Consumer advocacy is paving the way for change through an influencer led landscape

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Corporate social responsibility has traditionally been minimal in large organisations with little influence and advocacy. Over the past decade, organisations have radically adjusted to changes in consumer demands by implementing new customer experiences, aligning purpose and brand. Traditionally, consumers had little control, influence, and impact in the brand journey. The consumer ecosystem is fluid and requires organisations to pivot their core offering to support consumer demands and expectations. Although this is exhausting, brand identity is the result of powerful conscious consumers, leading organisations to adopt new depths of inclusion, sustainability, global reach, and awareness.

The digital world has empowered consumers through awareness, leveraging their relationship with brands. This ties in with the influencer led landscape which has taken over the market due to an abundance of information across different platforms. As decision making on products and services have become crowdsourced, conscious consumers who look beyond the product and label, have created a transparent brand environment. Consumers are continuing to opt out of ads with the installation of ad blockers and upgrading to premium accounts. Despite this, consumers personalise their own content and targeted advertising by following different influencers through social media platforms. An influencer led landscape promotes a customer first strategy. This for instance, is adopted by online retail marketplace ASOS which consider influencers as brand ambassadors. The online retail platform has a diverse selection of ambassadors who cater for different demographics of people. Rather than invest purely on ads and other marketing techniques, ASOS have invested in a culture of diversity and inclusion, allowing their consumers to select which ambassador is most appropriate for their style, and selecting who advertises to them.

Direct to consumer strategies allow organisations to pursue a close relationship with their customers whilst opening the opportunity for an abundance of freely available data which would not otherwise be available. Opportunities have also been created by brands collaborating with the community, creating a two-way relationship to reach the consumers through an influencer led landscape. As the target audiences grow larger, brands can continue to keep an intimate relationship with multiple groups of demographics by taking the same approach as ASOS and their brand ambassadors who promote and empower diversity. This strategy empowers global reach and promotes diversity in their market while continuing to enable a close relationship with different audiences.

Brand purpose and strategy has started to revolve around inclusivity and diversity to deliver products to different assortments of individuals. Brands and labels are increasingly adopting inclusivity and brand purpose as a strategy, and these organisations are focusing on more than just corporate social responsibility and sustainability. There are many implementations of diversity and inclusion, whether it be products, brand ambassadors, culture, or image, to encourage embracing and accepting. Many changes are occurring in the beauty industry which is acknowledging the need for better servicing multiplicity of clients, rather than promoting traditionally conventional beauty standards. The messages being derived from an influencer led landscape has enhanced awareness through brands such as Fenty Beauty by Rihanna. Rihanna’s brand launched 40 shades of foundation, increased to 50 shades which has enabled men and women to finally match a shade to their skin tone. This empowerment has forced other brands to follow suite and created a rich culture of acceptance and standards. The power of global reach in this instance promotes awareness, very different to when I had my first experience trying to match a foundation to my deep coloured skin tone. The power of the influencer led landscape, embraced with community standards of inclusion and diversity, have undeniably pivoted brand offerings through an influential lens.

With digitalisation empowering consumers to demand transparency and advocacy surrounding inclusion, sustainability, and diversity, it has created a great world of wonder and hope. The relationship between the brand, influencers and their consumers are driven through different strategies which benefit all stakeholders, yet the real power is the change these relationships force. Evidently, adopting sustainable and inclusive behaviour makes our society and other organisations apt to make positive changes, changes which should have been there in the first place.
Author

Amanda Hewage

Associate Consultant, Capgemini Invent, frog Customer First, Capgemini Australia
“What drives me to succeed in my career is to be able to pay it forward and help those around me be the best version of themselves”

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