Contagion boosts rise of ‘influencers’ in consumer marketing

Gapuz

Whether by a mere accident or a providential act, the pandemic has opened new paradigms and approaches in doing business in the so-called new normal.

Blogapalooza Inc. chief executive officer Hazel Bernadette Gapuz told the BusinessMirror in an online interview that the pandemic made marketers realize and be aware that, influencers are the new way to reach their consumers more effectively.

The Ateneo de Manila and University of the Philippines alumna recalled the days when it was so difficult for them to engage with their communities because there were quite few who understood the creator economy and the impact that influencers could have on business bottom lines.

“I think it was only during the pandemic that everyone started to realize the power that influencers hold,” Gapuz, fondly called Ace by her colleagues and friends, explained.

Surprisingly, Blogapalooza’s staff more than doubled in number, and their clientele also grew exponentially. To cope with the increased workload Gapuz and her team introduced improvements in their internal systems to accommodate the demand for influencer marketing executions from many different brands and partner agencies. Blogapalooza Inc. is the country’s leading influencer marketing company, with more than 10,000  community members to date.

Potential of the influence economy

The influence economy is happening now and businesses and organizations engage with influencers and personalities to move their agenda forward, whether it be as simple as getting a marketing message across for awareness, establishing desirability of a product, persuading people to buy, or sometimes grander things like organizing huge hyper-local movements or even winning national elections.

Gapuz said people nowadays are starting to realize the impact that influencers can do for any agenda that they wish to push forward. “We’ve moved to an economy that values social capital more than marketing capital and where power has shifted from authorities to communities,” Gapuz said.

“I believe we’re already in the era of the creator economy. I’d consider this an industrial revolution and a historical event, as we are yet to witness another massive transformation as creatorship continues to thrive and flourish,” Gapuz added.

She thinks the advertising industry would also agree that most influencers actually hold “truth in advertising” in high regard, as influencers would want to have a say in the way that their content is produced and published whenever they would work with brands.

To have a good working relationship with influencers, Gapuz said they should be provided with important information about the campaign, including the goals, the personality of the brand, key messages, mandatories and pegs, and other valuable information to help them come up with content that would align with the campaign and work with their audience as well.

Although the word “authenticity” is being used so loosely every time the topic of influencers is discussed, Gapuz believes the adage “truth in advertising” is an unspoken rule practiced by most influencers by being authentic in the way they talk about themselves and the brands that they work with.

The early years

AT 22, Gapuz became an entrepreneur when she bought a small siomai food cart franchise with her small savings from her corporate job.

Being a fledgling entrepreneur, Gapuz dabbled into so many things to find out what would work for her. Later, she found out that things became too difficult for her to handle as she was also taking her masters in business administration and managing a restaurant, which ran for two years until it was forced to close down because of the food park trend.

She believes a lot of entrepreneurs also experienced similar challenges when they’re starting. For Gapuz, trying to minimize expenses as much as possible was the top agenda. Gapuz was also a multitasker referring herself to as the CEO, or the “chief everything officer,” because she would really do everything herself first from meetings with clients, pitch presentations, writing checks for suppliers, lining up to collect check payments and queuing them up in the bank right after, maintaining all hard copy and soft copy records, compliances. “I was literally all over the place. I loved the energy, the dynamism of the work that I do, the learnings that I got to pick up along the way.”

Patience pays off

Being in the business for the past decades, Gapuz has been able to develop harmonious and closer ties with content creators and influencers from various regions in the country. She adds the regional influences and content creators that they have played vital role as they have brought growth and value to Blogapalooza.

Gapuz shared she waited for 10 years before Blogapalooza experienced tremendous growth like the one that happened during the pandemic. She is looking forward to seeing the influencer marketing industry grow bigger moving forward. “I cannot express my happiness and satisfaction that finally, the seeds that we have planted from a decade ago have gone so deep in their roots and we are starting to harvest the fruits of our labor.”

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