Why influencer relations is broken
by Becki Hemming
Influencer relations has become the latest focus for buzzwords, events and opinion pieces. We’re seeing platforms pop up left right and centre to facilitate influencer relationships, some of which take the communication away from brands altogether… Not quite the credible relationship for creating authentic content that both agencies and brands seemed to have in mind. It’s a complicated beast to cover in just one blog post, but we’ll certainly give you something to chew over.
How influencers became gods
Every product, service, interaction or transaction has become more and more aggressively branded. It’s resulted in the millennial (yes, we did just use that word) audience, that our briefs so often refer to, having an incredibly heightened awareness of their own personal brand.
Leisure time is increasingly used to build up identities and cultivate like-minded communities online, which in turn leads to influential personalities. Digitally native generations are tapping into the online resources at their fingertips and reading less traditional print titles, opting instead for digital content that is visual, vibrant, funny and in line with their range of passion points. This all means that subculture influencers are more important than ever amongst Gen Y + Z.
But the influencer relations model isn’t fit for purpose
Our frustrations don’t lie in the ability to stress the importance of influencer relations… As an industry, we all seem in agreement on how impactful this can be. Our frustrations are born from the fact that all too often, influencer relation models simply aren’t fit for purpose. In a world where authenticity and credibility are the bread and butter of influencers, how can a brand possibly pursue a meaningful relationship by paying in a straight transaction for the privilege?
It seems what these models actually do is create a catch 22 situation for the influencers that we’re so keen to get on board. They want to be recognised financially, and rightly — this isn’t just a hobby, but by agreeing to a transactional partnership, they instantly undermine their credibility with their audience. Just like that, influencers stand to jeopardise their engaged and relevant audience that the brand was so keen to reach in the first place.
So where does paying for endorsement leave brands and influencers in the future, as audiences continue to switch off from paid-for posts? Brands will pay more and more to get the same traction, and influencers will lose the credibility they worked so hard to establish. Isn’t it about time for an influencer relations model that works for both the brand and the influencer long term?
Roger, meaning received loud and clear as a radio call (and sounding far sexier than a database), is our influencer platform and solution to all the broken models out there. As a place for influencers and brands to discover opportunities to work together and maintain their relationship, the communication is very much in the hands of the people who matter. It’s also part owned by the very influencers who use it. They get their monetary reward, not from individual interactions or isolated brand activities, but instead as a dividend at the end of the year, dependent on involvement and relevance. No compromise of credibility. No sell-out brand endorsements.
This is a sustainable future for influencers, not just a payday now. It’s about advocacy and credibility, not just reach. Because why would brands pay for empty, one-time endorsements, when they could instead collaborate with long-term advocates, with influencers who continue to grow?
We may not be able to solve influencer models in one fell blog post, but we believe Roger to be the first future-proof influencer relations model built around both influencers and the brands looking to work with them. We’ve been putting it through its paces with brands like ofo and ASOS with great results and feedback.
Think we’re onto something? We’d love to hear your thoughts and raise the standards of influencer relations across the industry. If you’d like to find out more or get involved, drop us an email to email@example.com. Roger that.