PRHK Viewpoints: Influence and be influenced

The global pandemic has forced brands to think about how to best utilise their resources to excel in these challenging times. Budgets have to be more considered, and how to engage with stay-at-home-work-from-home consumers also requires deeper thought.

Rather than launching traditional online-to-offline campaigns followed by international celebrities or global ambassadors visiting the city, brands are now opting for local influencers to amplify and localise their brand presence across the social commerce ecosystem. In a vacuum left by travel restrictions on international starts, local influencers have been presented with an enormous opportunity to showcase their ability to bridge between consumers and brands and drive the path to purchase journey from awareness to engagement to conversion.

To deliver against KPIs under the current restricted circumstances, we must be able to demonstrate that there is newness in the current local influencer talent pool. The local scene continues to evolve and there are different categories of influencer to match differing goals and results.

1. Gen Z celebrities
A host of Gen Z celebrities have recently exploded onto the scene breathing freshness into the influencer sector and making it even more competitive than it already is. These young influencers mostly come from YouTube.

However, ViuTV has also spawned its own mega music sensations MIRROR and ERROR offering groundbreaking programming that has injected new life into broadcasting once dominated by one channel. YouTube channels are also coming together in new and unique ways such as Trial & Error, Pomato, FH Production and Arm Channel to develop their first ever collaborative live campaign.

The sudden rise to fame of these Gen Z celebrities has catapulted them onto the influencer A-list and caught the attention of every brand and media outlet in town. Top tier global luxury brands such as Cartier, Fendi, Lancôme, which would have only considered equally global celebrities as their ambassadors in the past, are now opting to collaborate with these Gen Z celebrities instead. Their celebrity has a gravitational pull to draw new consumers in. Plus, they have an army of hardcore fans willing to buy out any and every product they endorse as a sign of their support.

From a brand’s perspective, it is a no-brainer to leverage these local Gen Z celebrities to tap into the purchasing power of a younger demographic.

It’s not all about pop idols though. We also have a burst of rising micro-influencer stars which include Briana Ng (@bribriiana), Ruby Ho (@____rh), Isabella Lau (@isabella_lau) and Nam Wong (@bluenamchu). This group of talent focuses on beauty, fashion and lifestyle topics, creating a creditable volume of content to generate greater searchability and visibility through a considerable amount of coverage. Recognising this the international beauty conglomerates such as Chanel Beauty and YSL Beauty are engaging these young talents to attract younger consumers.

(Read also: Micro moments matter: @curiouschristoffer)

2. Second-generation millennial celebrities
News – and gossip – travels at lightning pace in Hong Kong and who better to follow to keep up to date than the up-and-coming group of second-generation millennial celebrity starlets? They do not shy away from promoting their love life and their luxurious and glamorous lifestyle. Not only do the media take an interest in their private lives but so do the general public, which enables them to generate a sizeable amount of traction on their social media channels. Elly Lam (@elly, daughter of Peter Lam & Lynn Hsieh), Sham Yuet (@yuetyuetxx, daughter of Shum Kar Wai & Chingmy Yau Suk-zing) and Ella Yam (@ellayamm, daughter of Simon Yam & Qi Qi) are perfect examples proving how influential second-generation celebrity is.

They are, beyond doubt, top-tiered influencers being courted by luxury beauty and fashion brands with event attendance, paid social media posts and product seedings to create mega brand awareness.

As a closing thought, the pandemic can be regarded as an accelerant to this explosion of local influencer marketing. There are certainly no shortfalls when it comes to measuring the instant impact they can deliver. Yet to be truly successful, the most crucial aspect boils down to whether you have taken the opportunity to find the right partnerships to create a strong storytelling campaign with meaningful local relevancy and connection between the brand and your intended audience.

This piece was written by Crystal Tang, account director at Ketchum Hong Kong and member of PRHK. PRHK Viewpoints is an article series contributed by members of PRHK, Hong Kong’s PR & communications association.

(Photo Credit: Unsplash)