Are Brands Tapping Everyday Influencers Successfully?

Photo Cred: Whispers

There is a slight misconception I continue to see with some African brands on the use of local influencers. Influencers seemingly are associated with luxury, exclusive or premium brands. True, these exclusive brands are trying to make their products or services more relatable to a certain audience whilst being aspirational to others. What I tend to find boring about this is that the engagement level of an average consumer is merely that of admiration and “I wish”. Then life carries on.

It is here that I think everyday brands in convenience, food, beverages, household items and the like do not always see the opportunity. A lot of spend is made on above-the-line advertising for consumer goods which is fair. They need to inform a mass audience of their service offering and pricing point to get feet through the door. And it works for the most part.

Since moving back home to Zimbabwe, I have been observing brands and their interactions with consumers. I believe there is great opportunity for consumers brands to engage with their audiences more successfully. In defining influencers, I am drawn to a LinkedIn article I recently read that spoke of the importance of micro-influencers – not necessarily those with a gazillion followers. Everday influencers are “everyday users of a product” and “modern-day shoppers are placing their trust more and more in these smaller voices, β€˜real’ users, or brand ambassadors, by seeking out insights from keen advocates of the brand” says Sharyn Smith.

On a global level, there is an increasing shift away from “celebrity influencers” to these everday influencers because they are connected to a brand’s offering and are trusted advisors for their followers. There definitely is a place for celebrity ambassadors, but there is growing room for everyday influencers especially those who:

  • Give tips on how to successfully use a product e.g. a recipe incorporating a brand’s product
  • Answer questions on the benefits of a product in comparison to others
  • Provide objective and unbiased reviews
  • Integrate a product/service into an everyday environment
  • Add real value to a brand
  • Are relatable to their audience – their followers see themselves in the influencer whether it be visually, in their values, thought process and purchasing habits

I would be very interested to see brands such as Bon Marche, OK Mart, PUMA Fuels, Dairibord and the like really make use of this. TM Pick n’ Pay has been forward thinking in creating a ‘Battle of The Chefs‘ show which incorporates their products into a human interest show. This helps create a captivate audience whilst creating brand awareness. Everyday influencers help make such a connection on a more personal and real level. Herein lies an even greater opportunity given the tough economic climate in which we find ourselves.

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H-Town Glory

Home has been on my mind a lot lately. With elections coming up, I guess it’s no doubt it has been. I was going through some old pics and came across ones from a holiday in 2009 when I took two of my friends, both who are from South Africa, home with me. I got to show them H-town, my ‘home-town glory’.

Most of the media reports to do with Zimbabwe dwell more on the negatives than the positives. Granted, as a nation we have gone through a lot, but there is a great deal more to Zimbabwe than what meets the average reader’s eye. So I decided to write this post in celebrating the place I call home.

If ever you want to rekindle your love for home, I suggest inviting a foreign friend home, exploring it through their fresh eyes. It makes you appreciate the gems you have at home. For me, it is an honour and a privilege to do so. I hope you enjoy this ride ’round my home-town πŸ˜‰

Pick-Ups and Stock-Ups

First up, we scooped up the hommies, Camme and Didi from Harare International Airport which stands so tall and proud. Our first day together, we rolled through the streets of H-town and did went to do some shopping at Bon Marche, a local retail store. Given the dry spell of 2008, Didi and Cam were impressed to see the shelves fully stocked.

Curio Shopping

A highlight for me was when we went curio shopping with the ladies at Doon Estate in Msasa. There is so much great local talent on display here, showcasing the creativity of Zimbabweans. I had a blast admiring what was on offer. After this, we went to grab some tea at Sam Levy’s Village in Borrowdale AKA ‘Village’ – no trip would be complete without popping through this local hang out spot. Many hours have been spent trolling those paved streets by the young and adolescent.

Flea Market

Avondale shopping centreΒ was a popular hang out spot back in my day. We’d go watch movies, grab coffee, take strolls around the flea market and have lunch with friends amongst other things. One can make some great finds at the local flea market.

Dinner, Dancing and Departures

The final night comprised of dinner at Dongfang, a local Chinese restaurant in Chisipite followed by a fun night out and a quick stop by Pizza Inn on Samora Machel on the way home before bidding the ladies farewell.

My home-town, my heart.