How influencers may also help manufacturers create constructive content material throughout Covid-19

The corona virus crisis has forced many brands to rethink their marketing strategies. Some campaigns have been suspended, others have been brought together to find out how they can respond to the global crisis.

While marketing should be approached with caution and care during a pandemic, there is still a place for brands to tell stories – and with the increasing use of social media, there is an obvious way for companies to connect with influencers who love them can help develop useful and inspiring ideas and entertaining content during locks and beyond.

As Rebecca Reeve-Kendall, managing director of influencer marketing agency The Fifth, explained in a webinar earlier this month, influencers can be valuable and authentic mediators for brands at this point in time because they see themselves as part of a community and know what theirs Enjoy Followers. They offer brands the opportunity to remain visible during the crisis and still create added value for the lives of consumers who are not exposed to them in the usual way.

Reeve-Kendall added that brands that "darken" and disappear during the crisis may find it difficult to recover after the ban or fail to see how consumer behavior has changed. Instead, they have to remember what they stand for, but adapt their tone to our so-called “new normal” if they want to connect with consumers.

Brands are forced to change their strategy, but this has to be done sensitively

"Brands are forced to change their strategy, but it has to be done sensitively," she said. "The audience is at home, desperate for the right content, and brands can use influencers to have more confidence in their approach."

According to Kantar, consumers spent 70% more time online in March, and this number is likely to be even higher in April. The blocking has also led to older consumers using new technologies and platforms from Facebook to Zoom to TikTok.

"So much has happened in such a short time," said Reeve-Kendall. "We saw influencers like Joe Wicks become global superstars, and Zoom and House Party emerged as people adapted to a fully digital lifestyle."

Consumers are certainly watching the actions of the brands closely. In a study compiled by Edelman, 65% of respondents indicated that brands' response to the pandemic would affect future interaction with them, and over a third said they had discontinued using a brand that they thought after not acting appropriately. Kantar's research also shows that 70% of people are looking for a calming tone from brands, and 77% want brands to help and stay relevant without serving themselves.

Brands have the opportunity to work creatively with influencers to promote safe behavior during the pandemic. Many developers have produced content from within their own four walls to support the World Health Organization's Safe Hands Challenge to promote proper hand washing, while others have created videos, posters, and illustrations that encourage people to stay at home .

For partnerships to be successful, brands need to find the right influencers to work with – and authenticity and audience are critical. Most influencers tend to fall into two main camps, The Fifth said: those who use their entertainment platforms, like London blogger Victoria Emes, who virally sang her lockdown version of "I Will Survive"; and those who help their followers solve new lifestyle problems, for example when cooking or at home.

Working creatively with influencers like Emes can provide an opportunity to cheer up audiences in these difficult times and offer people the much-needed escape from reality through music, comedy or theater.

Brands also have the opportunity to work with influencers to help people overcome disappointment about event and festival cancellations by creating online alternatives. US rapper Travis Scott's appearance in Fortnite was seen by more than 12 million players, and musicians from Billie Eilish to Chris Martin delighted fans with spontaneous concerts.

As The Fifth points out, influencers can also help tackle production challenges posed by lockdowns, as many have the skills and equipment to produce TV-quality content from home.

Asma Elbadawi – a poet, basketball player, activist and playwright with spoken word – recently worked with cameraman Johno Verity on an Instagram video called "Lockdown" that was produced for just £ 250. Influencer strategist Scott Guthrie points out in his blog that the video "is an excellent example of the speed of processing, the performance and relativity of content, and the low production costs that qualified content created by influencers can bring".

“An influencer has his own unique tone, skills and equipment at home. This can cut production costs by 50%, ”said Candice Green, creative director at The Fifth.

As Green emphasizes, working with influencers can also create content with people from all walks of life. "We can find the talent whose tone matches the brand and build an audience for authentic content," she added.

Green also highlighted Tesco's Food Love Stories project, which introduces influencers from different generations as an example of how brands can use content produced by influencers in their over-the-top or digital campaigns.

Of course, every partnership only works if the influencer really shares the values ​​and beliefs of a brand. If not, there is a lack of authenticity, and the digitally native audience will ask brands to jump on a certain social trait and hold them accountable when we get out of the crisis, Green warned.

Don't forget who you are and what you stand for. It is not what you are doing now, but why you are doing it

Apple demonstrated how to do things well with its Creativity Goes On campaign, and showed people like celebrity influencer Oprah Winfrey how to use Apple products to stay creative while locked out at home.

"You mustn't forget who you are and what you stand for. It's not what you do now, but why you do it to build relationships with consumers, ”said Green.

Another example of a brand that adapts to its tone and remains contextual by recognizing new behaviors by the public is Birds Eye. It was one of the first brands to adapt its strategy with its "What's for Tea" campaign, which took the place of the activities planned before the pandemic started. As a trusted family brand, Birds Eye was aware of the need to stay on screen during the lockout and reassure customers without self-service, and provided inspiration and activities for parents and children through its website.

Elsewhere, many grocery chains, including Burger King, Pret a Manger, and Wagamama, have revealed their secret recipes to keep in touch with customers while the stores are closed. "This is another example of brands remaining relevant and open until they can interact with customers in the usual way," said Green.

There were even examples of influencers trying to recreate classic fast food. YouTuber Oli White has 2.8 million followers and his film, in which he's trying to make a McDonald's Big Mac and Fries, had over 315,000 views by the end of April.

According to Green, brands can move forward in the “new normal” when they're ready to be reactive and use influencers to help them. "Existing strategies have to change because it is difficult to plan too far in advance," she said. "You have to be proactive, but be prepared to react week after week."

The fifth webinar also included questions and answers with vegan chef, author and influencer Brett Cobley, who set up the @EpiVegan Instagram account in 2016 and has become an expert in creating engaging content from home.

Cobley now has more than 71,000 Instagram followers and 11,500 YouTube subscribers looking for recipe inspiration, cooking tips, and lifestyle advice on his account.

"Based on my experience as a creator, I am asked questions about a recipe or how to get a particular ingredient that people can easily search for on Google," he said. "The reason they ask me is because they want an opinion or rating from someone they trust and follow."

(Brands should) try to build lasting relationships with influencers who share your approach and ethics

One of his most popular content is his "Creative Cupboard Challenge", in which he asks his audience to tell him three articles in his food cupboards that they are not sure what to do with them and then invents a recipe or a use for them recommends.

Cobley considered what constitutes a successful influencer partnership: “The best people who know the moral and values ​​of a brand are those who stand behind the brand itself. Influencers can help them create great content that sets the right tone and keeps people busy and entertained. "

“(Brands should) try to build lasting relationships with influencers who share your approach and ethics. Ideally, an influencer should be seen as part of the brand family. I usually work with brands that are already part of my lifestyle, ”he added.

The Fifth is an agency for creative influencer marketing that is committed to doing things differently. Combine brands with professional talent.