Top brands such as McDonald’s, Sephora, Red Bull use influencer marketing to achieve great success. With this tactic of paying influencers to publish branded content they create awareness and expand their brand’s reach much faster than using traditional advertising formats.

First, let’s have a look at some statistics. As you can see in this chart the influencer marketing market size worldwide has grown from 6.5 billion in 2019 to 13.8 billion in 2021 U.S. dollars; its value more than doubled in these three years. This indicates that influencers have become increasingly important in the world of advertising.



Is content important for brands? 

In the last years audiences have become much more concerned about how brands behave, what stance they have on certain issues like the environment, sustainability, social issues, such as the black lives matter movement, me too, etc.. Brands are in the spotlight, brands move people with voicing their stance on these issues. 

Customers want to know what they are buying into. This is not just the physical product or the function it serves. Brands convey meaning! Customer buy brands for what they mean to them, how they matter to them. It is about the feeling the brand eludes, the excitement when purchasing a specific brand and the experience you have when consuming that brand. Consumers identify with a brand that cares. Content is relevant for brands to make a difference, to be unique, to shine, to be more meaningful than just making bottom line profits, to leave a legacy behind. Credibility is key, which comprises likability, trustworthiness, and expertise.

Know your client! Then you get it right!
ASK yourself two questions:

  1. Why, how and with what do I serve my market? Use Simon Sinek’s golden circle “Why-How-What”!
  2. Whom do I want to serve? Who is my ideal customer avatar? 


What happens when content meets influencers?

When conveying content via influencers you need to let go of having authority of your content to a certain extent. Imagine, there is this invisible border of control over content. This border beyond which the company needs to release control of its brand. The control largely shifts to the influencer, who in turn pushes content and with it the control to the influencer’s community. You should have the willingness to embrace the fact that content is free to be taken, modified, commented on and appropriated by the community of interest.

Therefore, choose wisely, be selective and smart, whom you are working with, whom you trust your brand, respectively, your content with! Pick the influencers you know personally! Brands must acknowledge that selecting the right influencers shall be on quality instead on the numbers of followers. It is mandatory to identify influencers that are aligned with the brand’s identity and values, no matter how many thousands or even millions of followers an influencer has. Your brand shines through the actions of the influencer. If the influencer is not 100% aligned with the attitude and values of the brand‘s identity, you should not work with him as his audience will quickly notice that the brand is not consistent with the influencer’s personality.  Key is the influencer’s coherence, authenticity and identification with your brand. It is important that an influencer embodies that. You may verify by the following test questions: Does this influencer organically like my brand? Would the influencer use my brand if he were not paid to do so? Remember your brand shines through the influencer’s action. In order to match your brand with the right social media influencer, you may consult an influencer marketing platform or agency to help facilitate and create influencer marketing campaigns. Over 1000 marketing platform and agencies are out there worldwide that are devoted to influencer marketing strategies.

Great content is indispensable for a successful marketing strategy. Especially for purpose driven brands, which foremost provide content about why and how and what they do in order to make the world a better place. Content is also the key in influencer marketing and ergo is critical to drive these brands’ success. The role of the influencer is to amplify, to push the brand’s message to new heights, which content marketing alone is not able to in this cluttered world. 

  • Now and in the future, for sure, it is vital to drive engagement, to start meaningful conversations with critical branded content and to nurture relationships with followers! It is critical to make your audience stick to your brand and keep the brand continuously relevant! Be a servant to your brand’s community. You want your brand to be your audience‘s constant companion. Real influencers know, understand and are doing exactly this! Influencers are those who engage in relevant and meaningful ways with brands’ audiences. They do that without being salesy and without using advertising language in their interactions.
  • Influencers help build brand awareness. People trust messages that come from someone they can relate to more as they see an influencer as one of them or they admire and look up to.
  • Getting influencers to retweet, reblog, and endorse your content will help with SEO.

Instagram is one of the most popular social networks for brands to connect via influencers with their audiences.  Especially beauty brands have been successful on this most popular photo sharing platform with influencers promoting their content. Brands are ranking high with numbers of Instagram followers, such as Kylie Cosmetics with 24.2 million and MAC Cosmetics with 23.66 million as of June 2020.  



When we bring branded content and influencer marketing on a global level there are some factors that need to be considered: 

  • You might be successful with one single strategy in many markets but not in all. The more culturally different and diverse markets are the more you need to think of adapting to local markets customers’ needs, wants, desires and behaviors. 
  • For customers brands are an extension of themselves, they want to feel identified with brands that speak to them. This must be viewed even more critically in culturally diverse markets. Brands need to translate that into their communications strategies; the motto is “be GLOCAL”, “global look and local touch”, local in terms of proximity and authenticity with engagement across all customers’ touch points. For example, big markets such as China and India prefer their local influencers, customers admire and can relate to and identify with. These local influencers perfectly deliver the message using exactly the language necessary to meaningfully convey brands’ content.

Two examples that showcase a successful marriage of content and influencers:

Dove’s #ShowUs campaign – powerful and purpose driven

With this campaign Dove encouraged women regardless of their color, size or background to speak up, to voice themselves, who are proud of their difference, to tell their story. These women are fantastic influencers as they mirror the life’s of others who can 100% identify themselves with them, help increase their confidence, help them to be their true self, help them to own their brilliance, give them a voice. Providing a community to share and giving them a feeling of not being alone out there.

Another interesting Dove campaign which goes along the same lines: #doveselfesteemproject

Under Armour #unlikeany #iwill – a brand giving influencers control over content and ultimately the creative freedom

In their pursuit to engage more of their female customers they reached out to female fitness influencers who were already associated with that target audience. Under Armour gave them a creative license to freely create content while working out in Under Armour’s newest collection. By giving influencers creative control, with only a topic briefing and an overall direction of #unlikeany and #iwill, it allowed them to create compelling content that was highly engaging. Letting them create inspiring unique and relatable content around their key brand message was key. In other words, by trusting influencers – you have wisely chosen in the first place – with your content you are likely to be more successful as your message comes across much more authentic. If you ignore influencers’ creativity you lose the value of authenticity! 

Branded content alone is not enough to drive effective branding. Therefore influencer marketing is a perfect fit, if you do it right!


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