Audience: Puma is a long standing German sports apparel and footwear company founded in 1948. Their products have an established identify, notably in Track and Field and especially in the Soccer industry. In recent years, the brand has struggled to remain relevant with consumers. Lack of identity and style are notable factors. Since 2014, Puma has stated that one of their primary key strategies is to improve their female division if they want to compete with the likes of adidas and Nike.
Puma introduced a new women’s streetwear product line in 2016. For this concentrated target audience, the brand is focusing on the 18-24 age group. They want to appeal to the stylish, chic, trend setting and fashion conscious customer. Spearheading the campaign is brand ambassador and creative director Rihanna. The international songstress is a notable style icon with over 201+ million combined followers on social media. In addition to the signing of socialite Kylie Jenner last year, Puma has a duo of formidable influencers for their advertising campaigns to help grow their targeted streetwear audience.
On the men’s side of things, last fall Puma signed R&B superstar TheWeeknd and in March 2017 inked rapper Big Sean to help appeal to their young male audience. And most recently, Puma scored a major sponsorship, teaming up with rap icon JAY-Z for his upcoming “4:44” tour. While it looks like Puma has a concentrated strategy on working with some very big names in popular culture today, there will always be consumers at different stages of the life purchase cycle where they might face resistance. Let’s take a look at them.
Emotional Situational Factors affect the Desire stage in the Purchase Life Cycle.
Communities is the conversation of the same idea with two different groups that have two different meanings. In this example, an 18-year old female will converse with her classmates on the it factor of purchasing Rihanna’s Puma x Fenty collection and how stylish the attire looks. A secondary conversation with her parents can turn into a discussion of price, cost and affordability. This simultaneously becomes an Economic discussion where the parents and daughter get into a debate of need vs. want. Both Communities and Economic elements have a disruptive influence. They can change the sentiment course on the decision-making process from considering to buy, to ignoring the purchase completely. Puma’s target audience is affected from these mentioned disruptors thanks to overall negative sentiment.
An influencer is a person who is knowledgeable and credible, with a leadership voice that encourages others in their decision making. In order to understand what makes a great social influencer, it’s important to list a few online social platforms that help identify key influencers.
Social Scoring Platforms
Klout is a grading score system from 1-100, that combines various social media accounts of a user and provides a ranking through their analytics system. The main key factors they consider in scoring are: online activity, how often your messages are amplified by others and how others perceive your influence.
– The higher your Klout score can position you as a valuable influencer
– Can help recruiters and HR review talent personnel for hire
– Higher score can lead to free product giveaways from companies
– Klout scores can be gamed
– Algorithm system they use is not consistent
– Their metric measurements are secretive
– Useless for those not interested in Digital Marketing
Klout’s scoring platform should not define the intelligence of an individual (example: Sam Fiorella being overlooked for a job because of a low Klout score). The way they capture information to determine their scoring system is not consistent. How they determine one person’s score is not a full representation of what that person’s true credentials are. Not recommended.
Kred provides two scores to a user which are known as influence and outreach. A recognized competitor to Klout, they provide an open source on how they collect their raw data in their scoring approach. Points score can increase when multiple people engage with your content.
– Provides a secondary score (Outreach)
– Better detailed dashboard, broken down into categories like social mentions, community influence, 30-day follower trends
– Open collection data methods
– Too much data offered
– Accuracy of top influencer reports are questionable
– Collects information of users and sells them off to advertisers
Kred offers some great value and would be recommended to identify influencers for brands. They have a breakdown of various metrics, segmented and targeted – this information is a goldmine for brands. The only alarming drawback for consumers is that Kred acts more in a consultancy role by taking their information and selling them to advertising companies.
Brandwatch focuses on the 3 A’s (Activity/Audience/Authority) to calculate their scores.
