To those working outside of the FMCG space influencer marketing looks a little like money for old rope. And perhaps it is.
Unilever seem to think so, adopting a strategy that identifies and works with what it calls 'micro-influencers'. So good bye Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne, and hello...well, who?
Micro-influencers are nothing new. Customer testimonials and favourable reviews are, at their most basic, micro-influencers - albeit unpaid.
The professional services space, whilst not calling them by that name, have long used micro-influencers as part of their marketing - again unpaid.
Every time The Legal 500 and Chambers asks for clients to approach for its research - these are your micro-influencers. A case study online - micro-influencers. An article published jointly with, for example, a surveyor or accountant - again micro influencers.
Sometimes, something we have been doing for years needs a name for colleagues to it seriously. Content marketing is a good example.
So perhaps it is time for law, accountancy and other professional services firms to adopt formal micro-influencer strategies - and call it just that.
Bigger doesn’t always mean better for Unilever when it comes to the influencers it works with. Influencers previously hired by the advertiser had to be as well-known as a finalist on the hit TV show “The Great British Bake Off,” according to Madeleine Boulton, assistant brand manager at Unilever. Now, the business is turning to so-called micro-influencers, people with smaller follower counts than the biggest social media stars, but who can offer better engagement at a fraction of the cost. At least that’s the theory. For Unilever, which is looking for alternatives to costly agencies, these types of influencers increasingly make sense.