Video bloggers, or ‘vloggers’, are a relatively new trend in advertising and marketing, and people are nervous. We can see why. This is a young person’s game, and the people in charge – the kids sitting in front of the camera, are not playing by ‘business’ rules as we’ve established them. No, they’re playing by the rules of entertainment, of socialisation, and of peer support. They’ve taken the power of marketing away from the corporate suits and they’re in no hurry to give it back. Who can blame them?
It’s easy to be unnerved by this, especially as an established business owner. ‘How can we utilise this?’ you may be wondering. It’s a fast-moving world, and it’s only moving faster; trying to hop on this bandwagon will be as difficult as jumping on the joy-ride-high of 80’s punk, or 50’s rock and roll, or cave-man fire. It’s happened. A movement is afoot. There is no ‘jumping on and steering it yourself’ now. So what to do, from a corporate viewpoint? Well, the best thing to do is simple – respect it.
These young, innovative entrepreneurs (because yes, they are business people, just like you!) are impressive. They’ve built themselves from the ground up, with little-to-no blueprint for what they’re doing. They’re the energisers, the idealist, the inventors. This means that no, they will not be calmed down and you can’t talk them into old techniques. It may seem intuitive to try to fit vloggers into a similar box as TV advertising – this is a trap, though. With TV, you are lacking a direct audience engagement. Vloggers, on the other hand, directly interact with their audience. They respond in real-time to comments, they take suggestions, they argue. It is closer in similarities to the even-older olden days of someone standing on a soapbox on the corner of the street. This means that the power of the speech is not in the money, or flashiness, behind it. No, it’s comes down to good old fashioned likability.
The worry here is, of course, that this makes advertising more insidious. Companies are pushing things to these vloggers; what’s to say the vloggers aren’t singing their praises just to keep the pay-check coming in? And for you, the business, where’s your guarantee that they will sing your praises? There’s no rules in this new online jungle. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, this actually gives advertising more integrity. Because these pools of followers have collected around the vloggers due to genuine, mutual interests, the vloggers know that it is not in their best interest to fake their opinions, or sell out in any way. They’ve developed a genuine relationship with their fans – and their fans can tell when they’re being lied to.
So, how does this help a business that is looking to advertise? Well, this all means that consumers are starting to trust advertising once again. Yes, you have to work a little harder to find a vlogger, a spokesperson, who genuinely believes in what you are producing. When you do, though, you also gain their band of followers, and those followers will be loyal, because this whole little industry is being built on one, special thing: authenticity. These are authentic people, with authentic likes and dislikes, and that makes the whole marketing business more authentic in return. That, now, is something to celebrate.