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Alchemy Group's Dharika Merchant writes how we are heading towards a more meaningful form of digital marketing.
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Impact of COVID-19 on the influencer marketing industry

Alchemy Group's Dharika Merchant writes how we are heading towards a more meaningful form of digital marketing.
  • Dharika Merchant, COO, WORD and Alchemy Group writes how we are heading towards a more meaningful form of digital marketing with influencers spearheading the efforts.
  • While agencies are witnessing a drop in brand campaigns owing to the sudden disruption, Merchant says the situation can be turned by educating the brands about the importance of influencer marketing .
A few weeks back, I came across this video on TikTok, featuring a snappy, singable Vietnamese song accompanied with a fun dance about the importance of washing hands. The video garnered around 2 million views on the social platform. The impact was huge. So, if you ask me how much of an impact COVID-19 has had on the influencer marketing industry, I’d say that we’re heading towards a more meaningful form of digital marketing with influencers spearheading the efforts.

Most of us consider that a quarantine situation has negatively impacted the influencer marketing industry. Contrary to popular belief, brands are now shifting their focus to be more sensitive to the present situation by leveraging digital influencers to spread the message of safety and health. I can’t deny the fact that many influencer marketing agencies are witnessing a drop in brand campaigns owing to the sudden disruption. But, if we could just turn the tables around and educate brands about the importance of influencer marketing in spreading the right kind of information, a lot can happen in the influencer marketing industry. And it is.

Brands Promises Entertainment

Consumers are now sitting at home, consuming online content at a rate that has never been envisaged before. The current conversation brands are taking advantage of is to engage the audience in a manner that’s community-driven. It is the right time to take up influencer-activations seriously because influencers too are facing the brunt of the quarantine situation. In this unprecedented time, consumers expect brands to remain sensitive while giving them options of entertainment to choose from. They have given consumers exactly that, on a silver platter, with the help of influencers.

Awareness Generation

As mentioned in the example above, brands have slowly started to move towards influencer marketing to create awareness by finding unique ways to provide value to their consumers. Since influencers have the capability to make their homes into their workspaces, they can definitely act as spearheaders in generating awareness to millions of their followers. We are currently witnessing a slow rise in many brands banking on influencer marketing to spread their word and awareness via influencers.

Educating More Than Selling

Let’s face it; now it is not the right time for brands to explicitly sell their offerings to their audience without taking the unprecedented situation into consideration. That’s exactly why we brands have started to use influencer marketing to creatively and subtly integrate their products while taking a strong stand against COVID-19. After all, influencers help give any campaign momentum; that’s the beauty of it.

Innovation is Key

COVID-19 is a gentle reminder for brands to find innovative ways to engage with their audience virtually. We are already seeing brand collaborations with influencers across all categories such as food, fitness, beauty, etc. that are trying to disrupt digital content innovatively. Brands have started to take advantage of virtual communication via influencer-integrated campaigns to make the best out of the bad situation.

Brands are now thinking in terms of how they can help their consumers rather than capitalizing on the situation, making their partnerships with influencers more purposeful. Cashing in on an influencer's creativity to show initiative is the need of the hour. Even though a few brands are taking the onus of spreading the right kind of message, we are yet to see many other brands take the influencer marketing route as the solution to remain relevant. The trickle-down effect has started, and it will boom in a while.

- By Dharika Merchant, COO, WORD and Alchemy Group

COVID-19IndiaCases: 226,770Deaths: 6,348Recovered: 109,462
COVID-19WorldCases: 6.42mnDeaths: 383kRecovered: 2.87mn
COVID-19USACases: 1.82mnDeaths: 106kRecovered: 485k