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23 August 2019 laia

Influence. Impact.

MSL’s tagline and the South African influencer landscape, unpacked

Influencer Marketing has been threaded through our DNA for years. In 2017, however, MSL global put a stake in the ground, declaring that Influence and Impact would define the future of public relations. So much more than just a tagline, Influence and Impact is at the core of what we deliver for our clients – translating the power of Influence to yield the greatest business Impact.

With millions of highly-skilled content creators growing a greater presence and widening their impact around the world, Influencer Marketing – once relegated to the sidelines of the Marketing industry – is now taking centre stage. Marketers worldwide, realising they can’t stop this moving train, have jumped on board the multi-billion dollar industry, reallocating and increasing their budgets in favour of influencer efforts.

Budget, however, is not enough – it requires skill to manage influencers (while juggling client expectations) in order to find a happy medium that meets client objectives, while still allowing the influencer some creative freedom to remain authentic. This authenticity is critical, especially with consumers becoming Influencer Marketing-savvy and influencer-specific legal structures coming into play.

As such, if this delicate balancing act between client expectations and influencer authenticity is not managed correctly, the allocated budget may as well be spent on a traditional print ad.

Say hello to MSL Fluency

After conducting an analysis of the industry, which entailed research with our clients and influencers themselves, our global team identified an outage – the need for a transformative, efficient and effective Influencer Marketing solution was evident. Enter MSL Fluency, our unique, end-to-end global Influencer Marketing service that supercharges influencer campaigns with efficiency and effectiveness for our clients.

By marrying human intelligence with best-in-class technology and machine learning powered by IBM Watson, MSL Fluency enables us to curate, manage and measure influencer-created communications, which has completely transformed our approach and execution in the influencer space. Our campaigns are now based on smarter, data-driven choices that deliver true business (and campaign) impact through influence.

Importantly, MSL Fluency, with its powerful artificial intelligence (AI) ingredient, will continue to evolve along with the consumer, influencer and social landscapes – all of which are ever-changing.

To date, MSL South Africa has already used MSL Fluency to execute campaigns for Danone, Jik, YogiSip, LG, Avon and Momentum, among other clients. Beyond exceeding business and Marketing results, other highlights include campaigns trending on Twitter, such as Cipla’s #CrazySocks4Docs initiative and Clarins’ #BeautifulAtEveryAge. Through the power of data, MSL Fluency has given us the unique advantage of accurately finding influencers that not only match client briefs, but more importantly, the campaign target audiences that need to be influenced. It has also amplified our capacity for managing numerous campaigns for consumer, B2B and financial services brands simultaneously.

The MSL Fluency service is available in more than 35 countries, with a database that is 15 million strong and growing daily. Real-time measurement is a critical element in this regard, with the service featuring a customised dashboard that integrates KPIs based on client business needs, along with data-driven performance patterns. While MSL Fluency showcases what content and which influencers are having the strongest impact, the service allows us to dynamically optimise and amplify influencer content, too.

With MSL Fluency, we are also able to address a hot topic in Influencer Marketing – namely, fraud – by identifying any suspicious patterns that come up in three main data areas when analysing influencers. The three areas highlight suspicious spikes in audience growth, flag audience location percentages that do not match that of the influencer, and, finally, compare an influencer’s engagement rate across platforms to what is expected.

While machine learning insights speed up the fraud detection process, we believe strongly that human opinion remains vital. Our influencer teams therefore examine content quality, as well as perform random checks on follower value and comment significance. The combination of MSL Fluency’s AI insights, plus our human approach, ensure that the whole influencer process is robust and thorough throughout.

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Pippa Lovemore Head of Influence pippa.lovemore@mslgroup.com

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