KOCs: Brand Co-creators

May 22, 2020

KOC: Brief Introduction

Key Opinion Customers are basically your everyday consumers. Their primary value lies in their relatability and trustworthiness. KOCs are experts when it comes to product testing and giving their honest opinions as well as recommendations regarding the said products. As such, KOCs are especially good at driving advocacy and brand consideration. For today’s consumers who are bombarded with all sorts of advertisement on a daily basis, this unvarnished  approach is extremely appealing and influential in affecting their purchasing decisions.

KOC vs KOL: The Difference

While both KOCs and KOLs are influential, there are still several differences between the two. For one, KOLs in collaboration with certain brands are paid to advertise specific products or brands, whereas KOCs are regular consumers who try, review, and recommend brands and products they truly use and love.

Second, KOLs can range from (long tail) micro-KOLs to macro-KOLs, depending on the number of their followers. Most of the time, their value depends on the number of their followers. The value of KOCs, meanwhile, is irrelevant to the number of their fans and instead depends on their credibility as reviewers.

Third, most KOLs are in brand partnerships, thus the messages they conveyed to their fans are often scripted. On the contrary, KOCs are acknowledged as independent reviewers, and therefore, they are responsible for formulating their own opinions about certain products or brands before conveying it to their followers.

Why KOCs?

Given the popularity of KOLs, the cost of paying a KOL to promote a product has become too expensive for most brands. Furthermore, as the value of KOLs hinged on the number of their followers, the risk of KOLs resorting to buy fake followers and fake views to meet KPIs is quite high. This affect KOLs’ reliability and effectiveness.

Moreover, the idea that commercially driven recommendations cannot be identified by regular consumers is no longer valid. Consumer opinions have long been noted as a critical tool to influence purchase decisions and to establish a stronger brand image and authority. Here is exactly where KOC set the line.

KOC Marketing: Getting Started

For brands and marketers looking to leverage the power of KOCs, here are some of the strategies you could apply:

Product Seeding

Sending complimentary gifts is one of the common strategies in KOL marketing, and it can also be applied to KOC marketing. You could send “free” or pre-released products to hyper-targeted groups of KOCs so they could review them in exchange for free brand exposure. However, you need to make sure that the KOCs remain authentic in their opinions.


You could come up with unique and creative hashtags or themes to be used alongside your products in your campaign. KOCs who reviewed your products could then utilize the same hashtags to increase the chance of their posts going viral online, thus increasing your brand’s visibility.

Build a Private Domain Community

Creating a community for the KOCs where they can voice their opinions and engage with you and other consumers directly is especially effective to drive intimacy, affinity, loyalty and repeat purchases.

Wrapping Up

The power of Key Opinion Consumers is evident. Authentic, everyday consumers’ opinion offers the most sustainable opportunity for brands to leverage social influence to grow businesses in the short-term(sales) and in the long term(brand equity). For brands to stay ahead of the curve, it is critical to understand the underlying dynamics of KOCs, how to work with them and the tools available for doing so.

About 评价达人 – PJdaren:

评价达人 – PJdaren helps some of the world’s largest brands to engage Key Opinion Consumers (KOC) with end-to-end solutions to build trust and drive sales in China. 评价达人 provides brands with a powerful engagement platform to inspire sub-segments of its community of Key Opinion Consumers to create authentic content and conversations in the places that matter most and at scale. 评价达人 leverage the power of human interaction to help brands build trust, collect valuable market insights, and boost sales.