Chi Chang On How Influencer Marketing Helped Revive A Failing Business

Archana Mishra
Content Manager
September 16, 2022
min read
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Starting her career as a radio show host in 2019, Chi Chang is currently the Chief Marketing Officer of a Dublin-based technology company. But she has experience working for luxury sports and lifestyle companies, especially during the Covid-19 when the world noticed a seismic shift in consumers' general attitude towards their lifestyle choices. Particularly with the pandemic nudging people to be more actively involved in sports.

She believes not just sports brands but other businesses can also grasp the momentum and promote their products by generating exciting content. In a conversation with Archana Mishra, Chang shares how she stays on top of emerging trends, such as the rise of a new social media channel, BeReal, and a dating app called Thursday, that's currently driving Zen Z and millennials' interest.

Her approach to keeping up with the changing times made her resort to influencer marketing. Using this strategy, she helped save a dying restaurant by making it go viral on TikTok using lifestyle influencers in London. Let us know more.

I am intrigued about your experience working with luxury sports and lifestyle companies. It would be helpful if you could tell our readers about the evolution of luxury sports over the years and your unique marketing approach for these brands.

Since Covid hit us in 2020, people have changed the way they live their lives and realized life is too short to do boring things. Imagine if you only had 30 days until the end of your life. What things would you like to try before it's too late? Some wanted to learn surfing or diving, so they could explore the mysterious ocean.

Some said they wanted to do polo or horse racing to build deeper relationships with other animals than humans. We realized our value shouldn't be defined by our full-time jobs. For example, a marketing manager can also be a professional sailor after work. So, here's how we come in to help you be the best you can be.

Clearly, the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a seismic cultural shift. More people participate in physical activities. So, besides luxury sports brands, how can other businesses capitalize on people's interest in sports to increase engagement and reach?

We often see brands' banners and adverts when watching sports games or see the brands' logos on athletes' shirts. These are two of the most common ways for non-sports brands to take part in the sports industry. The other way to engage with sports lovers is by organizing sports events like what Redbull and GoPro do. If you are a small startup with a very tight budget, you can simply create interesting content that relates to your product/service and the recent huge sports games. One thing you must do is use the right hashtags to make your social posts more accessible to potential audiences.

Since you brought up social media platforms, multiple innovations are also taking place on that front. What's the most recent development on these channels that you're excited about, and why?

There's a brand new social media platform called BeReal that just came out recently. It has been huge in GenZ since it was founded in France. The founder of BeReal realized that people on Instagram often build a fantastic but fake lifestyle by taking a long time to edit photos, and it has brought many people anxiety due to comparing themselves to others on Instagram. 

On BeReal, you can't edit photos or decide when and where you want to do a post. The platform will randomly send notifications to their users to inform them to post right now. If you don't take a picture and post it immediately, you will lose the chance to do it. I'm curious but also excited to see how the brands are going to navigate this platform to approach the younger generation.

When it comes to marketing, brands frequently struggle to decide between Influencer marketing and Social media advertising. Of the two, which strategy is practical and effective in the current situation?

There's no right or wrong answer as long as your content is interesting enough for the audience to buy it. I personally prefer influencer marketing if you have a higher marketing budget, which saves you a lot of time and effort to reach your sales target and access your potential audience. Let me give you a success case I did last year for one of my clients - a London-based restaurant group.

It was an extremely hard time for most hospitality companies during the pandemic. I helped a dying restaurant survive during this difficult period by making them go viral on TikTok without actually creating a TikTok account for them. First thing I did was finding their unique selling point, then all I did was contacting many lifestyle TikTokers in London to do influencer marketing. An outsider's recommendation is always powerful.

Influencer marketing is unquestionably booming, and content creators are becoming a crucial part of marketing budgets. What do you think makes an effective benchmark for influencer marketing initiatives?

How I define a successful influencer marketing campaign is to see how many clicks are received on the posts. At the end of the day, how many likes and comments don't really buy you food, but how many real actions do.

But one of the biggest challenges that brands often face is maintaining a 1:1 relationship with influencers. What are the common difficulties you encounter when working with them? And any top tips for managing the challenges?

One of the most common challenges that marketers face is ghosting. You have prepared all the information and delivered the products/service to the influencers, now it's time for them to post it on social media. Suddenly, you realize they stop replying to you and answering your calls, you have no clues why they disappear. What to do to avoid this situation? No matter how small your company is, I highly recommend you ask the influencers to sign an agreement with you beforehand to protect both parties. It decreases the possibility of being ghosted.

Any particular brand(s) that come to mind when you think, "what a great way to market to consumers on social media"?

A dating app called Thursday. They have been one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to social media marketing. They are good at using a very little budget to create a very creative campaign that makes people want to share with their friends.

In your opinion, what should be the ideal approach for brands to conduct marketing campaigns amid the looming recession fears? And do you see a shift in budget allocation toward any specific channels? 

Every marketer knows that Google Ads is quite expensive, especially when you are working for a startup with a little marketing budget. You might say, let's just write blogs. It's free and contributes to SEO. However, it takes up to 18 months to start to see the results. Is there any quicker and relatively affordable way to capitalize on Google ranking? Yes, the press release does the job! Using other websites' popularity to make your brand rank higher in search. 

Given the current market scenario, what does the future of influencer marketing look like to you? 

Nowadays, it's easy to buy followers and likes on the internet. More and more fake influencers are coming into the market, so it's important to pick the right ones to work with. How to find the right influencers for your company? Firstly, you want to work with those who match your brand's style and image. Secondly, the number of followers isn't the important factor you consider, but how high their engagement rate is. 

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