Is your Key Opinion Strategy (K.O.L) Flawed?

Recently, I was in a meeting with a leading OTC mouthwash brand on evaluating their KOL strategy. Objective of the campaign (duration 6 months) was to get people to register for a contest, which eventually builds relevance of the product through trials, and hence change the attitude. Brand brought 6-10 KOL’s on board for this campaign.

Here the mistakes brands make while deploying KOLs:

1.       Getting confused with objective: Brand wanted to drive registrations for the online contest. KOL’s just talked about the contest in their tweets. This did not result into any significant no. of entries, as one would believe. Role of a KOL is to influence the mindset of people about a product/brand. If getting ‘registrations’ is the objective, KOL’s may not be worth the effort. Having KOL in a campaign may make you ppt Fancy but not every campaign requires a KOL.

2.       Confusing ‘Buzzers’ with KOLs: Buzzers are just people with more followers. Every buzzer may not be a KOL and vice versa. If you confuse the two, it has cost implications. Buzzers would be evaluated on how much traffic (leads, retweets etc) they generated, how they compare with other channels, while KOL should be evaluated on kind of discussion it has generated and responded to. Has it helped the brand in anyway? Put some investment in measurement. Simple buzzers will be out of business soon as Twitter has now allowed brands to advertise. In countries, if any, where there is no twitter ad, buzzers still holds some power.

3.       Selecting KOLs’: This is one of the key points of the strategy.  How should one choose a KOL? One should just not run after numbers. Find a guy who is really knows the category you deal in and bring him/her on board. Check if the KOL is opining about just everything under the sun. He is not your guy. Diluted credibility is not something you are looking at here. It may be difficult task to see how much influence a KOL has. But it is essential. Do a quick online survey to give you a sense of what people are saying about the person.  If you are thinking of using Klout, the number hardly means anything. Hence, avoidable.

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