Keeping it Real: How Influencers are Giving Brands an Authentic Voice

 

By Mary Kate Dorr, Client Success Associate

My New Year’s Resolution to be nicer to my body recently led me to a hot yoga class that was brimming at capacity; mat-to-mat, I noticed the bodies surrounding me were drastically different from those highlighted on my Instagram and Facebook feeds. Unfiltered, my neighboring yogis had bandages and bruises, visible pores and skin that tightened and folded as they moved. The realness of these bodies that mirrored my own was a welcome alternative to the advertisements I always seem to scroll past. 

Recent Health & Wellness trends—from Whole30 meal planning to the Swedish-borne hygge lifestyle—are all fighting against a larger shift in culture: a desire for authenticity. In a world where people are shutting off their digital channels to airbrushed images and brand-centric advertisements with ad blockers, authenticity is rarer (and simultaneously more sought after) than ever.  

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Some of our favorite Whole30 stories from Muse Whole30 Buffalo Chicken Meatballs by Physical Kitchness  & Whole30 Apple Parfait by The Almond Eater 

 Brands are noticing, too.

 Weight Watchers has re-evaluated the point value assigned to more than 200 foods, allowing dieters to essentially eat as much as they want of healthier foods while in the program. CVS  and American Eagle are pushing to give consumers a realistic, recognizable portrayal of beauty. Fast food chains like Panera and Chipotle are more transparent than ever with nutritional information, including where the food is sourced from. Even social platforms like Facebook are taking steps to provide a personalized experience for users, with a new algorithm determined to avoid unwanted soliciting. 

As brands work to provide a more honest, genuine experience for consumers, it’s our job as marketers to do the same. With this increased demand for authenticity comes a solution in the form of influencer marketing. 

A brand boasting about their product or service is no longer authentic: it’s business. And while advertisements still hold value in the market, consumers are continually being bombarded with product after service after product. There’s only so much impact a flashy, innovative, or sentimental ad can have on buyer behavior when the buyer is exposed to hundreds of ads a day. 

But a familiar face exploring a product or service, demonstrating its usefulness and how you—the consumer—can use it in your daily life? That’s the kind of authenticity consumers are really looking for.

Influencers bridge the gap between advertising and authenticity. They too are consumers, bringing a product into their home or introducing it to their family. They can speak to the value of a product and introduce new usage occasions—all from a voice that sounds familiar to the reader. The influencer’s audience can see the product—not on a shelf or in a flashy photoshoot—but in a home that likely looks a lot like their own.  

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For their holiday campaign, Frito-Lay wanted to reach consumers with real, relatable, no-fuss party content—like these Tips For Throwing A Holiday PJ Party by Oak + Oats, featuring the brand's holiday product bundle in a real home, being used by real people. 

 

Albeit more genuine than traditional marketing techniques, the influencer marketing industry is not free from inauthenticity—and in some cases, flat out dishonesty. While using a “real person” to advocate for your brand is way more real than a celebrity or other anonymous figure in a TV commercial, it makes no sense to work with an influencer who is directly contradicting your brand—no matter how appealing they might be. 

If your company values wellness and produces a line of health-conscious products, it makes little sense to work with an influencer that specializes in baking sugary or otherwise unhealthy treats. Not only will you be sending out the wrong message by working with that influencer, you’ll also be hitting the wrong audience—it’s a lose-lose for both parties. 

At Ahalogy, one of the very first steps we take when vetting out an influencer to work on a new campaign is to evaluate their compatibility with the brand they will be partnering with. We do this in a number of ways—from auditing their following with third-party verification tools like Moat Analytics to sifting through their social posts to (1) make sure they possess the same personality and values of your brand and (2) ensure they aren’t also advocates for your brand’s direct competitors. 

So, next time you decide to launch an influencer marketing campaign, remember that working with influencers alone is not enough. Authenticity is hard to come by in today’s ever-changing digital landscape, so partner with a company that can strike that delicate balance between brand control and maintaining the authentic voice only an influencer can provide. 

See how Ahalogy can help bring your influencer marketing efforts to the next level—drop us a line today at ahalogy.com/contact.