, we need to teach people how not to spread the COVID. And don’t necessarily want them to sneeze in their hands because they know what their eyes and that’s how you can get it. So listen, if they can sneeze in the of their own and then pop up footballer scores goals and he does the dance, the dap. So that’s his kind of dance. So they said, let’s get Paul Pogba connected to do with this. So everybody, if you’re going to sneeze, think like Pogba. And that’s again, it’s corny and it’s just quite a lot almost like your dad trying to be cool. That was like, well, that’s the example of a huge organisation with almost unlimited budget, just getting it wrong.

STEPH MACLEOD [00:21:29] Exactly. So what do you, I mean looking at these experiences, what is the have a set of lessons. You think that I’ve been “larned striped bass” you know. Where do you think we’ll see growth for. Which I touched on the nano growth. But you know, what are the main lessons, I guess, that you’ve taken from this?

ANDREW DAVIS [00:21:47] So the main lessons, is it for brands or influencers?

STEPH MACLEOD [00:21:51] Well, let’s start off with brands.

ANDREW DAVIS [00:21:54] Okay. So for brands, the main lessons one is to set the objectives of like as I say, the so what factor. Now this is where the COVID is there or not. Because you need to know what you’re doing it for? Because one of the key. One of the questions I get a lot is how do you measure?how do you measure all of this? But most people don’t set an objective. So it’s hard to measure if you don’t set an objective, I always say, so true media is a game. What we need to do is set the rules and the rules will be objectives. So whether it be you want to use influencers to increase awareness or whether you want to use influencers to increase sales, or whether you want influencers just to get people back to your website, because once they’re on the website, there’s other things you can do like targeted advertising, whatever it may be. Many different ways you can use influencers, which means there’s different metrics, you can to look at. To measure. As I said, most people don’t step back. So that’s one of the first things I always say to do that. Second thing is, right now, understand how algorithms work, because you need to as a brand, you need to understand how things work for the influencer, because then it gives you a better conversation with them when it comes to getting what you want them to do. For example, if I know everything there is to know about cause when it comes to engines and my car breaks, I can have a better conversation with the mechanic because I can say this, this, this, and then get something done. If I don’t know what to say, look, I just put the key in and it didn’t work. Again, the mechanics look at the 50 million different things of why. And I think this is really important for brands to understand how algorithms work. Because ultimately most brands use an influencer so they can get rich with the idea to follow the user journey to take some eventually. Yeah. But how does reach work if they’re going to use Instagram? How does Instagram work? Because literally when it comes to content, there’s only three ways people going to find your content. And not including going to direct url or going to a or using advertising. People that even gonna to find by search because somebody shared it or by the algorithm. So they found it by accident. So how did that work? Because once we know that, then we can have a better conversation with them. Another area gone back to our saying is the due diligence. You need to find influencers and then do your due diligence with them. And then got a full fee will be to measure as well. Fifth, understand budgets and what they charge because a lot of influencers just pick money out the air. How much is it? This and they just pick it out at the air. So understanding how much they charge and ther’s many different tools that you can use to do that. So I would say these are five. I could go into a few more. But these are some of the key ones to know.

STEPH MACLEOD [00:24:51] I was just gonna say, well, what about from an influencer’s perspective?

ANDREW DAVIS [00:24:55] In influencer’s point of view. I would say right now, people going back to basics. Going back to basics and the basics when it comes to influencers is being creative. Essentially what influencer, what makes an influencer from a personal to a professional influencer. So a personal might be just us. A professional is when you turn it into a business. Is that the answer in free questions? I’ve watched just this digital world for as you know, 19 years. And I’ve realised after a while is that everybody is trying to answer three questions. And if you can answer these three questions, you’ll have success on the Internet. And the three questions are, what content can I create? How can I target that content to relevant people? And what can I get them to do? What content can I create? How can I target promote content to the relevant people and what can I get them to do? So as an influencer, creation is key. However, that is not the be all and end all because creation is to objective. Subjective. Sorry. What is good content to me and you might be two completely different things. So then once you create content, you must know how to promote that content, because once you start being able to promote that content and people are seeing it, that’s what really kind of gets you from nano to micro and macro to… But then if you want to turn it from a hobby to a business, it’s been able to convert people to take some form of action because that’s what brands really are after. What action can you get people to do. So aa an influencer, if anybody wants to get into influence and now is keep it simple. Create, distribute, convert. Because what I’ve realised working in this space is that this stuff is simple. It’s not easy. It is simple. Hence why you can get a seven year old multi-millionaire influencers and other things. It’s primary school and they turn in over seven figures a year. So it we’re not Korean Google’s algorithm. We’re just creating content in it and then take it… of action.

