Marketing today is no longer what it once was. “The linear brand purchase funnel is dead. Social media has blown that up. Brands today are investing millions in paid media with a spray and pray mentality when the world has changed and everything is now about trust marketing,” said Larry Levy, co-founder & CEO of Appinions, which is “the only opinion-powered influence marketing platform specifically designed to give brands and agencies the unmatched ability to identify, analyze, monitor and engage key influencers – across news, blogs, Twitter, forums and just about any publicly available content.”
Appinions advocates for “contextual influence marketing–assessing influence on a topic or category versus measuring influence solely based on a personal influence score like Klout,” Larry quipped, “Klout wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for Twitter.” The gloves are off in the quest to help brands connect with these important brand trust agents.
What exactly is trust marketing?
Trust marketing is built on honest and open conversations, information that over time builds belief. But let’s face the facts most brands no longer elicit the trust they might once have had. Brands that might have been handed down from generation to generation no longer come with easy loyalty because social media and technology have given rise to the voices of real people.
People and their opinions now hold the power to make or break a brand. Study after study shows we trust the opinions of our peers more than most brands. It makes logical sense–we have a relationship with our peers–we may not have a relationship with a brand. So brands need to identify their fans and find ways to power them up.
Fans are great, but Appinions powers up the Super Advocate. A consumer may be a fan of a particular brand but often lacks an all-important platform from which to influence others. An influencer creates actions through their blog or social presence and has influence online and offline, typically with the press or other audiences. But the Super Advocate has both influence and a platform from which to advocate for a brand.
How does Appinions power up a brand’s Super Advocates?
“We look at the world from a contextual perspective and the action received from any piece of content. We look at different terms, topics, companies, or products. We measure the attention any piece of content gets. We measure what people are thinking, feeling, and saying and what other people do as a direct correlation to the influencer’s action,” replied Larry.
“It’s extremely difficult for companies to do this alone because analyzing unstructured text from across the web at scale is a very complicated issue. Alone, a marketing or comms team simply cannot possibly identify all of the different sets of influencers that they’d want to engage. It’s very much a case of ‘you don’t know who you don’t know.’ Along with the more obvious influencers, we identify those who are hidden – people whose opinions resonate with more intimate audiences but in a very powerful way. Appinions provides the best tool to bridge the gap between companies and their relevant influencers, and provides the essential information to form long-term relationships with these influencers and convert them into brand advocates.”
The content is then leveraged across what Appinions refers to as the Influencer Continuum™ Matrix–a fairly prescriptive process, that starts by creating education/awareness then developing trust and credibility, followed by establishing emotional connections and ending on brand building loyalty efforts. But it’s not a matter of just creating content; the content has to be contextually relevant for the Super Advocate to be effective.
“Super Advocates want to feel like insiders – like they’re partners in a brand’s success. These are people whose relationships with brands are rooted such that they’re already regularly reviewing products, contributing content, attending events and sharing their inside perspectives with their networks, influencing peoples’ thoughts, feelings and actions towards the company in question,” explained Larry.