– Reliable resource tracker for Twitter
– Focus more on relevance and insight
– Assists smaller businesses with reaching larger audiences at affordable rates
– Originally collected data only from Facebook, Quora, Twitter, LinkedIn
– Formerly PeerIndex now merged with Brandwatch, could mean too much data becoming overwhelming
– B2B product geared for marketers
Brandwatch has value for both brands and users themselves. They allow the user to control certain aspects of the data in their profile account. They also provide information to the user on which brands have their information. Another reason why Brandwatch differs from Klout and Kred is that they get away from the egocentric influence. They have removed the search function to see other people’s scores.
Do Social Scoring Platforms have a negative impact on social engagement?
Yes, Social Scoring Platforms put the wrong emphasis in their grading of social profiles. There are some factors that just can’t be measured, regardless of what algorithm they come up with. There is an intelligence behind the individual that is not measured by the social scoring platform and it can have a shameful projection for others. A person should not solely be evaluated for how high or how low their social score is.
There is more to that person that what a computer defines their score. The system is flawed and can be gamed. It can be misled and ultimately produce some obscure scoring number that isn’t reasonable. What would our world look like if human resource departments relied on a person’s social media score to hire them? Imagine having people in powerful positions who are not educated or experienced enough to handle the regular rigors of the job, yet they were hired because their Klout score was 89? It makes no sense. Until they can come up with a scoring process that is more accurate, society should not depend on them at all.
Two Social Influencers making a lot of noise
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a former professional wrestler turned successful full time actor. A major part of his appeal is his ability to connect with his audiences, whether it be in the ring or on the big screen. He represents the ideal public persona who embraced social media at a time when actors shied away from it, not realizing the potential it could bring. His three main social channels of Facebook/Instagram/Twitter have a combined total of 144.7 million followers.
He is regarded as a social influencer not solely for just giving his followers behind the scenes access to his film projects. But rather instead, he promotes positive inspirational messages with a healthy active fitness lifestyle. Whether it’s sharing an embarrassing story of himself in his teenage years, or getting up at 4am to start his day with intense cardio, he continues to stay in touch with his audience by being transparent and authentic. He has been using social media consistently for the past five years. Recently Johnson branched off into the world of digital with a YouTube channel, recognizing the platform as new media to tell more stories.
Brands The Rock has yet to work with that would be a good look: Any high-end fashion designer. He has reached this A-lister status but continues to use a private stylist. His appeal in the fashion world would increase even more. Another brand he could help with their audience is the headphones market, like Beats. He is constantly in the gym and promoting head gear seems like a likely union.
Kanye West is a 21-time Grammy award winning producer and rapper. In recent years his social influence has branched out into the world of fashion, where his trend setting styles are photographed regularly by the media/paparazzi. In 2013, Kanye left designing shoes with Nike after a royalty dispute and joined rival Adidas. His departure from the biggest shoe brand in the world did not have any affect on him setting up shop with a competitor, his audience followed. Since 2015, an even bigger demand was created where people would camp out for days attempting to purchase his Yeezy brand. West entered the apparel industry competing with more experienced brands, but his product line continues to sell out at record numbers. His shoes currently sell for over three to four times the market value on the resale market. From a streetwear consumer perspective, West has dethroned the Air Jordan brand.
Regardless of public opinion on his marriage to a socialite, the bottom line is that Kanye moves product. He might have built a reputation for his media tirades, but he continues to be an in-demand commodity. His music is still influential in the urban market despite being overshadowed by his amplified celebrity status. Without a doubt, Kanye West is bigger than a social influencer, he is a cultural influencer of the moment. Does his anger get mistaken for his passion and drive? It’s possible and debatable. For someone of his popularity who uses Twitter as his only platform to communicate with his audience, speaks volumes about his staying power.
A brand Kanye West could help influence one day would be Rolex. The aura and appeal of Rolex in hip-hop culture goes back many decades. The artist in Kanye is similar like Rolex in the sense that they both create timeless products. If the green light to design his own watch was granted, the collaboration would probably be one of the most sought after time pieces in the world. The merging of two iconic brands would have a large appeal on both urban and mainstream culture.
