For a couple of years, KOLs (key opinion leaders) have had the power to magnify brand awareness and ultimately influence purchase decisions, and more and more brands from premium to mass levels have used them as part of their marketing strategy. For example Mini Cooper recently partnered with famous fashion blogger Becky Li to promote its latest limited edition consisting in 100 uniquely designed cars. After a teasing campaign on Becky Li’s WeChat account the 100 models sold out within 5 minutes of the opening for purchase time and received over 1000 orders: a huge business impact at the fraction of a traditional advertising campaign cost.
But this tends to evolve: some KOLs (including Becky Li) have started creating their own brand, leveraging their own awareness and influential power. For example, KOL “默小宝 little baby Mo” created her own makeup brand “MOOISWAY” currently selling lipstick and makeup brush, with plans to further expand into other categories, and is already selling to large numbers of Chinese consumers across the country.
Many KOLs open their own beauty store on Taobao – usually the stores are named after their own name – selling skincare and makeup products from different brands. The stores have become another places to “breed” popular brands and create brand buzz. A number of KOLs sell those brands that are not officially entered into China market and those KOLs own brand’s certificate of authorization in China. As a result, many of these KOLs are seen as being a competitor and a key influencer for many brands.
At the lower end of the KOL pyramid are the small KOLs or super fans of certain brands who have a following of a few thousand people with an ability to bond with consumers who share the same interest and identify well with them. These lower profile KOLs are perceived as providing a form of advertising that is more genuine and trustworthy.
Ifop has access to a diverse range of KOLs across different categories and various levels of the KOL pyramid. We have included them as part of our studies to provide clients with more holistic and prospective understanding of the market to help them better position their brand/products in this fast moving competitive environment. We are able to interact quickly with them through WeChat or QQ and provide insightful feedback to your brand.