D2C: How the Role of Influencers is Changing 
D2C: How the Role of Influencers is Changing 

Large consumer brands have historically used business scale to get efficiencies in manufacturing, distribution, and media. This has made it harder for new competition to come up unless they’re willing to dedicate large budgets for a large time period.

By catering to higher socio-economic households as customers, D2C brands with a premium price positioning have negated the impact of the cost of manufacturers through third-party co-manufacturers. But the key reason for success has been the availability of these consumers on digital platforms. This has allowed D2C brands to disrupt the market in distribution as well as media by using digital means.

With more than 60 percent of Indian consumers using the internet, 700+ million smartphone users, and almost 80 percent of all pin codes serviceable for delivery in India, distribution of D2C brands is going to continue to grow on e-commerce through their own platforms as well as online marketplaces.

At the same time, with the growth of social media, there is also a growth of brand ads and cluttered content that may not be trustworthy. In this context, consumers have started following specific influencers that they trust in order to get information about the latest trends, styles, products, and brands. Influencers are people who have built a community online around their content, and their followers truly trust them.

D2C brands should work with these influencers too -

Create Quality Content That Is Relatable - Millennials are bored and cynical of pushy advertising created by the company’s internal teams, and trust content generated by customers like themselves or trusted influencers who they know. In fact, content produced with lower production values, but is more real and relatable, works better especially as performance marketing content on social media.
Plix has been consistently using real user and micro influencer-generated content to highlight the goodness and effectiveness of their plant-based and delicious nutrition and wellness products. The relatability and believability of these content pieces get them higher than benchmarked customer engagement and conversion.

Gain Trust for the Brand - Influencers are as famous and well-known to their followers as celebrities. In many cases, influencers endorsing a product is more trustworthy too because they are regular people like their followers. 

Customers are willing to believe a beauty influencer talking about cosmetic or personal care products from brands such as Loreal, The DermaCo, and Mcaffeine because they are seen as experts in that field, and have previously also shown their knowledge about such products, ingredients, and usage before.

Better Quality Traffic Into E-commerce Channels - Influencers manage to introduce the brand ethos, as well as explain the benefits and differentiators of the products through their content. This leads to high-intent customers clicking on the link on the content and reaching the D2C brand's website.
Influencer marketing is a powerful tool to get new D2C brands with low awareness to generate brand consideration and sales, both at the same time, with the high efficiency of RoAS. However, the basic insight behind using this tool effectively is – ‘People trust other people that are like them’ - at least more than they would trust brands or celebrities. Hence, to leverage influencers and their content best, be authentic in –

●    Choice of Influencers: This should be relevant to your customers and category.
●    Brief to Influencers: They work because their style of content works. Don’t try to change that with your brief in order to make a branded ad style of influencer content
●    Chasing the Right Metrics: There’s no point in vanity metrics such as the number of followers, impressions, or in some cases even engagement. Look towards meaningful impact output metrics such as sales, traffic to the website, organic traffic or search volumes, organic mentions on social media, etc.

The biggest advantage for D2C brands has been their ability to use micro-targeting to reach out to different consumer personas with different types of content. Influencer marketing is a key part of this approach. Influencer marketing goes beyond simple awareness creation for the brand, and into actually generating consideration and purchase intent. Hence higher conversion and quality traffic into e-commerce channels.

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