DIRECT MEDIA United Solutions
By: Voljena Daničić, Head of Creative, DIRECT MEDIA United Solutions
Once the coronavirus pandemic was declared, many influencer activations — on a global scale — were either suspended or postponed or even canceled altogether. Clients literally hit the brakes on nearly all activities, the reason being simple: No one knew what tomorrow would bring.
Companies immediately started to review their budgets. The funds intended for influencer activations were reallocated to more tangible forms of advertising that can always be monitored through sales, or redirected to help their host countries, their fellow citizens, and their employees.
Influencers themselves also revised — well, almost everything. Although well-prepared to execute activations from their homes during the pandemic, they were unable to do work that involved travel, sports, promotion, and hospitality. Influencers involved in ambassador programs of course stayed in touch with the affiliated companies, as did the companies with them, so we noticed that a lot of these campaigns continued during the lockdown, with brands sending their products to home addresses in order to maintain the communication and good relationships.
Food delivery companies were extremely active during the lockdown. For example, WOLT recognized the moment and seized the opportunity for daily product placement posts, primarily on Instagram stories.
During the lockdown period, social media became a breeding ground for challenges — every day a new challenge was popping up. Some were associated with brands (IKEA), many were not (and could have been), and this was also one of the ideal moments for maintaining communication with consumers through influencer activations.
Some social media features became much more popular than before, for example Instagram Live was extremely appealing because people needed to feel more connected to their audience than ever. One good example comes from the fitness world, with various global fitness influencers switching their training sessions to live streaming and profiting from the situation. Another good example are make-up influencers who taught their skills live, as well as those who center on cooking and usually blog about it.
As weeks went by, brands started to join in on these stunts and activations and managed to combine nice and useful, staying active and relevant among their target audiences.
Influencer marketing (word-of-mouth) was ideal from the very outset for promoting targeted campaigns, using often a very wide impact reach to convey a specific message. During the lockdown, influencers were key in promoting staying home through viral videos and photos with often several of them taking part in this content.
Finland hired a number of influencers at the national level to communicate information about the pandemic and protection measures through their posts, encouraging people to apply them. Furthermore, the World Health Organization hired a number of people who promoted active hand washing, once again through challenges, with global celebrities joining in (Selena Gomez, Kate Winslet, etc.).
Excess leisure brought out the most creative content so far from a large number of influencers, and the biggest winner in the entire situation was TikTok. The number of downloads and new accounts during March spiked by 27% compared with the previous month. The number of new accounts and downloads has long since exceeded 300 million worldwide. While scrolling through the app, you will notice droves of creatives who recorded true little masterpieces in their homes. What we haven’t noticed is a bigger number of sponsored posts, which we think it’s high time to change, as well.
Finally, what we will surely see in the future and the trend that will continue is content centered around creative solutions. These could include tutorials, tips about influencer niches (fitness, cooking, DIY, etc.), or advice on self-help and well-being. Also very active will be interactive content, challenges, and collaborations among influencers — in short, anything that can help audiences make this still uncertain time as pleasant and fun as possible.
We are here to present these opportunities to companies and brands and propose activations that will continue successfully after the pandemic ends.