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The Age Of Influence

As a billion-dollar industry worldwide, influencer marketing is no longer just a fad— it’s the way forward.

Nadzirah Hashim

The advertising world has shifted. And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would have noticed the increasing growth of businesses investing in influencers as part of their marketing mix. In fact, according to The Malaysian Reserve, the influencer marketing industry in Malaysia is set to be valued between RM260 million to RM560 million and will continue to grow further. From YSL Beauté to Kiehl’s and even Jo Malone London, brands are actively seeking the right faces to translate the story behind their latest products by showing up at a unique event or even travelling to an exotic destination in hopes of garnering brand awareness and sales.

But before we delve into this realm, let’s be clear about the differences between an influencer and a celebrity. Unlike your typical celebrity (be it an actress, singer or entertainer), the world of influencers differs as they typically start out by building a following through an interesting blog or vlog.

What makes them worth following are their visually appealing photos and videos, which seem to have great insights on any product they try. Many don’t realise that influencers put a lot of thought into how they curate their social media feed; a single image may take hours and up to a day’s worth of editing, while videos require weeks on end. And while many imagine that all they do is spend time traversing the globe, the truth is: influencing is a side hustle.

On the other end of the spectrum, celebrity endorsements function differently as they do not curate their feed as much as most influencers do. They are already an established brand name, by virtue of the fact that they are on television, radio or in the movies. For any brand to engage with celebrities, transactions typically include fees for management, and a whole entourage to support. In the case of influencers, fees cost significantly less for a brand to invest in, making them far more approachable than celebrities. Nevertheless, this means brands now have more options of people to work with, while investment is reduced for them to reach their target audience.

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