Digital influencers are the go-to player of marketing culture. They have forever changed the way brands are able to interact, create and ultimately sell to consumers.
In the past five years, we have seen influencer marketing become the star player and traditional methods of advertising become the bench warmer. We have entered an era where dynamic, cost-effective and socially relevant content can transform a brand’s message and restructure its identity in a very short period.
For all this, however, brands remain wary. Clinging to the tried and established agency method can be alluring to those who perhaps don’t see themselves hitting ROIs through influencers marketing. We need to dispel this myth and illustrate how creative our strategies can be.
The state of play: This article’s aim is to educate on the power of influencer marketing and pave the way for brands to realize the full potential of effective campaigns.
We live in an era where intimate marketing exists at our fingertips.
Admittedly, rapid change can leave a feeling of uncertainty over how brands can make the most of this dynamic space. As marketing settles into this mobile-first age, it is key to remember; although language and methods may change, our principles remain the same. And creativity remains at the heart of these principles.
Each campaign should begin with the question: How can I use this to add value to my brand?
Before you dive into an influencer marketing campaign, lay out a game plan. Educate yourself on how to effectively execute a campaign for your brand. More times than not we see brands quickly jumping on the bandwagon and following the pattern of tried and tested campaigns. I.e. Small time celebrity endorsements.
They use the last of their marketing budget to activate lacklustre briefs and commission inauthentic, forgettable content.
This is not a creative solution and not how you become a playmaker in this field. To be the MVP, you want to find that balance of intimacy and out of the box creativity. When you own this tension, paired with the confidence to relinquish creative control, you grant influencers the power to bring your brand to life.
For Leesa, we collaborated with 100 creators across the US, 2 in each state. Here's @taraherron_photography (above) creating local relevance on a national scale.
When it works
When influencer marketing works, it is a home run. Initially, influencer marketing’s association with young, fast fashion brands made complete sense. Influencers have become a legitimate player in the marketing world, and celebrities and bikini models no longer wield the sole power of this space. To continue to think of this advertising as either Fyre Festival or the Kardashians fundamentally limits understanding of its potential. It has matured and grown into a powerhouse of diverse digital media.
A professionally executed campaign can restore a brand and give the consumer an entirely new perspective of what you represent. It stays authentic to not only the creator’s voice, but also your brand's, perfectly harmonizing to create thumb stopping buzz-worthy content.
Take our recent collaboration with Hewlett-Packard as an example. You are probably thinking, printers? Yes, printers.
For HP, we joined forces with a clear and creative solution to how our community can interpret their product. We wanted to rejuvenate and accelerate their social presence by working alongside creators to produce visually striking imagery. This campaign shifted the perception that printers are old clunky pieces of technology, to a must-have, sleek, smart home technology device that calms the chaos of daily life.
In doing so, we banked valuable interpretations that reimagined HP’s aesthetic. There is a perception that influencer marketing focusses too much on the individual, rather than adding direct value to a brand. When effectively executed, it will do both.
Being the MVP
Creativity is disruption
The beautiful aspect of influencer marketing is found in its diversity. There is no singular type of creator that defines it. By activating an influencer marketing collaboration, you are opening your doors to all types of creators that will bring your brand to life in a unique and authentic way. Not only this, but, by partnering with professionals within this space, you are handing over social strategy to those who know it best, consumers with influence.
No one understands a creator’s following better than the creator themselves. Some have spent years curating a specific community of like-minded individuals. They know what content they enjoy, what will stick and which creative paths to pursue. By partnering with creators who are genuine fans of your brand, it generates an authentic conversation with their audiences increasing organic brand awareness.
Tapping into this creativity is collaboration at its heart. For brands, the difficult sector of a campaign is knowing when to surrender creative control. Instead, think of it as joining forces and expanding your team beyond your office walls.
When you are in a position where a brand’s brief has been fully understood by each creator, you can renounce creative control and leave the creator to do what they do best. This is the point where the magic happens and influencer marketing truly comes into its own.
Target audience, brand engagement - take risks.
Diverse creation is fundamental. Our collaboration with Night Sky illustrates the benefits of bespoke, tailored campaigns. Not only are you engaging with each creator's audience, but you are also banking high-quality assets that have endless potential for your brand, at a fraction of the cost of its traditional production value.
Assets of true production value were utilised for Night Sky during this campaign, where a highly creative brief was combined with intimate narratives.
Handing over creative control can seem daunting, but in reality, it empowers your brand. By partnering with the right creators, you can become MVPs of the influencer marketing space within a single, effectively executed campaign.
Creators want to work with brands who are willing to take a risk and do something different. Some brands are only just beginning to realize the creative potential. Don't be the brand that missed out, don't be late to the game.
Casey Bakker is an Associate Director of based out of Whalar's New York office. She has directly overseen major campaigns from brands such as HP, Facebook, Nordstrom and Converse.