Traditional Word of Mouth marketing refers to the process of passing information usually of a product or service to a non-commercial partisan without any financial gain. It is possibly the most recognizable form of promotion and most influential among consumers.
Word of mouth techniques usually are best applied through friends and family. Roughly 92% of consumers actually prefer to be recommended a product or service by someone they know. Word of Mouth marketing also known as WOMM, is responsible for 20-to-50% of all consumer purchasing decisions.
Word of Mouth
– A free referral, no cost at all to the product company
– Company saves on advertising $
– Friends and family become a trusted source in purchasing influence
– Negative reviews on a product can harm a company’s reputation
– Not easy to monitor WOM purchases from a marketing metrics perspective
– Process may take a while to spread interest immediately
A recent example where Word of Mouth marketing worked huge wonders was at the 2017 Golden Globes awards show. Donald Glover proclaimed in his Best Actor in a TV Comedy series speech that the Migos song “Bad and Bougee” was his favourite track. With Glover essentially co-signing the Atlanta rap group on a national live broadcast, it helped sparked curiosity of the trio, who were not known to the mainstream masses.
Migos’ Spotify streams soared to an astronomical 243% increase within 24 hours. The song also jumped to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 thanks to Glover’s mention. In the past, CD sales would have been the medium to measure, but that process would take roughly a week to get the results. In this new age, numbers are produced within hours thanks to social currency.
Another Word of Mouth example is the clothing brand Roots of Fight. They are a Canadian based apparel company that has licenses/royalty deals with select retired sports athletes. Since 2012, their retro inspired designs continue to be a major success with sports fans – including the athletes and entertainers as well.
According to a 2015 AdWeek article, stars from The Rock to JAY Z and Beyoncé have been photographed wearing the brand while being compensated $0. Roots of Fight scored large in Word of Mouth marketing without heavily investing into their own marketing and advertising. Instead, consumers of the brand famous and non-famous helped generate the buzz for the company.
2) Celebrity Influence
Celebrity Influence is the act of hiring an established identity usually in the world of entertainment or sports, to sell or endorse a product or service. Their image and likeliness is positioned in advertisements, commercials, images and videos as an advocate of the paying brand.
Having a recognizable face that is admired by their fan base can play a huge role in the promotion of a product. By associating their own brand image tied to a commercial idea, this creates the message that consumers can somehow look or emulate their admired personality. Some of the key factors companies look for in a celebrity is their overall popularity, how relevant they currently are, their reputation in the public eye and their differentiation from other personalities.
– Influence consumers to buy a product or service
– Help build awareness for the brand
– Can help revive an old brand with a previous declining identity
– Celebrity may come across as unauthentic in selling
– Celebrity might get into trouble in the public eye, which affects a brand’s image
– Having a celebrity sell a product can create false hope for a consumer
An example of a celebrity influencer is NBA star LeBron James, a Nike signature athlete since 2003. He broke barriers by being one of the first athletes to make more money in endorsements than his actual playing salary. LeBron’s raw athleticism, team leadership and championship qualities make him a desirable pitchman for the swoosh brand. His apparel and signature shoes continue to be top sellers in the footwear industry, with 2015 sales reaching $400 million. “The King’s” latest contract with Nike calls for a lifetime deal worth $1 Billion.
Another example was the successful ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, that took place in the summer of 2014. Through social media, the video challenge called for donations to a worthy cause. By simply pouring a bucket of ice cold water and calling out your friends to participate in the challenge, this helped raise $115 million that went towards Lou Gehrig’s disease research. A big success in this viral sensation were A-list celebrities, who participated using their influence to encourage others to donate. Achieving this level of support would have been challenging to accomplish in the pre-Internet area.
Crowdsourcing involves the assistance of a large group or audience, who offer their input and insight with their participation in a given project. They usually appear as an online third party used to outsource certain tasks. With their input comes valuable insight on a social, business and political level. Author Jeff Howe was credited with coining the crowd sourcing term in a 2006 Wired magazine article.
