Wednesday, 6 March 2019
Marketing, like farming, is an ever-evolving entity as technology and social economics continue to change. One of the biggest changes in marketing we’ve witnessed in the past 10 years is the rise of the online influencer. And who can blame consumers who are looking for some trusted sources of information? While using influencers is not a new way to market products and brands – just ask Coco Cola who introduced Santa Claus on its Christmas packaging in the 1920s – it is a form of marketing which is only going to become more and more prevalent.
However, even the type of influencer is changing, as consumers are looking for more and more authenticity. According to Marketing Week, influencer marketing is currently valued at £3.9bn globally, with 50% of consumers stating they are ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to purchase an item if it was promoted by someone with a smaller following (than an A-list celebrity) who was considered a specialist in that area. For the work we do at AHDB, it is important to use the right influencer for the right job. As a statutory levy board we are not a brand consumers come into contact with. Therefore, in order to get our messages heard, we need to marry the right influencer – based on their expertise and who their audiences are – with our corporate need.
For example, in our latest midweek meal pork campaign, we have partnered with health and fitness guru Lucy Mecklenburgh, as health is a key component of our campaign, which launched in January. Lucy’s 3 million plus followers are our target audience, who are looking for healthy ways to enjoy food. Whilst Lucy is not known for her cooking, she is known for
being in great shape. Therefore, her followers seeing Lucy cook with and eating pork will take away the knowledge that pork can be healthy, quick and easy, and think ‘if it’s good
enough for Lucy, it’s good enough for me!’ Using a range of influencers simultaneously is also very common. As part of the work we do for Red Meat & Health, we partnered with three well-known faces to communicate the versatility and nutritional value of red meat. Shane Williams MBE, Thom Evans and Angellica Bell all posted videos which featured key health messages while inspiring their audiences with delicious red meat dishes. Centring the activity around a timely event can help to gain traction. For us, we specifically used ex-rugby players, so they could talk with authority around the Six Nations competition. To date, the videos have reached 1.2 million people, and nearly 500,000 have engaged with them – and the activity has not finished yet! This is a fantastic (interim!) result for red meat and health.
For any brand, changing a perception is more difficult than changing a behaviour. In our case, we are trying to reach consumers who have very strong opinions about red meat. In fact, 24% of consumers are claiming to eat less red meat than previously. By partnering with influencers who already have a trusted following, who believe in and deliver our message that red meat can form part of a healthy balanced diet, we can begin to chip away at this belief and educate consumers on the healthy benefits – and joy – eating red meat can provide.