Ukonwa Ojo, senior global director, Knorr Masterbrand, at Unilever, and a judge of this year’s M&M Global Awards 2016, explains how the FMCG giant approaches the opportunities and challenges posed by social media influencers.
M&M: How is Unilever using influencers to boost its brand campaigns?
Ojo: “Influencers play an important role in our brand initiatives. We partner with them because we often share similar passions and goals about the impact we want to have in the world, particularly in achieving our sustainability goals. In addition, they are a great way to get introduced to consumers who may not be part of the brand today.
“For the recent Knorr ‘Love At First Taste’ campaign, we engaged with influencers on social media, inviting them to join the foodie discovery journey and introduce it to many of their followers. The campaign is part of a wider drive to develop a more contemporary approach to communicate with Knorr’s consumers and sees the launch of an evolution for Unilever’s largest brand.
“As one of the aims of the campaign was to inspire a new generation of Millennial foodies, influencers played an important role.”
What positive impact can the use of online influencers have?
“Increasingly, people trust influencers more than they necessarily do traditional media, often feeling an affiliation with them that is more akin to friendship. Because of this strong connection, positive endorsement from online influencers can be crucial to a campaign’s success.”
On the flip side, what are the potential drawbacks?
“The biggest drawback occurs when an influencer is chosen for their popularity rather than a shared passion or objective. As brand stewards, we must take the time to go through a careful selection process to ensure that we have shared goals and the relationship will be mutually beneficial and authentic.”
“Influencers can play a crucial role as part of part of an integrated campaign and brand strategy”
How do you decide if an influencer is right for a particular brand?
“Most important is that we share our passions and objectives. In addition, to help achieve the brand objectives, they should have the ability to introduce us to ideas and people we don’t have access to currently.”
On which platforms can influencers have the strongest impact?
“This can vary quite a bit depending on the brand or campaign objectives. A good place to start is to have a clear idea of who the audience is, which platforms over-index with them, and who influences them on those platforms.”
Can working with influencers replace the need for traditional media entirely?
“It depends on the brand or campaign objectives. But most of the time, I do not expect that will be the case. Influencers can play a crucial role as part of part of an integrated campaign and brand strategy.”