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Influencer-Backed Brands Are The Next Big Thing: Here's Why

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Brooke Lynch
04/30/2021

Contact center news, customer experience, CX trends, call center challenges

Customers have changed the way they shop online, and in 2021 there is no longer one simple path to purchase. Individuals are inspired by their favorite influencers; they seamlessly swipe up on links while they’re clicking through Instagram Stories, and spontaneously purchase recommended products they see on TikTok. 

These new purchasing patterns have led some creators to establish their own brands to capitalize on their unique follower relationships. Influencers, large and small, have been able to transition their current growing social brands into successful direct-to-consumer companies.

Starting a company has become easier and more accessible than ever with platforms like Pietra supporting every aspect of the process from design to manufacturing. By connecting influencers to suppliers, logistics facilities, and designers, the service allows almost anyone (regardless of their following size) to build their own personal product line. 

Additionally, social media platforms also benefit from an influx of new direct-to-consumer brands. Instagram already supports shopping features and intends to implement ‘Creator Shops’ to expand influencer businesses. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg stated, “We see a lot of creators setting up shops too, and one part of being a content creator business model is you create great content, and then you can sell stuff, and so having creator shops is awesome.” 

While all of these resources are incredibly useful for creators, an increase in influencer-backed direct-to-consumer brands may mean a decrease in influencer partnerships or, at the very least, an increase in competition in the social promotion space. However, new influencer brands also offer a unique perspective in building effective engagement and sustaining genuine loyalty in their customer bases that many companies could benefit from.

 

Support as a Unique Selling Point

What makes this influencer brand evolution so special is the heightened level of engagement and rise in ‘support’ purchases that indicate an incredibly meaningful dual-sided brand relationship.

Because influencers share their day-to-day lives with followers, many customers feel they truly know the creator and want to actively support them in their current ventures. Beyond a sense of unconditional support, customers also trust that their favorite influencers will produce a high-quality and effective product. While not all influencers maintain this level of credibility, the ones that do are best equipped to take on their own direct-to-consumer brand.

Additionally, in the saturated influencer marketing landscape customers have become much more aware of obvious sponsored content. Most individuals understand that these shameless product plugs are simply a part of the job, and are willing to look past it when interacting with their favorite influencers — but these persistent advertisements likely don’t enhance or elevate the creator’s feed. Therefore, by developing their own brands, influencers can take control of their revenue streams and sustain more genuine partnerships that actively bolster their personal brands. 

In taking ownership of their own brand, influencers bypass the need for lower-tier product placements and gain a greater sense of credibility in the space. Once they are seen as a more genuine creator, customers will happily support them and any of their future business ventures.

 

Let Customers in on the Process

One of the major advantages influencer brands maintain is their heightened visibility. With influencers sharing their personal lives, they are able to give customers an inside look into all of the products they’re creating.

As creators give consistent updates and sneak peeks of their products, they foster a level of excitement around the launch. Once they finally do release their new brand, customers feel they were a part of the end-to-end journey and are almost obligated to make a purchase.

Building out an ‘inside look’ for customers where the brand teases new products on social platforms or shares unique updates in weekly email newsletters can replicate some of the excitement influencers are able to capture. By focusing on genuine outreach that makes the customer feel they are a part of an exclusive group, companies can work to establish a more fun and interesting tone for their loyal customers. 

 

Influencers are the Experts

Influencers also have an incredibly effective platform to reach their audience and support their overall purchasing process. As both the owner and promoter of their brand, creators are able to provide detailed product information, warn customers about delays and restocks, and even test the product on camera, all in their warm and familiar tone.   

This gives customers an inside look at the product and establishes the influencer as an authentic and credible customer resource. With tools like Q&A’s and private messaging, influencers also manage their brand reputation, provide instant support and resolve customer issues themselves. In a way, the influencer offers a unified front where customers feel welcome to come to them with any problem or praise.

However, it also places the responsibility on the influencer when something goes wrong  — even when it’s out of their hands.

Providing customers with a face or representative for any and all support may help other companies create a more seamless and inviting experience. A role like this does not necessarily need to be filled by an influencer, however, it shows that a credible and genuine representative can be a useful tool in building more meaningful connections with customers.

 

A New Take on The ‘Influencer’ Title

While the influencer career path is becoming more and more prominent, it’s still a title that many avoid adopting. Because social media represents a sort of superficial career path based on appearances and, at times, trivial ideals, many influencers seek other defining attributes to reflect their status as business-savvy leaders.

As newly minted business owners, influencers can leverage their CEO title to be depicted as an entrepreneur rather than just a content creator. While there is still exceptional value in the influencer role, they may gain more success as a multi-dimensional, strategic ‘boss’.

Additionally, with the power of influence and celebrity, these creator-backed businesses should be considered an outstanding threat to long-established brands. With such visibility and access to loyal followers, these smaller companies may be able to acquire a greater share in the market as customers look to a select few influencers for recommendations.

 

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