How you can future-proof your brand with the right influencer strategy

As brand custodians, you’re always thinking of ‘what next’. What can you do for your brand today that will make a huge impact tomorrow? And then what can you do the day after that? But all of this really depends on where your customers are now and what would they be doing in the future.

Boston Consulting Group’s recent report on ‘Digital India: Insights for Marketers and Media Companies’ reveals some interesting insights into the demographics of the future consumer, as well as their content consumption patterns.

1.Users are getting older
In 2013, 40 percent of users were 25 years old or older; in 2018, 54 percent will be 25 or older. Because older users have more disposable income, they will likely transact more online.

2.More users will live in rural areas
In 2013, 29 percent of users lived in rural areas; in 2018, approximately half will reside in smaller towns and villages. This will open up significant growth opportunities for marketers and service providers that keep in mind the dynamics of the rural market in India, such as using online distribution through e-commerce to ensure wider product availability.

3.The user base will include more women
In 2013, 25 percent of users were female; in 2018, women will represent a third of all users. The increasing gender parity will have a major bearing on the Internet economy—women control 44 percent of household spending in India.

As a result of the above, there will be an increase in number of mobile phone connections. There will also be a rise in vernacular content and expansion in overall digital content consumption.

Impact on communication campaigns
• It’s going to take a stronger wave to exert influence on any opinion or trend
• The focus needs to be online and mobile
• The focus needs to be equally divided between urban & metro markets
• Engaging with women would be powerful ploy

Influencer marketing for impacting the future consumer
Influencer marketing could be a powerful ploy to tackle these challenges. Influencers for your brand or group will be people who’re experts, with a considerable fan following. They’ll be the ones who’ll stand up for you when things go bad and amplify your beliefs and accomplishments, when times are great.

Communication campaign from brands are already leveraging this. It for that reason why some of the most popular chefs, food bloggers and nutritionists are part of the Saffola Fit Foodie panel. They’re seen making some healthy, yet amazingly delicious dishes online and on TV.

Similarly, Dell runs a global campaign - the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network - that is a platform for that allows for networking and knowledge sharing sessions among women entrepreneurs across the world.

The spirit of partnership spans across large and small companies. For startups too, working with influencers makes a lot of sense. The partnership ploy would help get the word out, about themselves or for their products and services, to a wider audience.

A good case is the way SwiftKey does it. In the words of Sarah Rowley, their Head of Partnership Communications, ‘When it comes to promoting apps, wider relationships are key. For example, we knew Stephen Fry, the well-known British actor, tech influencer and author, was a SwiftKey user so we invited him to meet the team and built a friendship with him, listening to his feedback and keeping him informed of what we were building. Then, when one of our apps was released, he tweeted his millions of Twitter followers about the launch -- and those 140-characters led to 8x our usual web traffic for the day.’

The key here is engagement and a long term strategy for the same. This will ensure a more widespread impact of the campaign that’s being run and perhaps influence opinion on the future consumer too.

Written by Karan Bhujbal, Senior Account Manager, 20:20 MSL and a PRmoment India 3030 2015 winner

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