Marketing Hand-in-hand: Co-Creation as the Future of Influencer Marketing
Look at any top music charts these days and 90% of the time, you’re going to find that a single song can have multiple credited musicians. Last week for example saw the release of British folk singer Ed Sheeran’s latest album, titled No.6 Collaboration Project. That title is actually rather apt because there’s actually no unifying common theme to be found throughout the album, it’s just a collection of songs borne out of collaborations with notable names from the music industry like Khalid, Chance the Rapper, Ella Mai, H.E.R., etc.
To be honest, the album is actually pretty bad as you can pretty much sense the gross commercial intention powering the project. There’s no sense of coherency to the project, which is to be expected given that there are more than 20 credited names on the album. It’s akin to a brand tapping dozens of influencers just to show them wearing or using the brand’s products on social media. The collaboration here is only skin-deep and that’s no longer enough now that customers are getting smarter and smarter with their purchasing decisions.
Brand shout-outs are no longer good enough
Take a look at an account of any Instagram celebrities you know of and you’re bound to find a post where said celebrity is holding a random product while espousing the benefit of said product in the caption. Trust me when I say you’ll be able to spot posts like these from a mile away because you can always spot the charade from a mile away. We all know said celebrity, and I’m using that term pretty loosely, is peddling the goods simply because they’re paid to do that and it doesn’t actually do the brand any good.
Influencer marketing shouldn’t just consist of you throwing money at the most popular influencer you can find and hoping that their fans will latch on to you. It’s more than just simply gathering the who’s who of contemporary music to make something that you think will top the charts. In music, something that acts as the antithesis of Sheeran’s latest is 2013’s Watch the Throne, a collaborative effort from rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West that encompasses one full-length album. There are other credited musicians within the 46 minutes runtime of the album but the majority of the work is shared between the two main credited artists and it shows.
It was a fun, decadent album that more often than not, showcases the two rap music luminaries at their best, highlighting that while having big name features are nice, it’s when two entities actually collaborate that they can bring out the best in each other. The beauty about co-creation is that it encompasses more than just marketing, content creation and product design is also part of the package. This approach isn’t just particularly beneficial to the influencer; it can also provide a much needed boost to the brands participating in the collaboration.
Co-creation gives your brand a measure of humility
No matter how down-to-earth your brand tries to portray itself, people would find it easier to connect to an actual person instead of a name slapped to a logo. This is why every now and then, a company would feel the need to send out a spokeperson to give a familiar face in front of the logo or they pay an influencer to help promote their product. The problem is, this type of transactional promotion is actually damaging as they can be deemed as dishonest and aren’t particularly original.
By closely partnering with an influencer, you’re showing the public that you’re not above partnering with other individuals and that you’re not completely out of touch with the little people, so to speak. The luxurious fashion house LVMH, parent company to such illustrious brands like Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and Marc Jacobs recently announced they’re launching a new label headed by no other than Rihanna. This shows that even a highbrow name like LVMH aren’t above partnering with someone from outside the world of high fashion.
Collaboration is the ingredient for honest marketing
Honesty builds trust and instead of shoehorning words down an influencers’ throat that would be spread to their followers, why not bring said influencer into the fold so that there would be no shoehorning involved? Get some proper behind-the-scenes footage during your collaboration and conduct an exit interview with the influencer after the collaboration has ended to showcase just how your brand actually works. By making it so that the words are coming from the influencer in question, you could imbue your marketing effort with some actual honesty and authenticity that would’ve been impossible otherwise.
This partnership might bring some fresh new insights into your business
In the medical field, there’s a term known as second opinion. Typically, this occurs when a patient is diagnosed or given a treatment that the patient feels to be insufficient and then sought to look for another doctor for their titular second opinion. Sometimes, getting some fresh outsider’s perspective can be a good thing for your business and collaborating with an influencer is one way of achieving that. Of course, you’re going to have to carefully vet the individual you’re going to collaborate with but the fruit of the relationship could definitely give your business a kick it so desperately needs.