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Swayzine - Influencer Marketing Insights

Get ready for a soapbox rant, friends! I addressed this topic via my LinkedIn recently, but this AdAge article and its opinions on influencer marketing are too much for me to let slide.

I’m a big fan of constructive feedback; it’s essential for progress in any industry. However, there are a few remarks in this writeup that just don’t sit right with me — especially coming from my perspective of having been deeply immersed in the influencer scene for actual decades now.

Let’s start with that article’s claim that “most influencer deals have the influencer, not the brand, responsible for messaging.” This significantly misunderstands the campaign collaboration process.

Influencers are far from being allowed to run wild with a brand’s image. The strategy, the core messages, the KPIs? Those come from the brand. The influencer’s job is to take that framework and bring it to life in a way that resonates with their audience. It’s a collaborative effort, with a clear understanding that the brand’s goals are the North Star.

To suggest that companies like Anheuser-Busch are just tossing the reins over to influencers willy-nilly isn’t just oversimplified, it’s flat-out wrong.

The article makes an additional point about the need for testing creative content with high-profile influencers.Well, let’s get real about the logistics here. The article presents testing as “a pain [which] may upset some gossamer personalities,” but it’s far more complicated than that.

In the case of influencers in Dylan Mulvaney’s league, we’re talking about influencers with followings that rival small countries. There’s no “soft launch” or “focus group testing” in this arena. The moment they post something, it’s out there for millions to see. Their personal brand, their authenticity, is on the line with every post, same as the brands they collaborate with.

Influencer marketing, like any form of marketing, has its challenges. But reducing it to a matter of carelessly “handing over the reins” while also failing to acknowledge the complexities of working with top-tier influencers does a disservice to the creativity and strategic planning that goes into making these partnerships work.

Let’s give credit where credit is due and keep pushing for better, more authentic connections between brands, influencers, and audiences.

And also for brands who have the courage to back the influencers they partnered with, in the unfortunate case of a strategy misfire that was in NO WAY the creator’s fault. Yep, I’m looking directly at you, A-B: I’ve been in the biz for a long time, and I’ve rarely seen a brand fumble that managed to alienate absolutely everyone.

Reach out any time to connect, or find me on LinkedIn.