Influencer Marketing & Its Trends In 2021

The pandemic has made us all question our old ways, both as brands, as well as at a more human level. We’ve realized that pushing a “product” to a “User” is not going to cut it anymore

Hemingway says, “Courage is grace under pressure”, that’s exactly how I would describe the wave of Influencer marketing we’ve seen during these trying times. The pandemic and the uncertainties it brought with it had everyone questioning the future of influencer marketing, but gracefully they emerged as storytellers and creators, making the most of the situation they were thrown into. 

The pandemic has made us all question our old ways, both as brands, as well as at a more human level. We’ve realized that pushing a “product” to a “User” is not going to cut it anymore. One needs to connect at a more personal level in order to be noticed and then remembered. 

Creativity Flourished: 

Staying at home has also pushed brands & creators to reimagine the way these promotions need to be done, and creativity flourished. 

Whether it was the way in which Dior launched its new Forever foundation to champion diversity, where they got onboard 67 micro-influencers to showcase 67 different skin shades over a period of 67 days. An inclusive campaign that interestingly also had the backing of digital & tech to find the right influencers based on skin shade.

Or whether it was OTT Player, MX Player, uniquely collaborating with PUBG Gaming Stars Soul Army to promote their show Raktanchal. 

Or Huawei’s StorySign, a first of its kind literacy platform that helps deaf children learn to read. They launched a heart-warming global influencer campaign with over 132 key influencers to create content of StorySign’s learning experience.

Brands & influencers came together to create a buzz like never before.

What are the likely trends for 2021?

Spends on Influencer Marketing will soar: 

According to Duff & Phelps and Kroll by 2021, nearly half of FMCG companies (46%) expect to spend 31-50% of their total marketing budget on influencers – up one-fifth compared to the average spent between 2018-2020 – while nearly one in 10 (8%) will spend more than 70%.

However, these trends aren’t just limited to brands in the FMCG space though. We see this same trend across different industries be it Pharma, Automotive or Entertainment. 

Influencer marketing will become integral to digital strategies 

Broadly speaking brands will and should employ Influencer marketing for three core objectives:

The first being Raising awareness for the brand, its products or the brand's message.

Second, is to drive actual sales & turn influencers into an ROI based investment & finally to support their existing/new digital strategy that they may have, possibly even being the main marketing activation.

Content will continue to be king!

We have seen brands utilize Tik Tok and Instagram as platforms to get their products flying off the proverbial shelf. But what is important to note is that the new wave focuses more on the content & story that is told rather than just the functional benefits of a product.  

A heartfelt, genuine post from an influencer is far more likely to find a space in the mind of the consumer than just a product ad.

Platforms will evolve to empower digital creators:

With platforms like Instagram evolving with Reels, creators now have all the tools at their disposal to create content that can stand out and make a difference. In a recent addition, Instagram has also launched Guides, it will be interesting to see how brands make the most of it. 

Influencer campaigns will see a much-needed balance:

A good way to categorize new influencers would be reaching & niche.

Those words are pretty self-explanatory but let me elaborate. Every good brand campaign must have the best of both worlds. For brand objectives like awareness, you need the noise, the buzz, for which you need to employ influencers that have the numbersaka reach.

Then again you also need to find avenues to reach out to the right audiences who will probably be more likely to consider your brand & convert. Here’s where NICHE comes into the picture. You pick the right Nano & Micro-influencers whose target audiences are loyal & they fit your TG definition perfectly. 

Customers & Employees will become ambassadors:

An interesting way to approach the NICHE segment of influencers is to turn to your own consumers or employees who could become ambassadors for your brand. A simple feature/repost of their stories could encourage others to sample out what you’re offering as it’s coming straight from the horse’s mouth. They are so much more authentic in nature, are cost-effective & have better rapport with their audiences. 

Customer Centricity at the core:

Finally, a recent Think With Google Blog highlighted that 70% of consumers prefer YouTube content that reflects their life. If your content can resonate with the consumers you will see bigger results. Brands have to move away from what they want to say & focus more on what the consumer wants to hear. Content creators do this beautifully by appealing to the consumers' interests, passions & needs and that is why Influencer marketing in 2021 won’t just be a supporting digital strategy but could possibly be the hero of the show. 

And to the influencers out there, J.R.R. Tolkien said, “Courage is found in unlikely places.” I’m glad you found the courage in the pandemic not just to sail through it, but to own it, and for that, I salute you!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.