How to use influencer marketing to change brand perception

The story from our influencer marketing event 

This week, we hosted a rather marvellous Brilliant Noise event. We produce these events to share our thoughts on whatever it is that’s been getting us excited recently. This time, that’s been the power of influencer marketing – when done right. 

We met in a hot, grand room at the House of Barnabas in Soho. At first, it was sunny and the sun streamed in through the huge windows. But soon, the heavens opened and thunder and lightning framed our panel during the Q&A session. It was quite the dramatic backdrop to some pretty big thinking. 

This year, we produced a branded content campaign for our clients EDF Energy called Electric Adventures, which got an average watch time of 03:40 on YouTube. Our brief from the EDF Energy Sales and Marketing Director had been to outperform the typical 30 second watch time expected for traditional TV advertising. So we’d smashed this important KPI. 

To get this kind of engagement for any brand is really good, but to get this kind of engagement for a brand that its customers actively disengage from, is even better. 

A lot of things need to be going very right to achieve these kinds of results. 

As well as friends, colleagues and clients from brands including Nestlé, Clarks, Made.com and the BBC, everyone who made this campaign succeed was in the room – our client from EDF Energy, the creative team from Brilliant Noise, our film production partner Be The Fox and our talent agency Gleam Futures

Here’s the story of how we did it, and a few things we learned about how to use influencer marketing to change brand perception along the way.

Electric Adventures

EDF Energy needed a new way to engage current customers and reach out to new ones. They needed to change brand perception from being a functional energy provider and become known for innovation in low-carbon. 

They’d developed a new end-to-end electric car package to customers – so the brief to us was: how do we launch a new and unexpected proposition from an unexpected brand to a largely uninterested and disengaged audience?

The answer is data-led creative. We started with search opportunities – what was the current state of content about electric cars, what were people searching for, what did they want to know, and what questions and confusions did they have? 

Then, we used the EDF Energy personas to identify the kinds of audiences we needed to reach. We quickly decided we wanted to partner with people who could help us reach these audiences and bring warmth and emotion to the campaign. None of the content was going to be scripted, and we wanted to make real stories of fear, discovery and adventure.

So we looked for content creators who could do a number of different things:

  • Respect the brand tone of voice without losing their own
  • Create meaningful stories with integrity
  • Collaborate

From here, Electric Adventures was born – an influencer-led road trip to bust the myths about electric vehicles. Or as we prefer to call it: How a road trip can get you new friends. Because after all, the best way to sell something: don’t sell anything. 

So far, Electric Adventures has reached one million+ people. We attribute its success in large part to these five rules:

  • Know your audience
  • Get the right content creators
  • Have a strong creative vision
  • Co-create a human interest story 
  • Be clear on your KPIs

Influencer marketing to change brand perception 

In 2010, there were 9,000 content creators on the internet. Today, there are closer to 25,000,000. So how do you choose the right one? The answer is: by using a strategic approach. 

As with most things, you can avoid problems if you plan for them in advance. Brand safety is one of the most important factors when working with content creators. But if you do your groundwork first: thoroughly research who you’re working with, prepare for backlash and set solid KPIs, you can avoid budget waste, heartache and lacklustre results. 

We partnered with Gleam Futures – the UK’s best digital-first talent agency to help us find the perfect influencers for the campaign. They helped us boost the talent’s content so more people saw it across social media. They also provided us with some of the key reporting data from the talent social accounts we needed to track the campaign success. 

In order to find the right talent, you will always need a mixture of both data and instinct: the objective and the subjective. The data is important to ensure that you’re reaching the right audience, but it should never be the main driver. 

Objective  

  • Audience demographics
  • Location
  • Scale (reach, impressions)
  • Audience relationship (views, engagement)

Subjective

  • Brand fit
  • Tone of voice
  • Brand safety
  • Quality of content
  • Professionalism

Good content will always create some sort of emotional reaction. And no algorithm will ever be able to comprehend emotion and creativity – so experience will always be integral in this process.

In order to create perception-changing branded content, you need to have a robust process. Working with content creators will always be high risk, but high reward. To succeed, brands need to be willing to give up control and trust the process. 

The magic formula

There’s a magic formula for successful multi-channel influencer-led creative marketing campaigns. 

At Brilliant Noise, we call this magic formula Integrated Influencer Marketing.

When you have the right collaboration partners, the right mindset, and the right vision, you’re able to achieve those magic moments everyone wants. You can create the stories that people want to spend time with.  

This is how you achieve an average watch time of 03:40. 

Watch out for our Integrated Influencer Marketing manifesto, which will be coming very soon. 

But in the meantime, we’d love to chat to you about creating these kind of results for you.