In the traditional view of brand marketing, there are usually only two roles: brand and consumer, and marketing is the brand through a variety of channels, the brand and product information to target consumers. This is the era of “Channel Is King”.
Later, with the rise of all kinds of Internet platforms, a third role was added to this system: KOL (Key Opinion Leader). They are usually experts in a field with fans. At this time, brand marketing began to make use of the popular influence of KOL to enter a more accurate era.
In recent two years, with the high popularity of WeChat, WhatsApp and other social applications, a more down-to-earth version of the original KOL social marketing emerged: KOC (Key Opinion Consumer), the Key Consumer.
What is KOL and KOC?
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KOC and KOL, though only one letter different, have very different logic behind them, and also have very different performance in social marketing:
KOL (Key Opinion Leader) refers to a person who has greater influence and discourse power in a specific group. There is no absolute limit to the category of the group, which can be as large as an industry, a subculture or as small as an interest group. They possess professional knowledge and influence, and have greater appeal to the purchasing behaviour of the group.
KOC (Key Opinion Consumer) generally refers to the influence of their friends, followers, consumer behaviour of the consumer leader. Compared with KOL, KOC has fewer followers and less influence, but it is more direct and cheaper.
As followers accumulate, KOC will eventually become KOL, and every KOL is also a KOC.
What's the difference between a KOL and a KOC?
•The number of followers
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In terms of the number of followers, KOL is obviously superior to KOC, and the number of followers of KOL is often ten or even a hundred times that of KOC. For example, the number of followers on the whole platform of KOL Ms.PuiYi is over ten million, and if you want to become a KOC, you only need more than ten thousand or even thousands of followers.
The distance between KOL and KOC with their followers are also different. Although KOL has more followers than KOC, it is often far away from their followers and interacts less frequently than KOC, making them as a group of “unreachable people.” On the other hand, due to the limited number of followers, KOC frequently interacts with followers and is close to followers, thus becoming the “person next to followers”. Compared with KOL, KOC has higher follower stickiness and loyalty.
Depending on the number of followers, KOL and KOC have different levels of influence. If KOL, KOC and ordinary consumers are regarded as a pyramid, then KOL with high popularity and strong influence must be located at the top of the pyramid, while KOC with relatively weak influence is located at the middle of the pyramid.
The scope of influence of KOL and KOC is also different. KOL mainly affects public traffic, while KOC mainly affects private traffic.
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KOL tends to be deeply engaged in a certain vertical field for a long time, such as food, beauty and cosmetics, automobiles and so on. Those who create a certain vertical content for a long time will also gain vertical marketing power in their creation. As the content becomes more and more high-quality and professional, their vertical marketing power will become stronger and stronger.
KOC is a consumer, and most of the content it shares is personal experience. The content is human-centered and more life-oriented, personified and interesting. The content is authentic and close to consumers' life, so they are easier to be trusted by consumers.
KOL or KOC?
After understanding the characteristics of KOL and KOC, how to choose the target is also a matter of great concern to brands.
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The price of KOC is relatively low, and the professionalism is lower than that of KOL, but it is better in reality, close to consumers, and a large range of KOC linkage promotion effect is good.
If the brand is inclined to do brand recommendation, then large-scale KOC launch is a good choice, a large number of KOC linkage recommendation, will produce real and strong influence. Through communication with consumers, the brand's reputation and users' recognition and favorable impression of brand products can be improved. According to KOC's real experience, consumers are more likely to be impressed and recommended successfully.
The price of KOL is higher than that of KOC, and the price will continue to rise. KOL is more professional and influential than KOC, but it is far away from consumers.
If the brand is more inclined to complete recommendation plus improve conversion rate, then KOL with stronger influence and higher professional is a better choice. At the same time, because one KOL can have the same influence as ten or even a hundred KOC, the selection of KOL often requires fewer numbers, which is less difficult and more efficient than the selection of KOC.
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In brand marketing, KOC achieves word-of-mouth communication and brand recommendation, while KOL achieves topic influence and efficient consumption transformation.
These two roles, in the marketing link is indispensable. The effect of brand marketing can be maximized only when KOL and KOC are properly utilized and organically integrated.
More and more brands choose to make a combination of “KOL+KOC” in marketing, so that KOL and KOC cooperate with each other to create marketing hits, such as the famous Chinese cosmetics brand Florasis.
Of course, before choosing KOL and KOC for marketing, the strength of the brand is the first. The brand strength is strong enough to make the sharing and communication of KOL and KOC more authentic, to better complete the recommendation and conversion, and finally achieve the integration of product efficiency and sales.
The choice between the KOL and the KOC has been a hot topic in the marketing industry since the rise of the KOC in 2019.
Some thought that KOC, which is close to life and has low investment, is the first choice at a time when traffic is getting more expensive. On the other side, KOL has a strong traffic and influence, so its marketing effect is bound to be better.
In fact, in different time and space, the choice of KOC and KOL is different. Brands in different situations need specific analysis and decision-making to achieve the integration of products and efficiency. Such a decision must be based on a thorough understanding of KOL and KOC.
About iPrima Media
iPrima Media is a well-known Digital Marketing company based in Singapore and Johor Bahru. With over 10 years of experience in online Marketing, iPrima Media has created successful Digital Marketing for more than 1000 businesses and brands.
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- KOL/KOC Marketing
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