MEDIA & MARKETING | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Is influencer marketing in Hong Kong worth the extra buck?

Performance tracking mechanisms should be implemented.

When T-Pain shared Origami Labs’ campaign for its voice-powered Smart Ring ORII, not only did the campaign page receive significant traffic, T-Pain’s interest in the product also opened opportunities for collaboration like customising the ring with diamonds or featuring ORII in his next music video. Influencer marketing is bringing products closer to their intended consumers, and is transforming solutions so that they become more innovative and functional along the way.

Randal Hung, CMO and co-founder of Clickful, said that influencer marketing has emerged alongside the increase in internet speeds, a factor which is critical in driving success as influencers often need frequent and on time interaction with their fans. More importantly, small brands which could not have competed with the larger ones in the past, will now be able to benefit from influencers who can help them gain trust from their target markets. However, firms must not be so quick to jump in on the influencer bandwagon.

In July, Christian Dior received backlash from Chinese netizens after Hong Kong influencer Elle Lee modeled the
brand’s Saddle Bag in what was perceived to be a poorlydirected video that took away the bag’s cult status.

When asked for comment, Dior China said that Lee maintains a good relationship with the brand, but the video was not part of the official campaign for the Saddle Bag in China. Nevertheless, brands must be wary of launching huge influencer campaigns considering that influencer marketing also has its own share of risks and challenges.

According to Kim Leitzes, founder of Parklu, some risks associated with influencer marketing include, amongst others, the lack of ability to determine an influencer’s actual influence, the lack of ability to determine if an influencer’s audience is a brand’s target audience, the stigma associated with sponsored posts, and the PR risks of association to a notable individual who poorly represents the brand.

To set themselves up for success, Leitzes said that marketers should maximise influencer partnership. “First, the content the influencer creates has value and should be repurposed by the brand across other channels, with the content of the influencer. Second, designing an interactive campaign that generate greater engagement is a must. Some of the best campaigns often incorporate giveaways or prizes. Third, implementing performance tracking mechanisms is a great way to make sure you are getting what you paid for,” she said.

For Origami Labs, relying on a pure digital marketing strategy is a no-go. Co-founder and CMO Emile Chan said that the novelty of ORII makes it hard for consumers to believe it actually works. Through the firm’s efforts to allow everyone to try the product, they were able to meet not only T-Pain, but other influencers such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Eric Migicovsky, and Metta World Peace.

On top of these, Origami Labs also strengthened its influencer network through its brand and distribution partnerships. ORII’s synergy with telcos gave it access to the HKT iOT store launch in Elements Hong Kong, where the firm met actor Vincent Wong Ho Shun who was then playing a TV drama role as a visually-impaired lawyer.

“His role correlated with our own ORII story of originally being inspired by the blind, and we immediately connected. For the rest of the event, Vincent Wong Ho Shun wore the ORII ring, which gave us some notable buzz in Hong Kong,” Chan added.

Hung said that it is important for a company to find the right influencers, not necessarily the largest ones. Sometimes it may be more beneficial to find those with the smaller fan bases, as long as they are the right fit.

For Easyship co-founder Tommaso Tamburnotti, working with B2B influencers is a long-term investment. Tamburnotti said that it takes time to build a relationship with a B2B influencer because the firm needs to prove that their product or service is high-quality.

According to him, influencers are more than just about the money, many of them do care about what’s in it for their audience and want to make sure that the product is good and exciting enough and they can get a good deal by following the influencer.

“Oftentimes, results may seem indirect and challenging to measure, as they can have a different role in the conversion funnel. Our approach is essentially to create win-win relationships that is organic instead of transactional ones. In the end, we just need to be creative in what we could offer to the influencers,” Chan said.

Photo from Elle Lee's Instagram

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