STEPH MACLEOD [00:27:00] I should have thought of that at the beginning of lockdown. I could have got the “kids so” I would say…

ANDREW DAVIS [00:27:08] And there’s two fo them.

STEPH MACLEOD [00:27:13] So I guess, you know, the pandemic has for the moment, we talked earlier, you know, everything’s up in the air. It’s probably changed, you know there’s always chat about changed and it’s changed influencer marketing forever. I think, would you agree that we just don’t know that yet? And probably some of the changes and getting back to the basics and looking at the creativity’s is a positive move?

ANDREW DAVIS [00:27:42] Yeah, I think it hasn’t changed forever. It’s changed the world forever and our lives forever. There’s no because we’re gonna going into this new normal. But what I’ve realised. Over the years, including the pandemic, is that professionally nothing’s changed. And what I mean by that is you still need something to sell. You still need somewhere to sell it. And you still need someone to sell it to. That hasn’t changed. But what the Corona Virus has done is it’s changed people’s behaviour and it’s changed technology. So as an influencer, it’s understanding what the end users behaviour is like now. And what technology that I can use to enable my brand. And they’re the key things when it comes to that. It’s being able to understand that. And then obviously add in the creativity, adding your own personality within all of that. And that helps.

STEPH MACLEOD [00:28:38] Absolutely. So just to kind of my last question. And as you know, if there was one piece of advice that you could get to find is currently looking at their influence on marketing plans, what would that be?

ANDREW DAVIS [00:28:55] So there’d be two things. Number one, do some training. You don’t have to go to me. You need to have some form of plan with the world of the Internet walk just post something and it just goes viral like those days stopped when I was at MySpace. So that’s a long long time ago. You need to have some form of plan online. Otherwise you could spend a lot of money and waste a lot of time. And eventually you say we haven’t done anything or answer the question. The question, which I always say is, so what? The second thing, and this is kind of like my motto in life, is that if one person’s achieved the results you want, then it’s possible. If it’s possible, then you’ve just got to work out how to do it. And influencer marketing right now is where Google ads were round the back 2004, 2005, and I known a lot of people that got rich off of Google ads back then because the market is open and what the Corona virus has done is almost reset the market. So there’s going be a huge money grab for brands and influencers. What you don’t want to do is not take advantage of this and then eventually stop playing catch up because catch up is a very timely and costly game. So whether your are agency, whether you’re an influencer, wheter you are brand? Right now, there’s a huge opportunity when it comes to influence of marketing because you get to almost help dictate the industry, you know? I was fortunate enough to be working what I said, I’ve been working full time online since 2001 and I’ve seen the birth of a lot. I was there in chatrooms. As you said pop idol. Liverpool Football Club, Sony PlayStation and a site called Friends Reunited. Then, if you remember, Friends Reunited. So again, when I was at ne extra at the beginning at MySpace at the beginning. So I seen a lot of things come and go. Exactly the same patterns after a while. And right now I see exactly the same pattern here, as I saw when “ad words” came out. When I saw social networking come out, when I saw social advertising come out. When I saw all of these things, it’s exactly the same. What it has been good is that because of COVID we’ve kind of reset. But that’s not just influencers, there’s other areas of digital as well. But that window of opportunity is going like this. Years ago, it would be more this because people getting used to getting on the Internet and being part of the day to day. But now this because people are more digital savvy now and they can make things happen quickly. So I say to brands, now is a great time, but don’t just go into it blindly. Have some form of idea. That’s so, so important. Otherwise, you’re just going to miss the opportunity and you’ll wait for the next. Because there’s a next one.

STEPH MACLEOD [00:31:49] Or so I say I could chat about this all afternoon. Thank you so much for taking the time to join us.

ANDREW DAVIS [00:31:57] Thank you for inviting me.

STEPH MACLEOD [00:31:59] Absolute pleasure. I’m sure everyone will agree that it’s been exceptionally insightful discussion. I think it’s given all of us a lot of food for thought. One thing does seem clear to me is that whoever ends up with can influencers are here to stay. There might be changes in how we work with them or indeed an extension of how we define them. And of course, the critical part, how we measure their effectiveness. But I think utilise properly and with the right relationships being build, they are and will continue to be a very important channel for any brand, be it consumer or actually business-to-business. And I’ll just take this opportunity to remind you that you can find at this episode and a lot previous episodes on our website, kaizo.co.uk and we’ll be back next Tuesday at 11 o’clock to talk to some COVID at releasees market research trends. So, thank you very much everyone. Thank you again, Andrew. And I’ll see you then.