Influencer marketing, like so many aspects of marketing and advertising right now, is undergoing course corrections because of the coronavirus epidemic. Although all marketing relies on consumer response, influencer marketing, at its heart, depends on consumers believing the story that’s being told. Influencers sell aspirational messages, sometimes of hope and perseverance, but more often of lifestyles that do not currently match the mood of the country hunkered down trying to avoid a pandemic.
Most consumers cannot travel right now, and for many, fashion has been relegated to comfort clothes. Regardless, consumers are increasingly interested in brands that have something authentic to say, not just something to sell. The current environment leaves influencers and the brands that work with them at a crossroads, trying to determine the best path forward, while staying agile in the face of daily changes.
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Many brands have canceled sponsorships with influencers, and others are taking wait-and-see approaches before making new influencer commitments, but the increase in social media activity has offered some opportunities for influencers to pivot and brands to benefit.
An article in Business Insider reports, “Influencers have seen their sponsorship deals shut down and events cancelled, with many [influencers] shifting their focus to alternative revenue streams that allow them to continue to earn a living without leaving their homes.” Adding, “Influencer marketing agencies are seeing brands postpone campaigns while also