It is a collaborative effort that harnesses unique creative minds that can educate and problem solve. Thanks to the world being digitally connected, it is easier to crowd source with giant numbers in a short period of time. Crowdsourcing has even evolved into other forms of crowd usage such as crowdfunding, which involves the search of investors for monetary support that would traditionally be ran by a financial institution.
– The outsourcing of labour is usually free
– Access to skilled and qualified personnel, with a variety of shared knowledge
– Can offer short term solutions and collect transparent real time data
– Quality control of digital users online, who are trusted and reliable is a concern
– Project management in handling large crowds can be tricky
– There is really no form of regulation
Potato chip maker Lays is an example of a brand that used crowd sourcing effectively. For the past few years, they have reached out to their customer base to come up with new chip flavours they can market and sell. Their campaign titled “Do Us A Flavor” received thousands of entries, with many of them inspired by existing popular regional dishes. The 2015 winner “Southern Biscuits and Gravy”, ended up being sold in retail shops across the country. The creator behind the winning flavour was awarded $1 million or 1% of that flavours net sales (whichever was higher after one year). Thanks to crowdsourcing, Lays were able to harness audience participation and at the same time create a new product to sell on the marketplace.
Veronica Mars was a popular mystery drama TV show among teens that ran from 2004-2007. In 2013, the show’s head writer Rob Thomas reached out to long time fans of the show if they wanted to see an adaptation on the big screen, but would require crowdfunding. The Veronica Mars fan base responded in record time, raising more than three times their original asking amount via a Kickstarter campaign. Whether or not the film met the expectations of those who contributed, this is an example of crowd-sourcing and crowdfunding coming together to help out a cause for a dedicated fan base.
4) Social Influencer
Social Influencer marketing relies primarily on the presence of an individual that has social influence to impact a consumer’s purchasing habits. While a celebrity can fit in this category, it can really be anyone with an audience. Those people could be a blogger, a relative or a colleague. Also known as “Social Proof”, their voice, knowledge and persuasion play a pivotal role whether they realize it or not.
Social Influencer marketing is somewhat like Word of Mouth marketing, but the big difference is that a social influencer has a more refined and established identity. A Word of Mouth idea can start as hearsay information and eventually spread like wildfire to the masses. Where as a Social Influencer marketer generally has a social channel set up, with different platforms to promote or review a products and services.
– Usually a knowledgeable and credible source
– Able to provide product / service reviews and recommendations
– Influencers can reduce sales cycle time, can up the process by acting as a brand advocate
– Social Influencer might use their platform simply for monetary gain
– This can lead to consumer mistrust
– Compensating a Social Influencer can come with a hefty price tag
In the past, celebrities would make their money through print and billboard advertisements. The mediums have since evolved and mobile advertising has exploded. An entertainer like Selena Gomez, who has a combined Social Media following (Facebook/Instagram/Twitter) of 216.5 million followers, has some serious advertising clout. A posting on her three social platforms currently have a value of $550,000. As of this writing, that metric is currently the highest earning value of any celebrity in the world. This high value is also attributed to her engagement level with her audience. She is in a favourable position to select who she wants to advertise with. She can work with companies that fits her personal brand, rather than commit to the easier sponsored post payout.
A smaller scaled example of a Social Influencer is YouTuber Chris Chase aka nightwing2303, who runs a popular shoe review website called WearTesters.com. On his video blog, he is known to give the most honest critique of the latest shoe releases on the retail market. His voice provides expertise on everything from the quality on the shoe materials, to how they perform on the court. With over a quarter million subscribers on YouTube and close to 100,000 followers on Instagram, his opinion and reviews are among the most respected and trusted in the sneaker community. His influence was put to good measure after Jordan Brand provided misleading product description in a recent Air Jordan retro release. He represents a new generation voice of Social Influencers who can make a comfortable living in the comfort of their own home.