While brand ‘influencers’ aren’t a new concept, they have taken on a new persona in the twenty-first century. Not long ago, the extent of an influencer was an A-list celebrity becoming the new face of a brand like Pepsi circa Britney Spears or Cindy Crawford and their iconic commercials for the soda.
Today the business of influencers has evolved. It has moved away from solely using high profile ad campaigns, to more grassroots marketing using social media. There has been a shift away from celebrities to “personalities”. Brands are learning that they don’t have to engage with the most famous or most followed individuals. Rather, they can work with someone who truly fits their brand values.
More and more brands are looking to work with people who have a unique point of view and whose followers appreciate and trust their opinion because it’s their own. Nowadays, brands are using influencer engagement to measure success when it comes to influencer campaigns, and not number of followers.
The Middle East is no exception, with companies investing more into influencer campaigns. Digital in 2017, a recent report by Hootsuite and We Are Social, revealed that Qatar and the UAE are ranked first and second globally when it comes to social media use per capita, making the business of influencers a burgeoning one. The region has embraced social media as a means of expression that isn’t always available through traditional media and the youth population is increasingly looking to those platforms for information and news – making the opinion of influencers more impactful.
The impact of influencers in the region will continue to grow and it’s up to brands to choose wisely to ensure the best bang for their buck, so to speak.