We’ll be honest with you: the influencer of the future is not an influencer at all. You read that right. In the online corridors of influencer marketing, we’re hearing the word “genuinfluencer” thrown around more and more often. Even though it’s a real tongue twister. This is because, the influencer of tomorrow is not there to persuade you to buy stuff. No. The influencer of tomorrow is there to serve you good ideas and promote the truth.
As an influencer you try to get as many likes and shares as possible, right? Not anymore! Excessive commercialization of someone who has built a super-sized following is officially passé. Where high engagement used to be the holy grail in influencer marketing, we now see a shift towards authenticity and genuineness. In this blog you will read about who, what and where genuinfluencers are and how they are causing a stir in the influencer marketing landscape.
From engagement to education
The shift may have even started in 2020. Credibility was hot topic in influencer marketing. The authenticity of many influencers came under fire, because they were too focused on engagement. A pitfall if you ask us. This credibility trend continued in 2021 and in 2022 it took on a different meaning. In addition to information and entertainment, new currencies now apply: knowledge and cultural capital. Thanks to fake-news, disinformation and, well, Donald Trump.
It is important that the genuinfluencer is ‘relatable’. Influencers who are too ‘aspirational’, or live the ‘perfect life’ too much, are repulsive today. The New York Times called it a “rapid disarmament of the cult around celebrities”. We’re not interested in celebs who say from their mansion ‘we’re all in this together’. There was more focus on burnout and mental health with the big culprit being, yep, social media use. Influencers who are close to us, the everyday hero, are growing in popularity. Not all heroes wear capes!
Advice, passion and information
Genuinfluencers, are at the forefront of gender equality and social justice. A genuinfluencer shares advice and spreads unbiased information. Unlike influencers, posts are hardly sponsored. You don’t measure the success of a genuinfluencer by the number of followers, but by the quality, care and timeliness of the content.
New platforms and new conditions
Speaking of quality and carefully curated content. Platforms like Clubhouse, Discord and Substack paved a way for unconventional influencers. These new platforms encourage the production of high quality content. People are even paying for the content, which indicates that they really want to listen to what influencers say. Win-win?
Governments recognize the power of genuinfluencers
Where brands used influencers to only promote fashion, the power of social is now making its way through the wilderness called society. Brands, governments and other large institutions recognize the power of social platforms to reach masses of people, spread information and create a bond of trust. It is obvious that influencers are the best way to get close to your target group.
For example, Finland used 1,500 influencers to spread information about vaccinations. The U.S. government used Olivia Rodrigo to urge its million followers to vaccinate. The governor of Ohio asked for advice from Procter & Gamble on how to raise awareness of social distancing without being too intrusive. You guessed it – they put in genuinfluencers.
How do you leverage genuinencers for your brand?
Brands that stand for something are clearly preferred by both Gen Z, and older generations. The commitment of brands to social issues is no longer a nice to have, but a minimum requirement according to consumers. As a result, we see several examples in the market of brands using genuinencers.
Luxury brands break a lance
Benito Skinner for Valentino and Mac Cosmetics. Chriselle Lim for Chanel, Fendi, Giambattista Valli and Chopard. Luxury brands, as always, are making the first move. When luxury Italian fashion house Valentino joined social audio app Clubhouse, they chose to partner with genuinfluencers. An unconventional choice for a major fashion house, which makes this statement all the greater. The genuinfluencers in this campaign talked about what it is like to be a provocateur in life: one of Valentino’s core values. Branding at its finest, if you ask us.
Gucci also used a genuinfluencer to promote its Off The Grid 2021 collection. Items in this sustainable collection are made of ECONYL, a type of nylon from old fishing nets and rugs. Gucci partnered with a retired fisherman, Gerald Stratford, who loves gardening and is optimistic about life. He was the perfect match for this collection because of his love for nature background in the and fishing.
In the above examples, we see a common denominator: the genuinfluencers must fit the message of the brand or collection. The success of a campaign stands or falls with the right match between brand and genuinfluencer. As influencer marketers, we do our job well when we find the perfect match between brand and influencer.
Do you want to know how genuinfluencers strengthen your brand’s message? Or would you like to use them for your new sustainability strategy? Contact us and who knows, we might be having a virtual cup of coffee soon!