“Can the seeding impact be guaranteed?"
"How much sales will be achieved?"
"Why do online celebrities/KOLs cost so much?"
“Can the seeding impact be guaranteed?"
"How much sales will be achieved?"
Those are the typical questions brands raise when proposed to cooperate with KOLs.
To market and promote with effectiveness, using KOLs has become one of the go-to means for most brands, and is even regarded by many as the perfect way to improve product awareness and expand brand influence rapidly. But the high cost of KOLs tends to come with hesitations: If KOLs are only responsible for the content and its release, and not for the advertising’s sales conversion, then who is supposed to bear that risk of advertising?
In fact, KOLs do also bear a risk of losing fans due to mismatched advertising content. Therefore, in this era of brand communication and sales conversion, what should KOL marketing strategy look like?
Discover in this article how to help an international brand successfully achieve localization in China through PLTFRM’s approach.
Clever strategy increases brand awareness
Our client is a well-known fortune 500 retail company in Switzerland and Europe, but brand new to Chinese consumers. When it entered China in 2016, localization of international brands became the first challenge.
How can Chinese consumers quickly become aware of the company? The answer lies in PLTFRM's strategy for brands. PLTFRM believes that if a brand wants to change from unfamiliar to familiar in consumers' mind, it needs to first work on consistency.
Consistent visual recognition, brand positioning, Chinese name. Not all international brands follow this path. PLTFRM helped the client rename itself in Chinese. We also designed a complete set of visual styles and product photoshoots for the brand, which allowed it China localization project to take a leap forward. At the same time, this focus on consistency in the early stage of marketing undoubtedly paves the way for possible KOL marketing in later stages, ensuring search keywords and visual styles’ consistency when seeding.
Imagine this stage as a potential customer who we’ll call Bob walks by a store and notices a product through the window. He is eager to go into the store and have a closer look. The customer’s interest in the product demonstrates the effectiveness of the product and the brand’s display, as Bob has already gained an initial understanding of the brand and the product. This serves as the initial brand-building strategy and the first step towards sales conversion.
Managing media channels to boost brand volume
When the brand has finished all the early stage preparations, the next step is figuring out how to broadcast the brand and optimizing the positive perceptions from target consumers. According to PLTFRM, the brands need to reach out to their target audience in their own environment before being able to capture them.
In other words, Bob has now entered the store and the shop’s staff is actively communicating with the customer. This further introduces the product and brand to him, inching closer and closer to the purchase. In the current era where attention is scarce, branding plays an important role in facilitating the purchase. The brand needs to use channels to interact with consumers and capture the target customers.
So we shot and produced a series of creative short videos for our clitent, posted them on the news feed channels that their target consumers use - namely iQIYI, Weibo, WeChat. Ultimately, the video views exceeded expected results with 10 million views, and even generated TMall sales conversions.
The brand consequently increased its popularity and gained exposure, which laid the foundation for the subsequent intensive KOL and seeding strategy. This improved the brand's favourable impressions in the conversion process, facilitating even further sales.
Skillful use of KOLs; mobilizing consumption desire
When the brand has reach a certain awareness, a flow of consumer engagement follows. At this time, the next challenge is to translate the exposure’s power into purchase.
See for yourself: a single Li JiaQi’s trademark, infamous and hypnotizing “Oh My God” phrase, influences followers by the millions to purchase a product.
According to Buffer’s latest social status report in 2019, KOL involvement partly determines consumers' purchasing desire, and using KOLs is gradually being regarded as a top social media communication method. And that’s also why using KOLs has long become a primary marketing tactic when a brand’s goal is set on driving sales.
PLTFRM also developed the strategy of “hero products + branding" for the brand promotion. Taking RED as the main stage, PLTFRM adopted specific colloquial brand words - a bit like Li Jiaqi’s “OMG!” - and used a combination of seeding with top, middle, and bottom level KOLs. This increased the sales volume from the previous month by 403.9%.
With this strategy approach, KOLs do not only drive sales, but also improve both recognition and popularity of the brand nationally, increasing overall brand awareness and campaign effectiveness.
Coming back to our analogy regarding Bob, after the shop's staff introduced the product and brand in detail, Bob is interested but still hesitant to buy the product. Then, Bob walks into a celebrity whom he admires. When the celebrity tells Bob, “This product is really really good,” he can no longer resist and he purchases the product.
In this way, KOLs, as professionals, topic-starters, and appealing content exporters, can more effectively connect the brand with the target consumers.
If you want to know how can brands maximize their effectiveness, you can also refer to our March 26th article, “How can brands use RED for promotion?”this article will also highlight the following experiences:
1.Displays of actual consumption scenes
The purpose of displaying an actual consumption scene is to arouse consumers' psychological demand and trigger consumption desire. This requires KOLs to tell fans about the real consumption experience of products in an honest, authentic, professional and specific way. It demonstrates to fans that KOLs are rather more actual real-life consumers of the product than barely just advertising, and can sincerely recommend the product.
2. Create unique brand symbols
So we’ve followed Bob on his steps to purchase that product, let’s call it a "make the customer walk in” scenario.
Combining a well-known concept with product functions, colloquial expressions and interests brings consumers to form a deep memory point. Not only does it reduce the cost of understanding and choice of consumers, but it also creates a unique set of symbols that help the brand stand out.
3. Strategies on how to select KOLs
Displays of actual consumptions and brand symbols help brand establish an impression, while the word-of-mouth spread of KOLs expand sales conversions. To maximize that, it is critical to select KOLs corresponding to the definition and characteristics of the brand's target user group. It is also important to thoroughly analyze their tonal characteristics, their seeding impact, and whether they are used by competing brands. Because groups of people with common interests easily influence each others’ buying behaviours, the ability of KOLs to directly reach target consumer groups by means of experienced exchange, sharing recommendations and answering questions is much sought after. It significantly grows brand reputation, and provides irresistible advertising content for consumers.
Meanwhile, as KOLs can be divided into top, middle, and bottom level KOLs according to their following quantity, brands should take extensive consideration of both quality and quantity according to their budget and optimize the combination of KOLs of all levels. First, top level KOLs should lead the promotion of content, improve product exposure and topics. Then, the middle and bottom level KOLs get involved, so as to form a user-driven sharing atmosphere. Rapid follow-up of the target groups will continuously expose similar groups, and eventually form a core circle of people that will spreads outward and potentially giving birth to a hot marketing buzz.
After the selection of KOLs, the next focus is on the content of seeding, digging deeply into monitoring and guiding comments in real time, to “harvest the herbs from seeding”.
2019 is said to be the first year of the quality / effectiveness combo. In the current mobile era, brands and their sales are no longer separated from each other, brands' marketing must take into account the overall planning of strategy formulation, creative design and data operation at different stages. Brand advertising and sales conversion are closely linked to achieve consistency and maximized value. From here on, KOL marketing has become a go-to channel, and a comparatively better long-term solution than other promotion methods.(Pictures source: related website)