How agility affects influence – and results


See what is happening in our world – who is influencing whom and why.

How agility affects influence – and results

November 25, 2020

There is a South Africa-born flame-grilled chicken restaurant that is as famous for its chicken as it is for its incredibly clever and on-point marketing. The secret to their success? Owning the narrative.

As soon as something topical or talkable happens, this chain is there – on social media, on radio, on TV – putting their own spin on it, gaining new followers and further entrenching themselves as innovative and cheeky and irreverent. As leaders.

Other brands look on with envy. Marketers try to find the formula. Consumers eagerly await the next instalment.

But it’s not rocket science.

What sets this brand apart is not some deeply guarded secret, it’s something that any brand can take advantage of – agility. The ability to think on your feet. The ability to not only react to situations but to actively take reaction and convert it into positive pro-action.

It is something that is uniquely suited to influencer marketing. Big advertising campaigns take months to see the light of day. Traditional marketing campaigns take weeks of planning to ensure alignment with strategies and goals and KPIs and the different divisions of a corporate entity. And this is right. Big brands have a responsibility to make sure that what they are sending out is consistent and in line with what they are trying to achieve and what they are portraying to the public. But it leaves them vulnerable to playing catch-up. It makes owning the narrative complicated and taking advantage of a situation instantly almost impossible.

Once again, the perfect place to have an influencer or, better yet, a number of influencers who are adaptable and dynamic and ready to put you in front of the competition.

Expert influencers, and expert influencer marketers, are by their very nature adaptable and agile. You have to be to stay relevant in a fast-changing and dynamic industry. And some of these experts, like R-Squared in Cape Town, are coming up with incredibly innovative ways of making sure their clients are given the tools and people they need to be owners of the narrative, to be leaders who others can only follow.

R-Squared, for example, do not keep a ‘book’ of influencers that are pushed onto every brand and client that comes through their doors. They actively seek out influencers who fit the client when they come through the doors. And, while this ensures a true and authentic voice for the client, it also opens up a new and exciting possibility:

Always on dynamic campaigns.

Always on is not referring to a campaign that runs 24/7, it’s referring to teams that are always on point and in-touch with the world around them. Leading to dynamic opportunities for brands to engage instantly with their audience whenever the opportunity arises.

But this isn’t just some influencer posting random, stream of consciousness fluff for the sake of being ‘hip’. This is an expertly managed tool to promote their clients’ agility.

By sourcing a custom pool of influencers specifically for a client – a pool of influencers who are pre-vetted, trusted and have a connection with the brand – they are creating an agile and adaptable team ready to be activated at any time and for any message.

Influencer marketing is not just another advertising platform – it is a personal, one-on-one conversation between you the brand and your audience. And like any real conversation, you need to be able to mix and match topics, change the direction, be serious one moment and light-hearted the next. Engagement is all about adaptability, agility and having a real conversation.

Just ask the chicken guys.

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Standing the test of time


See what is happening in our world – who is influencing whom and why.

Standing the test of time

October 20, 2020

A taste that stood the test of time. Every South African knows these words. It elicits an almost Pavlovian response to raise a glass and shout out: To Charles!

You may be wondering what sparked these thoughts. Well, the big news for R-Squared Digital was our move into stunning new offices at the Old Castle Brewery in Woodstock, Cape Town. This bright, airy and amazing new space is sure to get our creativity and our joie de vivre amped up to record levels.

But it also had another effect, on me anyway. Walking around this building, seeing walls that have been here since 1901, imagining what has happened, what people did, how they lived and what they dreamed about in an iconic location that is over 100 years old got me thinking about our modern life and, in particular, our modern industry of Influencer Marketing.

And what history will say about our young industry in 100 years. Will we still be relevant? Will we still have a place in the bigger scheme of things?

I must say that I believe that the answer is a resounding ABSOLUTELY YES!
History has shown the power of having a recognised face to drive interest in your brand. Aunt Jemima (controversial now, but a major turning point for how advertising became personal), Santa Claus (Coca-Cola), the Marlboro Man, George Clooney and Nespresso.

Influencer Marketing took this lead and amplified it exponentially by giving brands the power of a personalised voice, authentic engagement with an audience that was receptive and opted-in to the messaging. And it has proven to be massively effective, especially in the modern pandemic times where people are looking for connections in a time of quarantine.

The future can only build on history. We will learn from our successes and our mistakes. We are already aware of how our audience reacts to false impressions and fake endorsements and it’s driving the industry to actively create unique and authentic content that resonates. It’s showing agencies and clients that Influencer Marketing is about more than a face, it’s about a connection, a personal touchpoint that is a part of the influencer’s life story that is then woven into the fabric of the campaign.

And we are just scratching the surface.

Already we are seeing virtual influencers becoming a part of the story. Whether or not they will become entrenched is something we will only see in the future. At the moment they are a fad, a trend that is different and new and therefore interesting. How audiences respond in the long run is unknown but we are watching – and participating with great interest.

Advertising and marketing have been around for thousands of years.

Wherever someone has something to sell, whether it’s a product, an idea or an innovation, you will need people who best know how to reach and engage with an audience. That will never change. What will change is how. Technology, human needs and interests, the situation, the world are all mutable, are all ever-changing. And how we interact changes with them.

But one thing never changes – our yearning for a human connection, our need for validation and recognition and the understanding that comes with finding someone who shares our voice.

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