Over the last few weeks one term which keeps popping-up at meetings and in forums is the term KOL- a Key Opinion Leader.
Working in B2B PR, my career has been built around influencing the right people with the right message, whether it be users of a product or the media. So, I felt confident that I was already implementing a KOL strategy, engaging with key influencers and helping communicate client’s messages.
However, with further reading and a subsequent internet trawl, I realised that by comparison a KOL, is someone who has built an established social following and is an authority figure on a subject. Their audiences are more defined and loyal then traditional “influencers”. They also do what they say in their bios- they change, shape and inform opinion. They get people to adopt new habits, trial new experiences and change how, what and where we purchase.
I do think KOLs bring with them a host of benefits to improve growth, build brand visibility and could deliver good ROI on marketing. Particularly when you consider all the exciting marketing automation tools we now have at our finger tips to link into KOL social media profiles.
The Love Islanders are great examples of what a 2018 KOL is and does. Before they went on the Island, many had already created and established a loyal following and audience reaching thousands through their own powerful social media pages based on their interests from fitness to fashion.
Influencer strategies are nothing new. Over the years, we have all invested in influencer strategies and we have seen heavy investment in product placement strategies and celebrity endorsements.
However, I do think that in 2018, perhaps its time we evolved the trusted influencer strategy in B2B world and today accept that even B2B brands need KOLs.
In today’s transient and fast paced world, with so much choice and proliferation of products, KOLs offer a more authentic, immediate, cost effective and highly targeted approach to the traditional ‘spray and pray’ approach.