Expectations VS Reality: KOLs Content Direction
During the pandemic, as we are stuck at home, more and more people are turning to YouTube for their daily entertainment, especially so with YouTubers’ Day in a Life or Tour of type content, where audiences are taken through a journey in the Influencers' day-to-day life. The appeal of these lifestyle vlogs is that it provides the audiences with a sense of relatability and comfort, especially for those who are living alone.
With the rise of popularity among these lifestyle videos, brands are also starting to leverage these types of lifestyle vlogs to include their brand mentions, in a form of sponsorships. However, as a brand, it is understandable and preferred for Influencers to not feature any other brands aside from which is sponsored, while also to feature the particular brand within the early part of the video, in order to ensure that the vloggers’ viewers are exposed to the sponsored brand.
Although it may be understandable from a brand's perspective, however, each Vlogger/Influencer is familiar with their own audiences’, and it is in the Vloggers/Influencer’s own professional opinion where they would advise the brand on what is the best outcome for the brand. Nevertheless, more often than not, these brands tend to overlook the Vlogger/Influencer’s professional advice, which in turn would at times, create an unsatisfactory outcome for both the brand and the Influencer.
In this article, we will be listing out 3 Expectations vs Reality when it comes to a brand leveraging on an Influencer’s platform.
1. Soft Sell vs Hard Sell
As mentioned in the earlier portion of this article, most brands tend to prefer their sponsored product to be placed up front, preferably at the start of the Influencer’s lifestyle video. The purpose of doing so is to avoid the Influencer’s audience from missing out on the product featured and highlighted by the brand.
However, the reality of doing so is that, while each social media platform differs from one another, it then translates back to each social media platform having its own purpose. With Lifestyle Vlogs created by Influencers on YouTube, it is important that the video created is as soft-sell as possible, compared to a sponsored post created on Instagram, where the Influencer is able to solely create a short 1 - 2 Minute video specifically for the brand and product itself. The emphasis of soft-sell content on YouTube is due to the Influencers' audience's main purpose of watching their vlog is so that they are able to relate with their favorite Influencers, rather than being bombarded with branded content 1-3 minutes into the Influencers 10-minute vlog. Instead, it will be more beneficial for the brand when their sponsored content is featured mid-way to the end of the YouTube video, to guarantee the audiences are able to feel that although the video curated by the Influencer is indeed Sponsored content, however, their initial need of watching a video to feel related to their Influencer is met.
2. Clear Branding vs Casual Mention of Brand
With sponsored postings, it is a given that the brand would prefer that their product is seen clearly, that there is no obstruction to the product and the brand.
However, with lifestyle-like content on YouTube, It is significantly different from clearly sponsored content on Instagram. When Sponsored content is created by the Influencer on Instagram, it will be specifically tailored to the brand and the product, through a short storytelling-like video.
However on YouTube, in order to ensure that the Influencer is able to create a Sponsored video to match with their lifestyle content, it can be difficult for the Influencer to clearly show the brand while keeping their audiences engaged. Hence, it could be beneficial for the Influencers to mention the brand in a subtle manner.
3. Content That Suits the Influencers
When engaging with an Influencer to feature the brand’s products, it is important to understand the Influencer’s style of content creation, as well as their target audiences. Some Influencers, even though they may seem to fit in with an image - such as being someone athletic, beauty-centric, etc; however, it is important to look at what kind of content that the Influencer would churn out. Some Influencers may prefer to create content that is subtle, which is what their audiences are drawn to - in the sense that they do not like to over-exaggerate a makeup look or to feature themselves doing out-of-the-ordinary activities. However, by insisting that these Influencers create content that may seem out of the ordinary from their usual content creation, it can result in overly obvious branding content, which their audiences will automatically avoid.
In order to combat this, it is advisable to listen to the Influencer, and actively participate in creative discussions with the Influencers to ensure that the content fits both the Influencer as well as the brand, this will in turn allow for better sentiments from their audiences.
In conclusion, although an Influencer’s platform is another means for brands to be able to feature their products in, to allow for a better spread of brand awareness. It is also important to remember that engaging an Influencer is a means of a collaborative effort between the brand and the content creator, to allow for a better and more effective content creation, that leverages on creating subtle curiosity and wants among the public, but also could have the potential to position the brand as a certain perception to the public when tied to the right Influencer. It is also important to remember that the public is bombarded with advertisements every day, and as important as it is to create awareness about the brand, it is also important to understand what the public wants, and what their preferred way of receiving a branded messaging is. Fortunately, this insight can be provided to the brand through the Influencers, who have built a relationship with their audiences, to know their preference.