Why marketers should stop focusing on influencers and start storytelling?

Local companies are constantly on the look out on how to bring in big name social media celebrities for campaigns. Since the creation of the social media superstar (influencer), and since the extreme popularity of social media in the Middle East, we marketers have tried to accommodate and squeeze them into our campaigns.

It makes sense. They are celebrities in their own right, just like traditional ones such as actors and musicians. We crave to reach the people that love and worship them. These online celebs have a strong fanbase, one that was built on authenticity or extravagance that can’t be normally attained.

The influencer’s power comes from them making their own content, through selfies or photographers, and they do, in some way, influence people through brand awareness. People see, they like, they do or they buy.

They are a great way to expose new brands, or remind their audience of a well-established brand, this is true.

But, is a post or two really enough for marketers looking for heavy ROI?


We love influencers. A little too much

Although our affection for influencers hasn’t quite grown as much as with other countries, such as the USA, we have been trying to deeper cultivate our relationships with them.

We have seen the explosion of influencer marketing happen, and now brands everywhere are looking towards influencers to find unconventional and more authentic ways to remind audiences that we’re still here.

Unfortunately, the word “influence” in influencer has tricked us. We have now been told, and taught, to believe that getting influencers to our events, or having them do product placements, will have their followers running to our brands.

We end up focusing too much on the number of followers they have, calculating the potential reach through those numbers.

But, we already know that focusing on reach alone is a trap, so why do we keep falling for it when it comes to influencer marketing?

An influencer can stand with us for a campaign, or even just one sponsored post, but for those looking for real success and ROI? We need to think more about creating, and less about reach. We’ve been trying to influence people through influencers, instead of working with them, making our impact on their audience minimal and short-lived.


Why focusing on reach won’t make quality, evergreen content, but finding creators will

We all know that content marketing is the current trend, but we still haven’t been able to fully utilize it.

Whether it’s because we don’t know how to, or because we simple don’t have the resources to create enough or great content. Evergreen content especially has been hard for many MENA marketers to grasp.

But, there are entire platforms worth of self-started entrepreneurs that are able to create amazing content with minimal resources, doing what people never thought one or two people could on their own.

These are content creators, real storytellers.

This new generation of storytellers are dominating both desktop and mobile platforms, being widely loved by millennials through short-form content.

Rather than quick bites, partnering with them will lead to creating great work and content that will continuously grab people’s attention.

If influencers were at the start of the marketing funnel, content creators are further along at the levels of consideration and conversion.

These creators will create their own, already loved, style of authentic content that will benefit you with longer lasting impact. You even have more options, whether the content be created on your channels and simply attribute to the creator or have them post it on their channels and attribute you.

Either way, most of the time this means your partnership will have created evergreen, easily accessible and relevant content even after long periods of time, content that is authentic, enjoyable and sharable.

It’s a new level of User-Generated content, and it is just as effective.

Brands doing it right

While influencers are great for short bursts of brand awareness, content creators can help you create and build up content for your brand through their ability to tell stories that newer generations enjoy and crave.

We’re not the only ones talking about using content creators, these brands have put it to the test and have seen have great results.

Red Bull

Content creators already produce content, but most do it at low budgets or work hard as a one-person team. Red Bull changed that by providing them with sponsorship and the budgets to create the ultimate content pieces.

Pieces that would go on to consistently remind people of the brand’s lifestyle.

Red Bull is considered at the top of the game when it comes to disguising marketing as enjoyable and exciting content, so much so that they have built their own media house due to their success. They continue to sponsor athletes and other extreme lifestyle hobbyists that create content for both themselves and Red Bull.

GoPro is another example of an adventurous brand using content creators to get its point across. Not only does it use adrenaline creators, but storytellers with heartfelt stories to tell.


Oreo and Target

American based retailer Target and Oreo teamed up, separately, with content creator Zach King to create some fun, evergreen content that keeps on giving.

King, who has over 21 million followers on Instagram, is known for his fun camera tricks and creative appeal. His creative antics, along with youthful appeal to almost all ages, made him a great partner for both brands.

King doesn’t explicitly talk or mention Target at all within his video, but its overall presence through the video was enough to have his followers checking out the retailer’s stores.


He also doesn’t talk about Oreo, but the giddiness shown when they found the giant Oreo was enough to remind people to buy some.


Next Games

To promote their newest game, based on famous TV series the Walking Dead, Next Games went online and asked YouTube storytellers to have fun with their game.

They didn’t disappoint, with multiple stars creating high quality videos that captured viewers’ attentions and sent them straight to their play store.

Next Games’ willingness to let the YouTubers do what they for their video led to them creating funny (and fully authentic) content that stayed within their style, which charmed fans into getting the game.



Car manufacturer Subaru wasn’t afraid to take risks when it came to inviting famous YouTube filmmaker Devinsupertrump to film 500 foot base jumping antics.

For its #MeetTheOwner campaign, Subaru helped YouTubers create some amazing footage, positioning themselves as young, adventurous and forward thinkers.


Let’s start creating!

Influencers may be the trend right now, but these storytellers, these storytelling content creators, are what will stay in the long run.

There are already a lot of local talent out there, creating fun pieces of content that you could easily use, if you only dare to stay ahead of the curb.

Let us know what you think about Influencers vs Storytellers in the comments!

Think Marketing

Knowledge Hub Specialized in Publishing Insights and Analytics Developed for Digital Marketing, Public Relations and Communications Experts.