Influencer Influenza by Injeel Moti

There is no denying that we are well into the digital era. We now live in a world where people consume and share information in a very different way than they did 10 years ago. There is no need to convince anyone of the impact the internet, social media, and mobile devices have had in business and in our daily lives.

Only a few years ago, information sources were centralised. People got their news from a handful of newspapers, magazines, and TV stations. Reporters and journalists writing for these news outlets were the main source of information for people around the world.

That, however, has now changed drastically; and while these sources for taking in new information still do exist, at present this is becoming an obsolete paradigm as newspapers are moving from print to digital very quickly.

An article printed in this morning’s newspaper is not news anymore, it is history.

We learn about the news in real-time via Twitter, Facebook or various online news feeds such as Buzzfeed, Stepfeed and so on. Millions of amateur and professional writers have become editors thanks to blogging platforms and other social media channels.

Anyone can write news, in a mere few seconds an individual can publish their point of view for hundreds and thousands to read and absorb.

The digital evolution has given rise to one such stream of content generation that is now dominating a lot of the information we consume, that being your Bloggers and digital Influencers.

It is very likely that a consumer feels more drawn to a certain idea or product by reading the opinion of a blogger than reading about the same thing in the pages of a glossy magazine.

Research has shown that consumers today are more likely to trust ‘influencers’ than brand content. Bloggers and digital influencers have been mushrooming in the last 2-3 years with fashion & beauty bloggers leading the chart, followed closely by food and culinary bloggers in the UAE.

Fashion brands pay high fees to have bloggers sit in the front row at their fashion shows, whilst beauty brands willfully send products to a bloggers doorstep, encouraging them to test, evaluate and review their latest release.

Influencers have even gone to replace models in many makeup and skincare advertisements. Brand campaigns are now strategized, keeping ‘a’ digital influencer in mind, knowing all the while that this would lead to a much larger impact on their target audience.

Established online news websites are now struggling to compete with new influencers on the block, those who started off a little earlier in the day, say 4-5 years ago are now dominating the digital scene. Almost like local celebrities, their following amount to millions.

There is no denying that in today’s day and age influencers are the amplifiers for the voice of a brand, reaching out to their millions of readers and followers. Bloggers, or opinion leaders, as some might call them, have quickly climbed up the ladder to become one of the top line strategies marketers invest into when planning out budgets.

With digital mediums seeping into our lives more and more each day, the need for unique, fresh content is on the rise.

This phenomenon has greatly impacted the Public Relation (PR) stream, with client requirements swiftly moving from “I need to be seen on the front page of Gulf News Business” to “Bring in X influencer into the store for a show round next week”.

PR agencies appear to have taken the biggest hit with the ‘influencer’ rise.

Not only have they had to alter their communications strategies but also bring in fresher, younger, talent, who live, breathe and relate to this technology and can go on to ultimately build and sustain relationships with this growing digital community.

Several agencies have even gone to the extent of re-branding themselves adding words such as digital and communication to their brand names or taglines to show diversity and attract potential clients who seek more than just the traditional PR approach.

A quality blog post today holds as much weight as a feature in a Tier A magazine. With this notion quickly taking over us, it is vital PR agencies act swiftly to adapt to this fast-moving approach or risk being left behind.

Some influencers to follow on social media right now would be:

  • Tala Samman (@MyFashDiary)
  • Nadya Hassan (@TheFierceNay)
  • Sheida Barbazza (@SheidaFashionista)
  • Karen Mclean (@Secretsquirrelfood)
  • Huda Kattan (@HudaBeauty)
  • Dalal AlDoub (@Daliad)
  • Natalia Shustova (@Shoestova)
  • Andy Scott (@AndyScottfashion)