Partnerships are great. Long-term ones are even better. For brands, they mean stability. Such partnerships, whether B2B or B2C, are essential to keep brands and businesses running and expanding.
Partnerships and Collaborations are not limited to the traditional forms that happen behind the scenes. Influencers too, are becoming a familiar sight in long-term partnerships with Brands.
Long-term collaborations assist in nurturing brand loyalty, credibility and awareness while being more cost-effective than short-term influencer collaborations. Whether you are a new brand trying to establish yourself in a competitive market or a renowned brand that everyone has come to love, long-term influencer collaboration works regardless of where your brand is at. This is because, at different brand stages, this strategy works to reinforce your identity and enhance your positioning.
However, as the name suggests (Long-term), these things take time to root.
Here are 5 strategies for your next marketing consideration.
An extension of your brand, Brand Ambassadors can perhaps be influencers that you choose as part of your online strategy. It has been noted that everyone globally is increasingly consuming information from social media platforms. This then led to the official job title description: Influencers.
When you enlist an influencer, you are in fact, buying closer reach to their followers. They could be a new market that you are entering, or even a target audience that you have been positioning yourself with for the longest time.
Brand Ambassadors are levels ahead of your typical influencer strategy. These are a group of influencers that you can count on to pick your brand against your competitors and advocate strongly for their decision. Sometimes, they still choose you even if they are not compensated in any way.
Brand Ambassadors need to be groomed. They first start off as regular influencers, and if your brand works with a particular like-minded influencer long enough, they slowly neutralise and become associated with you automatically.
To nurture them, perhaps as a brand, you could create opportunities. Which brings us to #2.
Similar to when we are trying to know someone, one meeting is not enough. We need multiple meetings in order to build that connection. One way to roll out such intention in the influencer realm is through a recurring content series. Content series assist in gaining traction and emphasise your brand’s qualities without being too “in-your-face”.
Some brands go for a more subtle approach when it comes to advertising and marketing. They believe in being “organically associated”. Similar to product placements, Product Integration involves, as you have guessed, integrating into an influencer’s life.
The best ideas happen when 2 similar-minded individuals come together. Co-creation functions on a more hands-on approach by the brand to actively engage with the influencer to, yes, create content. It could be participating in brainstorming sessions or building offline connections, co-creating enables an influencer to excel at advocating for a brand in a more guided manner.
Teaming up for events between B2B is no news. An influencer, however, is relatively fresh. It could be as simple as co-hosting a live event together with them or including them in functions for coverage.
In implementing an effective long-term strategy, you need a good foundation for your nurturing ground. This requires a few simple ingredients that will slowly, but surely assist your brand in establishing its roots.
The right influencer will make things 10 times easier for you, and enhance your brand identity in the right manner.
As with any working relationship, understanding is key to enabling strategies and plans to run smoothly. Only when a brand and an influencer can achieve common ground, can that influencer proceed to become an ambassador. Ultimately, you want to allow free reign for the influencer to balance and decide what is best for your brand to reach and impact her target audience.
Other than paid endorsements, sometimes doing a little bit more can enhance the professional relationship you share with the influencer. Eg. Including them in your brand’s festive gifts / Giving them exclusive rights to a giveaway etc. In short, what makes your brand compelling enough for them to always stand by you?
Trust is something that is often taken granted for. As brands, we think we know better, and the same goes for influencers. Circle back to point B, you will realise that most times both parties are learning along as they thread through the waters. There are things that definitely an influencer would understand better, and elements that your brand is more experienced in aligning with. There needs to be open communication and both sides working towards the common objective of strategy success.
Long-term influencer collaborations are typically something that organically grows from smaller projects. They often come with priceless benefits that both parties can benefit from. Increasingly, more brands are seeking to groom micro-influencers (nano sometimes too), because they understand that loyalty plays a primary role.
In growing with micro-influencers, brands can be rest assured that they will have a competitive advantage in that particular influencer, and drive better conversion rates due to the advocacy’s duration. It takes time, effort, and a whole lot of investments that will definitely pay off.