Consumers are a fickle bunch, with audiences falling in and out of love with brands every minute. Compounding the challenges – they have trust issues. Lots of trust issues. So, brand influencers who are genuinely skilled at capturing – and keeping – consumer trust are a rare commodity.
Here’s how three top personalities do it. And how to find more influencers like them online to connect with before your competitors do!
Consumer Trust is Fleeting
Consumers dislike brand marketing, even though they love to shop online. And they’d rather listen to a stranger’s opinion of your brand than waste time evaluating what you want to share about it.
Yet, many consumers don’t trust “influencers” either, because who isn’t selling something online these days?
But there are unicorns among us who can bridge that divide.
They are brand influencers who are successful and can survive with or without a brand’s sponsorship, because they’ve created an air of authenticity that makes them an audience favorite. These folks are viewed very differently from their ‘just getting by’ influencer brethren.
Because of this, they’re worth their weight in gold. Actually, they’re worth lots more. And brand’s better be on their good side . . . if they’re in their sights at all, that is.
The first we’re exploring is from the Kardashian/Jenner brood – Kylie. And we’re saving you a search to sort out how they’re all related:
The youngest self-made millionaire is an incredible case study in influence. The demographics of her audience are pretty solidly Millennials and Gen Z:
And although having a famous family doesn’t hurt, Kylie distinguishes herself and her brand with exceptional audience understanding. Her latest effort, a viral “Rise and Shine” three-second clip, speaks to this.
First – what is it?
After sharing a tour of her new offices, Kylie walked in to her daughter’s office nursery, flicked on the lights and sang, “rise and shine” to the child.
The clip was shared on TikTok and took off, with multiple fans recreating it and mocking it. Even celebrities like Arianna Grande and Miley Cyrus got in on the fun. The buzz was – and is – amazing around it.
Being very attuned to all things online, rather than be offended about people teasing her for it, the super smart entrepreneur tried to trademark the phrase (and failed). But that didn’t stop her from creating and selling $65 hoodies with the phrase – and they’re selling out.
Every news site is talking about it now. And you can be certain she has a team monitoring it all, as she’s been quick to respond to rising criticism over her attempt to trademark the common phrase.
And although she probably isn’t in the market for any influencer positions, are may not be a good fit for your brand regardless, there are plenty lesser known influencers in her category and beyond that offer exceptional and relevant credibility.
Influencer FOMO and JOMO
Brands can partner with these fashionistas to live their viral, ordinary yet extraordinary, lives online and exploit followers’ FOMO (fear of missing out). This is an unfortunately lucrative trend online, as evidenced by the sold out hoodies.
Following the FOMO or JOMO (joy of missing out) sentiment, an important consideration when choosing an influencer is how s/he presents these concepts to fans/followers. If your brand marketing is controversial and edgy, you’ll want someone very different from what a buttoned-up brand would be looking for.
The controversial influencers outnumber those who aren’t online. And it’s important to know who you’re dealing with before putting your product or service in front of them. We’ll show you how to do that in a second – but first, you may be wondering why these folks are so edgy if brands shy away from partnering with them
It’s because there are many, many brands who do not (shy away). And it only takes a few high-profile engagements to support lavish lifestyles. Also – they attract a huge crowd
We have Shane Dawson up next to illustrate this expertise.
Controversy & Capturing Consumer Trust
Shane Dawson is a name that’s synonymous with controversy
Who is his audience? The age breakdown for those discussing Shane is a smooch older than what we saw for Kylie, but that’s to be expected as he’s a decade older, after all:
He’s not afraid to cry or look awful online while doing it. Nor does he always put on a polished face. Shane is someone who is constantly transforming, trying, failing and repeating the cycle all over again. And if online loves anything, it’s a real-time soap opera with a side of transformation:
He generates intense passion around everything he does:
Conspiracy Collaboration and Expose Series
His latest effort is an aptly named Conspiracy Palette collaboration with influencer extraordinaire Jeffree Star.
This palette, much like Kylie’s hoodies, immediately sold out. These influencers understand how to hype products to their audiences. Shane’s audience responds to controversy, so he created a YouTube expose series about other YouTuber’s lives ahead of this launch. Very meta, and super effective.
Brands could experience amazing success with a controversial influencer, assuming they understand and embrace the persona.
Maybe a wise-cracking, trash-talking fast food establishment, with a penchant for putting it out there could have him (or whomever) stage an account take-over for a full day, or week:
Finding Controversial Influencers
How to find these controversial folks? Exploring social sentiment in your category and capturing hot button topics (both known and unknown) is a great starting point.
From there, exploring who is talking about it and how those conversations are resonating will give you a quick list to add to your Influencer Discovery dashboard:
Your social analytics tool should help you explore what they (and others) have shared publicly over the past 27 months to get a sense of who they are – and to make sure they’re not too edgy, as some will be.
And in the process, you may decide to work with influencers that lean less toward controversy and are more in the big personality/funny category. Because those folks are certainly much loved online as well, particularly when they show that they care about the world.
Bretman Rock is a great example of that.
Bretman Rocks I
Bretman Rock rose to fame as an influencer with funny How To videos that his audience just couldn’t get enough of:
Since then, he’s continued with those how to’s, has become a makeup mogul (of sorts) and rounds it out in true Gen Z style with a sustainability push – for the turtles. A metal straw, with a portion of proceeds going toward helping to save the turtles. It’s very VSCO of him.
And today, when exploring sentiment around him, he’s coming in at an astounding 99% Net Sentiment score (on a scale from -100 to 100), with a perfect 100 in Passion Intensity:
This should have (and did) made him a top prediction for any consumer-sourced awards, which is why he won Beauty Influencer of 2019 at The People’s Choice Awards.
And although all three may seem similar, as each fronts makeup in some variety, they’re far from one-dimensional personalities. That’s part of their draw. And that’s the case with most influencers.
There are niche audiences they’ll attract across a variety of categories – audiences that are attracted to these pretty distinct personas. They follow them to stargaze, be part of a drama or cheer along with an amazing personality they relate to. Relatability is key, so consumer understanding when selecting these influencers is as well
And whichever you choose must be one that lines up with the image your brand seeks to convey.
Consumer Trust & Passion
Consumer trust and passion make for a viral combo, and that’s really the how and why behind influencer success. But it can be a roller coaster ride, depending on the personality a brand connects with. Make sure you’re ready to go along on that ride – and that you’re aware ahead of time of just how that ride may look!
Sorting out which metrics matter most for your brand’s efforts is key.
Bretman Rock may not have the conversation volume, for example – but he certainly has the love. And that can matter more than volume, depending on your brand’s goals.
Seeing how people are talking about each helps flesh out an informed choice between them. They may watch for new Kylie and Shane makeup to be released so they can buy, but fans “live for” whatever Bretman is up to. That could add up to some solid long-term value. Maybe:
It’s easy to gain consumer trust if an influencer is authentic, but it’s also easy to lose if an influencer’s credibility is damaged. And you don’t want your credibility to tank along with him/her. Having super accurate analytics on your side, and alerts to keep you a step ahead of any controversy is a must.
Fortunately for you, we know a place that offers best-in-class online insight so your decision is informed and your brand can move forward confidently. Reach out and we’ll show you how it looks!