COVID-19's global effects have edged the world further down the digital rabbit hole. It could be argued, perhaps, that this accelerated pace was inevitable and that permanent changes in how people consume information and relate to products and each other were overdue.
No matter how you skin it, one thing is for certain, the past two decades have not been kind to traditional media. Print, television, outdoor advertising and radio have had to let their grasp on the industry gradually slip, making a reluctant path for a new, bolder, digital media landscape to take its place.
Our new digital-first landscape sees millions taking part in online education, workplaces, gaming, dating, wellness, and even travel. And the center of it all? The online pioneers - the influencers.
Once mocked for being naive, cringe-worthy or irrelevant, these digitally savvy pundits are gaining soaring popularity during the pandemic. According to Facebook, 36% of influencers are seeing a significant increase in impressions and engagement across Facebook and Instagram platforms. Video applications like TikTok, Houseparty, and Zoom is also experiencing meteoric growth, along with the online stars that champion them.
Brands and marketers should take heed - Influencers are no longer a media channel to ignore. As the world is forced to collectively turn to the internet for entertainment, information, and collaboration influencers hold the key to engagement and purchasing. With customer purchase intent conversion showing incredible results via influencer channels (according to one Forbes study, influencer content accounts for a whopping 30% uplift in sales) these digital mavens hold significant sway over how customers shop and act.
Nevertheless, influencers are also navigating in uncharted waters; never in human history has the entire world been confined to digital screens and streams. Taking hold of the enormous opportunity in this changing the media landscape is not an easy challenge. Forward-thinking digital stars will seek to engage the services of other digital-first collectives, societies, and tools to hone their craft, create partnerships and unlock access to conversations, events, and engagements from brands also looking to wade through the noise.
Antoin Commane is founder of Don’t Die Wondering, a discreet society of influencers, trendsetters, and celebrities, each member is hand-selected by a membership committee, offering members access to the most sought-after events and parties in music, fashion, art, and lifestyle. DDW has expert, on the ground, insider knowledge of London and New York’s underground scene and provides covert intel and access.
Antoin explains: “with the world now in lockdown it’s all about online and the digital world is growing exponentially while the traditional media mix brands relied on is shrinking. This adds further difficulty for brands trying to communicate with the right communities to amplify their message. Vetted societies like DDW offer ever more invaluable access to key influencers and consumers opening doors for brands to collaborate.”
Whether we like it or not, the world will never be the same post-COVID-19. Brands, media, and consumers need to be comfortable adjusting to the new normal. The trusted beacons of information are no longer the print media and the influencers that have taken their place need to shepherd their tribes through the onslaught of information online and to the oasis of curated content.
Words by Ivy Thompson
About Antoin Commane / DDW:
Antoin Commane is an Irish-English entrepreneur and investor based in New York and London - he’s been featured in the Evening Standard, BBC News, The Times, Tatler magazine, among other press for his entrepreneurial ventures. Antoin started his entrepreneurial journey at a young age leaving school at 16 to create a web hosting company that he later sold.