Tag: influencers

The back-to-school season is a crucial time for the traditional supplies industry, accounting for 35% of the $11,8-billion in yearly sales and nearly half of unit sales in the US, according to global information company The NPD Group.

While the season’s importance to the industry is consistently high, at the same time how and where consumers shop, combined with other influencers from teachers to online shopping, is shaking up the industry.

“To the average consumer, back-to-school shopping may seem like a fairly consistent and predictable routine, but for retailers and manufacturers it is an extremely dynamic environment,” says Leen Nsouli, director, office supplies industry analyst, The NPD Group.

Birth of a back-to-school season online
While back-to-school shoppers are still shopping primarily at brick-and-mortar, they are increasingly purchasing supplies online. From July through September 2015, the e-commerce channel gained $90-million in dollar share growth versus brick-and-mortar.

“Consumers are spending more online and it is occurring later in the season, with a seasonal arc forming from the first week of August and lasting through mid-September. Back-to-school online share will continue to grow, making it even more essential for retailers and manufacturers to optimize their omni-channel strategies,” says Nsouli.

Shifts in school start dates and tax-free holidays
School start dates differ by region and grade level around the US, causing variations in spending patterns and influencing when consumers are in stores and shopping for supplies.

Areas such as New York and Seattle are among the latest start dates, while Atlanta and Phoenix are among the earliest. This year there will be two less shopping days between the Fourth of July and Labour Day. “Each year back-to-school spending occurs later, and a late Labour Day holiday in 2015 pushed out the spending even later than prior years. I anticipate this will also be the case this year,” says Nsouli.

At the same time, there will be differences in the handful of states that offer tax-free days during July and August. This year there will be nine less days by state versus 2015, and some others have shifted their days. This pertains not only to brick-and-mortar stores; e-commerce sites will also be offering tax-free savings on items. “All of these factors reinforce the importance of timing for retailers and manufacturers as they plan their assortments, in-store and online merchandising, and back-to-school marketing campaigns,” added Nsouli.

Influence of school lists and supply packs on purchases
“With 70% of teachers providing school lists and 30% offering school supply packs, it is no surprise that these are the primary stimuli for back-to-school supply purchases,” says Nsouli. K-6 school list items vary by region, which impacts the demand and sales for certain items in those areas.

For example, a higher percentage of thesauruses are on school lists in the Northeast, and watercolours in the West, according to NPD’s Back-to-School Supply List Database 2015. There is also a regional relevance when it comes to school supply packs, which are offered to parents for purchase by the school. According to NPD’s Back-to-School Monitor 2015, nearly 50% of consumers with this option purchased one for all or some of their children.

Inspiration from social media
“Social media engagement has added yet another dimension to every industry and season, and back-to-school is no exception. A perpetual stream of trends on platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram means that teachers and other consumers alike are being influenced in new and different ways. This has also helped to put the fashion back in function when it comes to supplies; consumers are willing to spend more on aesthetically pleasing, or fashionable, products,” says Nsouli.

In fact, last year NPD found that over one-third of US teachers used Pinterest and 20% used Facebook for classroom curriculum and school list inspiration.

Source: www.npd.com

It’s a kind of magic

“Write the brief, don’t write the content.” This is the advice we give marketers when briefing influencers for the first time.

While they may be anxious to cede creative control of their brand campaign when collaborating with influencers for the first time, if they’ve done their homework and are working with influencers who are a good fit for their brand, then they have nothing to worry about.

Below are five examples where handing over the creative reigns to influencers was a home run for the marketer’s brand:

1. Setting the stage for the new Absa blog

Absa recently launched its blog, and collaborated with four South African influencers in the business, fashion, DIY and health and fitness categories to create content that shares insights and adds value to its customers and readers.

The brief was simple: provide money-saving tips.

Angie Batis a.k.a. Miss Lucky Pony showcased a DIY project she’d done revamping a room in her home. Sharing before and after photos, Angie built a stage bed, which allowed her to use the room as an office by day, and a guest bedroom by night.

The post generated thousands of opportunities to see (OTS) for the financial services brand.

2. Sphero take a gamble on Snapchat and wins

To launch its new toy, the BB-8 droid that appears in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Sphero teamed up with five Snapchat influencers from around the world – Mike Platco, Shaun McBride, Chris Carmichael, Geir Ove Pedersen and Matthew Paquette.

The influencers took their droids for an adventure in their respective cities. Here’s Geir’s droid exploring Paris.

The overall campaign received 10,3-million views across the influencers various platforms, and the BB-8 sold out within 24 hours.

3. Dentyne and the great Smile Experiment

What does a toothpaste brand have in common with a tech vlogger? Not much, on the surface, but Tech Girl a.k.a. Samantha Wright had a great idea to get people to smile.

She set up a camera in the elevator of her office building. As people climbed into the lift with her, she tried to get them to make eye contact and smile by telling jokes, dancing to Taylor Swift, blowing party whistles and using The Force to hold the elevator door open.

It was geeky, it was girly and it worked. Sam got people smiling! It was also the perfect follow-on to the #DentyneSmile campaign, where the brand had recently paired up with actress Minnie Dlamini to choose ten beautiful smiles from around South Africa.

4. Clover gets creative with its feta campaign

Food brands can whip up (ahem) some great creative content by reaching out to influencers. Clover recently paired up with bloggers to create beautiful recipes with its feta cheese range, and share a competition with their readers.

Alida Ryder of Simply Delish cooked up some crunchy, comforting onion and feta fritters that she photographed beautifully and shared with her followers.

Powered by her beautiful creative, the #loveCloverFeta competition received dozens of equally mouthwatering entries, as readers were encouraged to come up with their own feta recipes, creating plenty of user-generated content.

5. Take one Mercedes-Benz CLA and one maverick filmmaker

Even though this campaign took place in 2013, it’s still a textbook case for giving influencers more creative control.

When you think of the average Mercedes-Benz TV commercial, you probably think of moody shots along winding country roads in a misty, mountainous location, all set to classical music, right?

Enter vlogger and entrepreneur Casey Neistat, whose straight-talking, over-the-top personal brand seems to be the exact opposite of everything that Mercedes-Benz stands for. This made Casey the perfect influencer to showcase Mercedes-Benz to a new target audience that the carmaker wanted to reach with its more affordable CLA.

Just like you’d trust a journalist to cover your brand in more traditional media, you need to trust your chosen social and digital influencers to translate and present your brand’s message to their target audiences in ways that truly resonate with them. The results, as you can see, can be phenomenal.

By Hayley Wessels, head of sales at Webfluential

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