Accusations of “fake news” fly fast and easy these days. Not surprisingly, consumer distrust has grown, especially when it comes to information found online. But while it might initially seem counterintuitive, the cynicism is increasing the power of influencer marketing — at least, a specific branch of influencer marketing.
Over the past few years, the issue of racial and ethnic minority representation has taken center stage.
We’ve seen campaigns from well-known brands ranging from Airbnb to Budweiser to Coca-Cola touch on important topics such as immigration and diversity. This shift has been a wonderful starting point, but we’re nowhere near finished. There continues to be an indisputable lack of diversity within the PR field, particularly where talent is concerned.
Consider that as of July 2017, people of color made up more than 41 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Our talent pool needs to adapt with the changing demographics in our nation; otherwise, it’s very unlikely that we can remain in the sphere of relevance. Even still, the issue of representation isn’t something we can fix with the wave of a magic wand, and that’s most likely why many PR firms have remained so homogenous: They simply do not know where to start.
It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of cracking jokes at the expense of Millennials and Generation Zers.
They're obsessed with their smartphones!
They change jobs every five minutes!
They're putting entire industries out of business!
These are just a few of the preconceived notions that seem to dog young consumers today. But by subscribing to stereotypes like these, brands discount an incredibly important segment of our population. Across the globe, there are 1.8 billion Millennials and more than 2 billion members of Generation Z. Combined, they make up a potential $165 billion marketplace.
All branding roads might lead to influencer marketing, but it isn’t a narrow, one-lane alley. No, influencer marketing is a complex superhighway with twists and turns, exits and on-ramps, and plenty of places to make pit stops. In such an energetic, multifaceted environment, you need a diversified influencer portfolio to keep your brand in full view.
What does diversity mean in this context? It’s not necessarily what you think. Rather than hire professional models for its 2017 holiday campaign, Sephora made use of a vibrant cast of characters pulled directly from its payroll. Each employee enjoyed a unique relationship with Sephora and its beauty products, showcasing that the brand wasn’t just giving lip service to authenticity and inclusion.