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We’ve never lived through anything like Covid-19 before, so it’s new ground for all of us. While lots of companies can’t throw cash at big campaigns right now, influencer and podcast marketing are genuinely sustainable alternatives to traditional advertising.

It goes without saying that coronavirus will not only impact brands now but will have a lasting effect as the world plays catch-up with empty pots of gold. Therefor, one of the best things brands can do right now, in the midst of the wild unknown, is to plan. Apparently the military believes that piss-poor planning and preparation lead to below-par performance; so, what can tech brands be doing to advertise right now and can influencers be the answer?

Not to be confused with the iconic cartoon character ‘Gadget Boy’ (note the missing S), Tomi Adebayo – or Gadgets Boy – is a tech expert who’s worked in all four corners of the tech industry - from software development to marketing teams, to editorial writing, to content creation as an influencer.

Adebayo regularly works with international brands to launch, review and unbox new products by creating engaging online content that reaches and influences global audiences. Samsung was the first brand to approach Gadgets Boy for influencer work through an all-expenses-paid trip to Berlin, then Audi loaned him a car to play with.

That was nearly a decade ago, so what has Gadgets Boy learnt about the tech industry in the last 10 years?

5G

First and foremost, everyone is talking about 5G. It’s the magic portal that will get big tech companies dreaming of VR and AI across the line.

5G will enable an awful lot. Not just for a VR lifestyle of interactive games and communication, but also in terms of saving lives. Take the example of a road accident. With 5G, there could be less traffic and faster updates, and as soon as an accident happens a 5G enabled car could diagnose the problem, call the ambulance and by the time the medical crew gets there, they’re saving lives.

If the crew can’t get there, a remote control robotic drone could be operating on-site. In the next two years, if not sooner, 5G will be up and running – so tech brands need to keep this front of mind!

Sustainability:

All tech brands need to be extremely aware of sustainability and environmental concerns going forward – especially after the government’s recent call to enforce sustainability laws on mobile phone manufacturing so that they last longer and aren’t overproduced unnecessarily.

Another area of focus for tech sustainability is the packaging. Not only how brands can keep packaging appealing and exciting, but also how they can make sure it's recyclable and environmentally friendly. All things to be considered.

Security:

The biggest concerns in tech right now are fears over hacking and data misuse. According to Adebayo, it turns out that a lot of us might be wasting our efforts to protect ourselves and our data online: “If someone really wants to hack you, you will always get hacked, no matter how secure your website is.”

Plus, if you’re worried about AI and robots taking over your job, influencers – and most human orientated jobs – are opinion based and generating that sort of AI is a long way off.

Tech brands should be embracing influencers in their entirety

Most tech influencers want to do what they do best and humanise tech. Some tech influencers – including Gadgets Boy – already do some brand consulting, for all kinds of brands like Huawei, Samsung and so on.

Adebayo recently worked with a brand on idea conception around un-boxing for YouTube videos. The brand wanted to create the right packaging for a memorable unboxing experience that was shareable, but also not just for the influencer – for the customer too. A lot of brands just want to cater to influencers when it comes to the unboxing experience, but brands should be going beyond that, realising that everyone is an influencer nowadays.

Additionally, there are too many cooks in the tech brand kitchen. Groups of 10 or more people are working on creative campaigns to bring products to market, but this is unnecessary because it takes too long and the messaging becomes conflicted or watered down.

This is when brands need to lean on influencers; if they’re bringing out something new that they want to go viral, they need to be working with content creators right from the start. Right now, most tech brands aren’t listening, but they definitely need to be: influencers know their content inside-out and back-to-front! They also understand platforms and the gravity of NDAs – so get them on board as soon as possible.

Relationships are key to influencer marketing

Influencers are human, the people behind brands are human, and customers are human – so, human relationships are absolutely key to success, and things cannot be purely transactional!

Lots of influencers have longstanding relationships with many different brands, which means they are often called upon to write briefs and garner production ideas, before the official content brief is even given. This approach, what we call ‘Creative Collaboration’ at Connects, leans on the creativity of influencers and fosters two-way interaction, really is the key to campaign success.

From an influencer perspective, building brand relationships couldn’t be more important. To start with, influencers build connections the old fashioned way, through events networking, visiting PR agencies, emailing everyone under the sun, following leads and reviewing things for free.

Influencers need to be honest and upfront, be real about the fact they’re starting out and need a leg up. One has got to put in the hustle, to get one’s reward! Good relationships produce an abundance of trust, and that’s vital to success too. The problem with social media is that there’s room for human error – which scares brands ­– so take things at a slow enough pace that you can build trust and remember that when it comes to embargoes, you don’t have to be the first to post, you just have to be the best!

If you’re an authentic, insightful and trusted voice, people will always listen.