Harnessing the power of influencers to drive sales and build brand awareness

Strategy Leaders’ Relationship Manager Nathalie Ochalek and Co-Founder Steven Epprecht, critically review the influencer landscape.


How important are influencers in retail marketing today and in the next five years?
Influencers have greatly shaped the view of marketing – especially retail marketing in recent years. From subtle promotional posts that were barely recognizable as advertising, to new advertising labelling rules and an abundance of discount codes. Influencers are of great importance and will continue to be relevant to the field. Over the next five years, influencer marketing will continue to evolve with the market, as it has in the past. Influencers will increasingly be used not only as multipliers, but also as an extended arm of the sales staff at the POS and as virtual experts. They will also become more important as holistic brand ambassadors and can be integrated throughout the marketing mix.

What are the main pitfalls retailers face when it comes to effectively leveraging influencers/content creators for marketing purposes?
Often the expectations towards influencers are astronomical. With a post or a story, the sales figures are supposed to shoot up and the stocks are supposed to be sold out. One must not forget that even with influencers, the basis for successful marketing is trust. The followers must be given time to get used to a product, to get to know it together with the influencer and to be convinced by it. Furthermore, it should not be forgotten that an influencer campaign always means an increase in brand awareness. All in all, a cooperation with influencers should not only be about sales, but also about raising awareness and leverage share of voice.


How can retailers identify which influencers will have a genuine impact and deliver real value?
First and foremost, the insights of the influencer must be considered. The followers of the influencers must correspond to the target group. The first thing we do is analyze the target group in the country where the product is to be sold and promoted. If the target market is strongly represented and the influencer has a good level of engagement, the first stone for a successful influencer collaboration has been laid. In addition to the numbers, the authenticity, high quality content, reliability and role of the influencer in society is also of great relevance. For this, personal contact with influencers is indispensable. The better one knows an influencer personally, the better one can start a profitable campaign. After all, influencer marketing is also part of PR and thus pure people business.

How can influencers help drive direct sales and build brand awareness?
By building a long-term relationship between the influencer and the brand. Authentic content and an influencer who is fully convinced of the product are the key to successful influencer marketing. Discount promotions can help generate short-term increase in sales. In the long term, however, these should only be used in a targeted manner and in small quantities so as not to damage the credibility of the brand.