The rise and rise of the new influencer

LIONS' managing director, Simon Cook, explores the new influencer in Raconteur's latest Future of Advertising report




How relevant are influencers in a world with bigger issues at hand?

The current climate calls for brands to demonstrate transparency and authenticity in everything they do, so it’s no wonder that influencer marketing is under scrutiny right now.

At Lions, we’ve had a ringside seat on creativity for 67 years. Our archive of data allows us to understand what works and why - a helicopter view of the industry landscape. We’ve recently mined that data for insight about what’s happening in branded communications right now. Amidst the backlash on influencer marketing - its lack of authenticity and questionable ROI - what we’ve actually seen is an emerging reliance on influencers. The space seems to be maturing and is actively driving brand loyalty and engagement.

Influencers have long been a useful way for brands to better connect with audiences. In 2019, 45% of work entered into the PR Lions used celebrities, influencers, or key opinion leaders—up from 20% in 2017. Quite the shift.

We’ve identified two recent trends that are disrupting the traditional influencer model to deliver visible brand value: Superfans and Participatory Storytelling.

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