Much has been said about the impact of influencer marketing over the last 18 months and a vast majority of that commentary has questioned the real value that influencer marketing can bring to a comms strategy.

For those new to the concept, businesses are collaborating with people who have built highly engaged, large networks to spread awareness of products and in turn increase sales. The truth is that this is nothing new; brands have always used strategic product placement, but in today’s social landscape it’s a different ball game.

Everyone born into the digital age now wants to be an influencer – getting paid to take pictures of yourself with branded products sounds like a fun career, right? And whilst saturated, this career path has opened up to more than just high profile celebrities. Authenticity and real life perspective has suddenly become valued, and micro-influencers are popping up everywhere.

The pursuit of influencer status has become so desired that people are even conning brands, with accounts purchasing high volumes of fake followers when selling their services. (Fake accounts = bots = zero value).

Putting that aside, can influencer marketing really work? And what about businesses and brands in the Channel Islands

The answer is yes.

Being such a small jurisdiction, our local markets are incredibly accessible and influencers don’t have to be superstars! These “micro-influencers” are genuinely authentic and the fraudulent activity of fake follower numbers doesn’t have a role to play.

Whether this be local athletes who have made a name in the game, everybody’s favourite radio hosts, industry leaders with clout, or champions of local charities, the perfect cause represented through a fitting name can really create an impact.

With an understanding of our local communities and knowing what they engage with and where their interests and opinions lie, you can then decide how your campaign can suitably engage with influencers and gain traction.

Influence amongst the influencers

We’ve worked with a variety of organisations over the years from many alternative angles. Whether thats been changing public perception of Guernsey Harbours by putting their workers at the fore to improve understanding of their responsibilities and the brilliant work that they do, to global marketing campaigns of product focused brands, such as Blue Bottle Gin. Both of these examples utilised influencers, whether stakeholders, staff or heavyweight brand names of a similar focus point.

The most high profile local example however, was our “My Voice, My Vote” campaign for the 2016 States of Guernsey Election.  We rebuilt and refocused the identity of the process and took it to the people. For the first time, social media was at the heart of local politics, but the biggest change was the angle from which we lead the whole campaign.

We felt that the priority was to improve the perception of the voting process and why it is so important for islanders. Rather than putting the same old spotlight on the standing electorate themselves, we chose to instead work with established and influential names from many differing angles locally – through the people, for the people.

Tony Vance from Guernsey FC, Dame Mary Perkins from Specsavers, Wayne Bulpitt from Guernsey Scouts, Chris ‘Ozy’ Chadwick from Greenman Motorcycle Club, Anna Brehaut from Guernsey Language Commission and many more. By putting themselves forward on behalf of the public and explaining why they would be voting, islanders could relate and in turn their perception of the process was changed forever.

Result: Despite an all time low of voter apathy, our campaigns exceeded the two previous year’s sign-ups to the electoral roll and engaged and inspired a larger proportion of the demographic to understand why their vote mattered. 

Could you harness the power of people to invigorate your brands position in the market? We’re always happy to chat over coffee(s) about how we can work with you to make things happen!

(Photography by Etienne Laine)

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