Blog post

Marketing in 2020: the new buzzword is 'relatability'. Here's how we're helping you to understand it.

26 May, 2020
Marketing in 2020: the new buzzword is 'relatability'. Here's how we're helping you to understand it.

“People are much more interested in the relatability of an influencer vs their popularity. It’s not about the amount of reach they have, it’s about: ‘how relevant are they to me and my life? How relatable are they?’, and it’s hard to measure this. Brands need to be aware of the importance of relatability; they need to get to know the influencers that they work with. You need to understand how authentic they are and how much they actually engage your audience.”


The concept of relatability is coming to a marketing discussion near you.

As brands look to understand exactly what they’re getting from their digital marketing spend to a much more finite degree, relatability is going to come up in conversation more and more. 

Advertisements are going to feature characters and actors who are more ‘relatable’. Content is going to need to be even more closely related to the intended audience. And yes, as the above quote shows, influencers are going to need to ensure they have a high degree of relevance, as far as their audience is concerned, and can therefore continue to influence buying behaviour.

This isn’t necessarily new. Creative agencies have long valued relatability in their creatives and have been judged on the perceived level of relatability they proceeded to achieve. Consider the John Lewis Christmas adverts from 2016 and 2019. Buster the Boxer and his exploits were considered extremely relatable and the ad was a huge success. Edgar was considered less so and his ad passed as just another Christmas campaign.

Relatability in a COVID-19 world

Over the last few months we have seen brands scramble to make their marketing campaigns relatable in a world under lockdown, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many brands have opted to put their real life team, isolating and working from home, front and centre of their campaigns. The assumption is that this creates relatability and the appearance of ‘we’re all in this together’. 

Online sentiment though has quickly turned against this approach. Banks and other more traditional establishments have largely borne the brunt of our ire. This 10-second advertisement for The Royal Bank Of Scotland, including members of staff from the bank, posted on 20th May, has almost entirely negative reactions.

The reality that may now be hitting home for all sorts of brands is that just because we are all experiencing similar circumstances, it does not necessarily automatically make your brand relatable. Whilst we can relate to the experience of The Royal Bank Of Scotland staff, that does not mean we share a close affinity with them. Knowing that they are also under lockdown does not make it more likely that we will become RBS customers.

Brands using influencers to channel relatability have had a different experience, in cases where they have chosen the correct influencers. Aldi, for example, partnered with some of our influencers to deliver the #ActvitiesForKids campaign. The influencers involved - stuck at home with kids to entertain - were extremely relatable to Aldi’s target audience. The content generated was helpful and personal and Aldi leveraged that content as a reflection of their brand.

Relatability, done properly, can make brand sentiment soar in the changed world we all now live in.

How do you measure relatability?

As the above interview with Mobbie Nazir shows though, the problem for relatability comes when you need to measure it. Just how do you put a metric on how relatable one specific individual is to an audience of many? What would a relatability score of 100 signify? Can measuring relatability ever be automated and defined, or must it always be a manual judgement call?

Introducing the Influence Network Relatability Index

We know that relatability is key in influencer marketing and that its importance is only increasing. That’s why we’ve been hard at work developing our Relatability Index for the brands who use our platform.

The Relatability Index is used to discover those influencers whose audience connects with them the most. This is done by identifying a number of ‘key signals’ that the influencer is posting about and then identifying the audience who are mirroring those ‘key signals’ within the comments they leave on the influencer’s posts and their own social media posts.

Our ‘key signals’ are a bespoke database of words and phrases that we’ve been building up over the last few years and work alongside our natural language processing engine. The words and phrases identify topics, psychographics, likes, interests and demographics as well as being augmented with image recognition analysis in order to determine the influencer and audience personas.

The Relatability Index then uses this system to score each one of our influencers for relatability. This is particularly important for campaigns where trust is required to take action on a post but also ensures a high ROI across all campaigns. We think it will help ensure your influencer campaigns are run with influencers with a high degree of relatability to their audience, therefore driving more decisions per post.


Written by Alec Harden-Henry

Commercial Director, Influence Network


Our Relatability Index has been developed over a number of years, using all we know about influencers and their audiences. Interested in seeing a demo of the index and our platform?

Influence Network is an influencer platform which identifies the most aligned micro-influencers from the entire social web, then rapidly deploys and manages campaigns at an unprecedented scale, before reporting on trackable engagement and ROI. We’re the Double-Click of influencer marketing and we’re here to solve your influencer problems. Sound interesting? Get in touch on INFO@INFLUENCE.NETWORK or 0203 918 8582

Alec Harden-Henry
Managing Director

Influencer Marketing, Martech and Marketplace expert

Robust debate, constructive challenge, and a relentless pursuit of growth, improvement and efficiency enable Alec to cut to the core of the issue. Alec currently holds executive directorships at Influence Network an AI-driven influencer tech platform and equitable, The Private Equity Portfolio Talent Network, alongside non-executive and advisory roles at a number of marketing, ad tech and technology startups.

Executive experience in:

- Advertising, marketing, media, PR agencies - both independent and Big 5 agency networks in the UK, UAE (Dubai) and globally.

- Sales & Marketing strategy, planning and delivery

- Start Up and Scale Up with 400% YonY Growth

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Registered Office: 20-22 Wenlock Road, London, N1 7GU

© 2023 Influence Network.

Registered in England and Wales: 10815710

Registered Office:

20-22 Wenlock Road, London, N1 7GU