If I was anyone’s type on paper, we’d be off to a good start but we can only dream. Love Island has quickly become our favourite trash TV hit, with its transgressive nature making a fresh change from the comfortable norms of standard British TV and societal expectations. We can’t help but love bad TV – we’re addicted, and for brands, big or small, this is great news. Using the Kems and Ambers of the world is quickly becoming a common and successful marketing tool, and TV shows like Love Island churn out Z-List celebrities like they’re going out of date (excuse the pun). By accessing the regular and engaged audiences of these celebrities/digital influencers, a brand can feel a lot safer putting all their eggs into one basket and trust that consumers will be swayed.
Having your product promoted by a digital influencer is fast becoming an effective marketing strategy as it seems natural, authentic and trustworthy. Students are a fast-growing target market for online influencers as they tend to be less receptive to the usual above the line media campaigns. As a marketing model, recommendations from digital influencers or BNOCs (Big Names On Campus – I was never cool enough to know what the acronym stood for either) serve as a subtle and gentle nudge to audiences to notice brands and products which might otherwise be overlooked in all the noise and competition from others in the mass market. Students and millennials (those currently aged 18-35) listen to their peers and digital influencers for their trusted opinion of a product/service. This is largely down to the freedom that influencers have to promote to their audiences, within reason. (Although some influences may need a quick reality check; Harley Judge from the most recent Love Island recently posted about “remembering your roots” – mate, you got booted off a reality TV show on ITV2 due to being as interesting as watching paint dry.) Despite the sometimes questionable calibre of digital influencers, this style of marketing does save brands having to come up with their own creative content as they can rely on influencers to use their own tools to spread awareness of the product/service.
A brand using BNOCs and influencers at universities will understand the value and effect they have on specific targeted audiences. 91% of students prefer to take recommendations or buy a product from their friends, due to the trust built between peers. This relatively cheap and cost-effective strategy can build awareness, increase customer acquisition, and encourage repeat custom. For the students working alongside the brands, it gives them a chance to be a part of something bigger and grow the interpersonal skills needed for later life, not to mention an impressive notch on their CV.
So, whether or not it’s Joe Bloggs on campus or it’s the loveable duo Jamilla (before we realised Jonny was a ****), using current and trusted influencers is a smart and popular strategy that can produce impressive results.