Friday, May 31, 2019

BLOGGERS, INFLUENCERS & THE FASHION WORLD When business passes through being “liked” on social media

Perfect strangers become style icons. Hobbies turn into real professions. Products become objects of desire in no time. Money is made through likes and views. Better forget the reassuring twentieth-century economic theories to embrace unpredictability, the only (paradoxical) certainty of the modern consumer. Regardless of the product itself, whether food, travel or books, the game has changed and today bloggers and influencers set the rules. Being closely intertwined with the fashion world, Expo Riva Schuh sets out to dive into the phenomenon of bloggers and influencers to the point of dedicating the entire Opening Talk of the winter edition to it and involving, a few months later, a key expert in marketing, digital strategies and distribution,Daniel Agis, Brand Marketing Expert and Distribution Strategies talks to Expo Riva Schuh.

Passion at work: what does it take to become bloggers and influencers?

"To answer this question mention should be made of where it all started: the unparalleled revolution in interpersonal communications occurred in less than a decade. The big change lies in the way people spend time communicating with each other, in the access to information and the way dialogue is triggered and transmitted. All the main tools of today, hardware and software, were developed within 5 years (2005-2010). Facebook or Twitter, through which we share ideas, opinions and even our feelings; Whatsapp that keeps us permanently connected; Youtube or Instagram that make any of us a creator of content, images, new stories. All this is integrated within our smartphone, hardware tool designed to support any creative and communication need. It is in this constantly evolving context that figures like bloggers and influencers were born."


How does the role played by an influencer in the promotion of a brand turn into revenue and what are the emotional mechanisms moved by bloggers and influencers?

"Some unprecedented and rapid innovations have changed the relationship between people, between people and institutions and, indeed in business, between consumers and brands. 

Such connection between people who today dialogue, criticize and evaluate products and also brands’ communication strategies, puts an end to the unidirectional communication that had characterized the pre-internet era.

Brands and companies are thus forced to achieve a two-way communication thus fostering an important shift from the traditional concept of "testimonial", that is someone who lends their image to advertise a brand (which is still used), to the modern 'influencer', namely someone willing to become more deeply involved with the philosophy of the brand to whom they lend their own credibility. Credibility is precisely the leverage: followed on the various platforms by the so-called "followers” who are the influencer’s strength as they accord trade mark value.

This concept is laying the foundations for the development of a brand new approach as brands are learning to keep up, evaluate results, errors and successes of this approach, not only quantitatively but also qualitatively. The number of "followers" does not count as much as the quality that the relationship between brand and influencer can bring along.

We are still dealing with a stage in which the parameters are not clearly outlined and outside the sphere of those influencers who are celebrities also in other areas – such as actors, sports artists - or just people who attract huge numbers of followers owing to their lifestyle and popularity - the Kardashians, Chiara Ferragni etc. -, other approaches are developing such as the "micro-influencers" (people with less than 100.000 followers), with which the brands try to trigger a creative and more flexible relationship that can deliver the hoped-for results with economically affordable investments and possibly easier to monetize. "


What are the skills needed by companies to make the most of the new communication and promotion channels?

To sum up, the digital communication era brings about great creative challenges in the development of a brand’s strategy to connect with more informed thus more demanding customers. It also challenges brands to influence the perception one has of them in a new and already ruling communication channel such as the various social networks, soon bound to become sales channel too. 

The influencer is an ally backing a brand's proposal provided that he/she meets the necessary requirements to transfer his/her own credibility (which is "truth") to the brand. As has already been said, influencers can be both celebrities and groups of people whose lifestyle is perfectly connected with that of the brand. With their (credible) involvement they provide a touch of empathy.  

The correct use of the available digital tools allows real time monitoring of the brand’s promotion actions. Being able to assess the ROI of an action or a campaign in real time leverages communication creativity allowing constantly adjusting and improving.