Kylie Jenner & Snap. No, she's not the saviour of Influencer marketing

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There have been a lot of posts suggesting that Kylie is the "saviour" of Influencer marketing after supposedly wiping over a billion Dollars off of the value of Snapchat with her short Tweet critique about the service.

Oh what short memories we have. Kylie is a celebrity, she's an endorsement vehicle, and she has her uses for brands, but she's not the saviour of Influencer marketing - infact she's a big ol distraction. Its actually very hard to prove that her Tweet had anything to do with the stock fall, much more plausible is Citi downgrading Snapchat because of the raft of negative comments about the redesign, it was already falling pre tweet and I cant see any correlation at all  - but that's not such a great story in it.

Also shes given it the thumbs up again - I havn't seen much news on that?


Courtesy of Twitter

Courtesy of Twitter

Power Influencers / celebrities like Kylie are best used to drive amplification of a message and create aspiration, but, they can only do this if they are credibly attached to the message / values of the product. So Kylie can amplify an existing message that she is close too  very effectively. In this case, everybody hates the new Snap interface, she is a massive social media user, therefore shes credible when she comments on it (its why the engagement on that comment was so high). The opposite also applies and is beautifully illustrated by Kendall Jenner and the Pepsi fiasco. Kendall has basically never shown any interest in political movements so to be front and centre of an Ad campaign that links itself to Black Lives Matter is just stupid beyond belief and makes me think no one at Pepsi even bothered to look at Kendall and figure out what she did and didn't have authority on - they just looked at her Scale and off to the races they went .

And that's the problem with looking at Kylie as an Influencer marketing "saviour". She is mostly used at one end of very very long Influencer marketing curve - and she's at the bit that reads "Advertising". She is used as an advertising vehicle, paid to wear and promote a product - that's legitimate but it's a small part of Influencer marketing, and by focusing on it and her we get all caught-up and confused thinking Influencer marketing is about "Scale", as opposed to influence. Before you know it marketing Directors are demanding their agencies find Influencer with massive followings, then you throw in some fake followers and we have an industry disaster.

Influencer marketing campaigns should focus on seeking engagement and response - that's the metric to look at - not scale, and there are some very effective ways of doing this. When it comes to Kylie and her own make-up range for example, she is seen as someone who has authority on the subject and the engagement is strong. Utilising Influencers who have true authority on a subject (Niche Influencers) or utilising Influencers who are our friends and we completely trust (Local heroes) is the other side of Influencer marketing. They give brands credibility and sales, at Kylie's end it's mainly about awareness, aspiration and their own product, that's important, but only one part of the Influencer marketing mix.

A good way of thinking about this  is "Scale is inverse to trust" (check out the link below - i've got a chart that goes into this) - normally the bigger the following, the less they are trusted. When you get into the mega millions of followers it is normally "lifestyle" that the followers are buying into - they don't necessarily trust the opinion of the Influencer.

So when it comes to Influencer marketing, what Kylie has highlighted is what we as professional marketers should already know, firstly, brands should only work with Influencers who connect to the values of their product or service, and secondly, Influencer advertising can be a powerful tool, but its only one part of the Influencer marketing mix.

Dudley Nevill-Spencer