Influencer marketing has been maturing and evolving over the past few years, KOL activations should be considered as more complex than simply uploading a post on Instagram from a product received by mail. Instead of telling the KOLs what to say and post, brands start to leverage KOLs’ creative expertise to a greater extent.
Top Social Media such as Facebook and Instagram are trying to push for a more authentic and In-depth collaboration through meaningful and authentic partnership. Some brands involve influencers in the very early stage of a campaign, even going as far as the general concept ideation.
We’d like to share with you 3 creative ways to collaborate with KOLs in Asia.
Create emotionally appealing content
1. Leverage influencers’ background beyond content
During the KOL selection process, brands normally identify several criteria to filter out the ideal candidate. A common criterion would be the relevance of the content to the brand’s product and services.
For example, beauty brands usually look for influencers that share makeup and fashion-related content. However, several brands start to focus more on the stories and personalities of the KOL.
An example would be MediLASE’s Focus Makes Perfect campaign with Hong Kong influencers Emi Wong and Utah Lee. MediLASE is one of the biggest laser hair removal companies in Hong Kong, while Emi Wong and Utah Lee are both fitness gurus who might not have an obvious relation to the brand’s service.
But the company explored their common point and linked its devotion at providing the best service with the 2 influencers’ dedication towards fitness and success.
2. Resonate to the audience with an interesting twist
More marketers are actively looking for KOLs that could create a bonding experience between the brand and the audience—creatively. Hong Kong surrealist photographer Tony Fung came up with an innovative and eye-catching image for the Parisian watch brand Beaubleu last year.
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The catchphrase “Running out of time?” not only demonstrated the function of a watch, but it also reflected the fast-paced lifestyle of Hong Kong. Additionally, the surreal image of a hand grabbing the bus away is visually captivating.
Create useful and insightful O2O content
Online to offline (O22) user-generated content, such as showcasing KOLs’ testimonials in the store, is an efficient way to increase the credibility of the products. Early this year M.A.C.’s has renovated its Shanghai store by integrating interactive formats to attract its Gen Z audience.
The store is more than a product discovery and shopping place, it also allows consumers to engage with the online community. So, M.A.C. promoted their lipstick campaign by showing testimonials from Little Red Book—a Chinese social commerce app—on LED screens.
The LRB testimonials were categorized according to the 5 lipstick colors, containing comments on the color, texture, endurance, suitable skin tone of users, etc. All these useful “KOL-UGC” enriches the visitors’ experience and facilitates their purchasing decision.
Moreover, the store’s 2nd floor is designed for KOL and public events, which further enhances the pull effect of influencers at drawing the public towards the physical location.
Create meaningful and authentic collaboration with influencers
1. Outsource creative directions to influencers
Most of the time companies will decide the whole campaign concept and directions, then pass these ideas to the influencers as a guide. But brands willing to take more risks are giving more freedom to KOLs and even letting them take over the overall creative direction.
This usually brings a very successful content creation. For instance, we can talk about Stuart Weitzman’s collaboration with Chinese fashion influencer Zola Zhang (原来是西门大嫂 @sisterinlaw).
As a fan of the luxury shoe brand Stuart Weitzman, Zola was invited to be the style director of the brand’s fashion show in 3 Chinese cities. He designed 30 sets of outfits to go with Stuart Weitzman’s shoes. Albeit not being a designer, the brand believed in Zola’s knowledge and instinct in fashion to fully utilize her ability.
Zola lastly shared a detailed behind-the-scene article of the whole experience which resulted in 100K+ reads and hundreds of engagements from her fans.
2. Leverage influencer expertise and involve them in the product design process
KOLs can be engaged for their audience, creativity but also for their expertise. Some brands are involving KOLs from the conception and design of new products to create a consistent experience from A to Z.
This kind of partnership is frequently seen in Chinese influencers like Tao Liang (Mr.Bags 包先生). He is a Chinese influencer who has garnered millions of followers for his unique insights and taste for luxury handbags.
Tao Liang first collaborated with French luxury brand Givenchy in 2017 to design and produce 80 handbags exclusively for his followers. Despite the high selling price (RMB 15,000 each), the whole collection was sold within 12 minutes.
This year he continues to collaborate with brands such as Chloé, TOD’S and Dunhill, etc. to design limited-edition handbags.
At last, think out of the box!
Digital Business Lab Influencer experts are supporting some key brands to include influence and social media understanding into traditional HR recruitment & annual review process.
By including influence score into the traditional recruitment process, brands can further leverage employee advocacy focusing on social media savvy talents who can highly contribute to the overall social media transformation of the organization.