You’re allowed to think you aren’t influenced, but the numbers say otherwise.
n a conversation with Maliha Aziz (which you can read more of on page 31), Farah Talib Aziz’s Creative Director said that the one question the FTA crew puzzles over every day is, who would you consider a celebrity?
The short answer is: everyone. The longer answer is, since everyone can have their voices heard and faces seen any hour of day and night and develop a following, we can’t deny their celebrity.
That said, because now influencers exist in every industry, there are go-to names relevant brands would go to when promoting a new product or creating hype. The fun bit here is, that in 2022, the industry that used influencer marketing the most was the fashion industry, followed closely by the beauty industry. This information was calculated in an industry report created by Walee Pakistan, an influencer marketing ecosystem.
Despite Pakistan being a country that loves television and TV actors, entertainment influencer marketing only captured 7.5% of the influencer pie, while fashion led at 23.9%, and beauty tailed it at 22.7%.
The reason for this disparity, according to Influencer Performance Lead at Walee, Quratulain Rashid, is clear.
“I think its more to do with consumerism and fast fashion world we lived in,” says Rashid. “Many of the influencers that brands like Sapphire, Sana Safinaz are working with, started off as bloggers who would create content for these brands and others on the basis of PR - the brand would send a clothing item or five and the influencer would style to show their audiences, tag the brand and voila.
“Of course influencing in fashion is not new, right? Celebrities were the first ‘influencers’, what they wore was what we told our darzis to make, so yes, to an extent the fashion industry does know how to utilize the people and media better, but mostly I believe it’s because fashion requires a more visual representation for consumers to be interested in purchasing it.”
“Fashion and beauty hold the highest consumer interest globally, be it in-store or online. If you look at ecomm platform reports from the post-pandemic world, fashion and beauty products are purchased almost as often as groceries.” – Quratulain Rashid, Influencer Performance Lead, Walee
And then Rashid points out something we had suspected all along: “fashion and beauty hold the highest consumer interest globally, be it in-store or online. If you look at ecomm platform reports from the post-pandemic world, fashion and beauty products are purchased almost as often as groceries.”
So if we were to pick the biggest influencer within the category in Pakistan, according to the report, that would be the person to look to for authentic content and recommendations. Or one would think. Rashid once more breaks it down for us, explaining why you can’t really gauge the celebrity of a celebrity without putting their rating or numbers in context of a larger calculation.
“So in this report, we actually map out two variations: top 10 females by major campaigns, and top 10 females by content engagement rates,” she says. “Neither of these necessarily mean anyone on the list are the biggest influencers, what it means is that these names were the most used or most effective either in that particular campaign or by engagement rate.”
When an influencer keeps surfacing during campaign season, or while said season is being tabulated, it can either mean they’re super popular, or as Rashid observes, “this might mean [they’ve] been used by too many brands, and [their] feed just looks like an ad-spot? Or does this mean that [they’re] effective in terms of ROI for the brands utilizing [them]?
At the end of the day, whether influencer marketing figures in your life as a sponsored post or in the form of the blogger you follow for advice and tips on anything from fashion to food, we’re all contributing to creating micro-celebrities who may or may not maintain the quality of authenticity we once followed them for. But all of that said, perhaps it would make more sense for us to differentiate paid content from original, so while we can keep our reverence for our favorite figures, we can develop discernment when it comes to the work they are paid to create.