BLOGOF? Well, If You Say So...
Hear those two words and, nine times out of 10, a very bubbly, very young, very chirpy, very infectious, mildly nauseating, vlogger comes to mind.
Hear them A LOT, and watch as many video blogs a day as I do, and they are the synonymous opener that captures audiences of millions from far and wide in a myriad of uploaded watch-me videos. Be they talking about their latest hauls, products they like, or just rants about no subject in particular.
Zoella has a lot to answer for. She and her merry band of Brighton-based bloggers are the first generation to turn what was once a hobby making videos in their bedrooms, into multi-million pound careers. This in turn has encouraged many others to think that replicating their success is a simple walk in the park.
Many imagine they to will be launching books and fashion lines by the time they’ve collected 18,000 subscribers, let alone the millions that Zoella, Tanya, Jim et al attract.
“If only I’d thought of doing that when I was 18” is the cry bandied around many an agency floor by those of us who feel they’ve missed a trick. To be honest, if I’d spent hours in my bedroom at 18 with a video camera, my parents would have expressed serious concerns........
All hail the influencers
Video blogging as the new advertising has seen unprecedented success, the biggest possibly since the launch of TV spots. Brands now clamour to work with these new 'celebrities', knowing they engage directly with the audiences they need. Combine the subscribers with video views, Instagram, Twitter and any other social media channel you can think of, and the opportunities to attract attention far outweigh any circulation figure of a leading glossy title.
It’s these figures that attract me as a planner to ensure my clients’ budgets are going to secure the biggest reach possible, with as much emphasis on promoting the product as possible, without it coming across as if the blogger’s palm has been blatantly greased to read a script and hold up the product.
Don’t get me wrong; for every blogger that has strict brand protocols, there are many who will just take the money, but then it’s doubtful that their 12,000 odd subscribers are likely to be that engaged!
To achieve a balance of authenticity, it’s important that bloggers genuinely want to work with a brand, can engage their audience with it and leave the viewer with the impression that long after the video is consigned to the archives that the influencer is still genuinely using the product they have pedalled.
Many a time when I’ve approached a 'name' with the potential for collaboration, and, having given them time to review the products and secured the budget to meet their rates, they’ve only gone and turned me down.
They believe in their own equity and their followers, who have been instrumental in helping them get to where they are, so they’re not about to jeopardise that for a quick buck.
In most cases, many have other brands waiting in the wings that fit their profile like a glove.
Back in their salad days, video bloggers were a novelty most brands wouldn’t dally with. These were young, green, interlopers who didn’t have a posse of agents, handlers, PAs and other professional do-ers to massage their brand value.
Fast forward three years and they have all the aforementioned trappings and more, morphing their personalities into recognisable, professional media brands with price tags to match.
Celebrity endorsement is no longer the currency of popstars, comedians, film stars and Z list Big Brother housemates. Many of the first-gen vloggers now have books; make-up lines, a fashion label, and presenting careers as a result of hard investment in their status as mavens who are worth listening too.
Audiences today aren’t gullible or stupid, recognising the authenticity of a girl from Sheffield who endorses a product, as opposed to yet another soap star cashing in on their fame to double as an (over)paid mouthpiece. I mean, how many Yogis did Ashton Kutcher really shift?
Chances are if a favourite beauty influencer recommends a new lipstick or foundation, the fans will trot into the nearest Boots on their next pay day to buy it.
Question is, is there a tipping point for all this stuff?
In my opinion, no. I mean yes, the net will get more saturated with more people badly emulating something which is at its peak, but unless they discover a unique twist on a theme, they‘ll get lost in the morass of wannabees.
Whereas the stalwarts and original content providers will keep the lights on.
The challenge for the next gen is to invent a niche to secure a solid, repeat, engaged audience. What that niche will be in this age of instant gratification is anyone’s guess, but it’s going to have to be something pretty out of this world.......