A version of this post first appeared on Locowise.com
While we have all heard about the mystical salesman who could ‘sell snow to eskimos’, we probably feel that most marketing and sales is easy. Just jump on those social media platforms, be different, and watch the engagement. For many brands this is not far from the truth, as long as professional campaigns are the focus. But every now and then you find a brand that has done the seemingly impossible. They’ve used social media to market a product to a group of people that can only be described as ‘reluctant’.
Axe make all sorts of products but their recent campaign focused on a product range that has always presented the modern man with a mini dilemma. Men have groomed themselves for centuries, but hair is the one preserve that they have (largely) avoided. Axe wanted to address this due to the range they carry, which includes all sorts of fancy hair products for men. A hard sell, right?
Well, yes. But what Axe has done not only shows the rest of the world how to market a potentially difficult product, it also shows how any brand can leverage social media to disrupt the landscape. A number of aspects of the campaign are intriguing, to say the least.
Let’s get perhaps the most important of those aspects out of the way first. The company wanted to give male hair products a cool and fun feel, so they did what any brand would do when faced with this kind of challenge, they went out to find some influencers.
Influencers are (if you don’t already know) people who have influence online. They may have huge Twitter or Facebook accounts, or massive Youtube channels. But the one thing that makes the modern Internet influencer so powerful and so appealing is the fact that they generally come from a place that is not so star-studded. The guys and girls on YouTube, for example, are just people who have built up a career from scratch, a career that has existed entirely online. And with that comes the ‘everyman’ feel that brands such as Axe need to tap into.
Axe had the genius idea of approaching influencers who not only have huge followings, but also happen to have hair that is unique and perhaps worthy of the ‘Axe effect’. And the influencers chosen also have a fun feel to their social media presence, with followers who are intensely loyal. So not only do you have a great number of people behind them, but also a set of influencers who are funny, left of centre and very offbeat.
You might not know who Rudy Mancuso is, but if you check out his ‘Instagroom” (see what they did there?) video you will warm to him pretty quickly. He’s a little zany but he’s well connected (Justin Bieber is a friend) and he has over 4 million followers on Instagram. That’s an influencer who would do great things for any brand. Axe recognised this and snapped him up.
Anthony Padilla is another influencer who has also been signed up by Axe. Again, he’s funny, young and able to relate to a group of men who find hair styling a challenging issue. Check out his Instagram video here, and you’ll see what we mean when we say he’s a perfect fit for the campaign.
So why does it all work so well?
Well, we have to say we are pretty impressed with Axe and how they have handled all of this. It would have been very easy to plump for one or two celebrities and then use them to market the products. But Axe went for a particular message, with slightly awkward young men talking about their hair. It’s a real issue,and one that men have struggled with for a long time. Male grooming is not a simple matter, and Axe know their audience pretty well.
But the real key here is perfect influencer marketing. One of the best ways to get the most out of this kind of marketing is to allow the influencers freedom. By giving each of the 30 stars the opportunity to create their own videos, there is real personality and a genuine feeling that these guys are talking to their fans. This takes away the idea that they have been somehow ‘bolted on’ to a product’s marketing campaign. This is all about the stars and their fans.
So there is a lesson here, first of all , about influencer marketing. To do it right you obviously need some marketing basics in there, such as knowing the audience and choosing the message, but with influencers it is about allowing the personalities to get the right feel.
The campaign has already paid off for Axe, with over 200,000 views at the moment. The brand has done wonders before with their audience, but this is the first time that it has really tapped into the influencer marketing approach.
A combination, then, of knowing the audience and what makes them tick, and an acute understanding of what Influencer marketing is and how to do it right. A masterclass in influence marketing? We think so.