In the Loop with PR

November 2015

[Insights] 5 Ways Brands Can Embrace the Power of Visual Influencers

The power of the YouTube superstar is well established. Vaseline Arabia's Brand Ambassador Huda Kattan is the Middle East's leading example of a social media influencer achieving world-wide celebrity status amassing a global following of over half a million YouTube subscribers and 6.2 million followers on Instagram.

The new visual economy represents a huge opportunity, both for brands and the creative community. With 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every hour there is an ever increasing pool of creators to add to the mix.

Yet there is one issue; consumer attention spans. So the question becomes how do brands can cut through the clutter?

Here are 5 tips from on how to harness the power of visual influencers.

1. Build Authentic Partnerships

Heather Mitchell, head of global brand PR and social media at Unilever Haircare says consumers want credibility and authenticity. "Women are looking to influencers for advice more so than traditional media and advertising channels."

2. Be Transparent

While brands and agencies love to wax lyrical over the power of 'earned media' the fact remains that many brands are in fact paying for coverage. Leading influencers on Instagram, Vine and You Tube not only demand significant fees, but have agents brokering their deals. Often brands want the content to look earned but ultimately brands' are paying for it.

3. Build Your Own Channels

Of course the goal for many brands is to become media owners in their own right; launching their own channels to better harness the power of this new wave of visual influencers. Unilever created its own channel on YouTube, All Things Hair, to promote its haircare brand and it is populated by a range of global influencers.

"It was such an obvious idea we knew there were over a billion how to searches for haircare advice and how to demonstrations. Women all over the world were wanting to do their hair in certain styles and we partnered with vloggers in key markets to generate advocacy and credibility," explains Unilever's Mitchell.

4. Quality Trumps Quantity When it Comes to Visual Influencers

Securing the most high-profile, or most followed influencer is not always the right strategy for marketers. Instead they should shift their focus to building relationships over time with credible partners. "To me it is about quality not quantity I would much rather choose a partner with journalistic integrity and a credible voice," explains Unilever's Mitchell.

5. Be Platform Agnostic

Unilever's Mitchell states that in the beauty space, print is never going away as it is "so important" for premium beauty brands. She added that Unilever has it's eyes firmly placed on Snapchat for future projects and highlighted the network alongside Pinterest as 'ones to watch'.

[Best Use of Technology] KFC Tray Typer Keyboard is Finger Clickin’ Good

It's a first world solution to a first world problem: a super-thin, rechargeable Bluetooth keyboard that arrives with your tray of fast food, connects to your smartphone, and lets you text with sticky fingers without messing up your screen. Introducing the KFC Tray Typer.

Read more about the campaign here.

KFC - Tray Typer