Welcome to #Fridayhaveyoursay – Porter Novelli's fortnightly Friday slot where colleagues, industry movers & shakers and clients will be contributing and sharing thoughts on their passion points, the world we live in today and the brands we know and love. The thought piece this week is by Zoë Edwards who is exploring the importance of authentic partnerships when working with influencers
Choose Wisely: The Power of Authentic Partnerships
As influencers become integral to integrated campaigns, momentum has gathered around attribution and measuring success – how is the content shifting audience perception, changing behaviour or ultimately increasing a brand’s sales.
Get empirical about Identification: Whilst measurement beyond vanity metrics is crucial, it overlooks the first step of achieving genuinely impactful influencer campaigns: identification. As influencer marketing evolves, so too have new identification tools that allow for a scientific approach from the very outset of a campaign. These data and fact driven insights, when combined with a human filter, create an identification process that leaves brands feeling confident that they have influencers based on merit, not a whim.
Put human intelligence at the heart: This ensures you’ve ticked two fundamental boxes: authenticity and credibility. Without these, any impact on product perception or purchase is going to be limited. Does this person have the credibility to be talking about this product? Would a partnership with them be authentic? Do they already use the brand’s products? If they do – or better still, they’ve previously mentioned it organically – you know their audience will feel safe in the knowledge they’re not entering a partnership just for the money.
Serial #ad posters lose trust: It’s a fact that trust falls flat with an influencer’s audience who see through brand messages and instead see an influencer out to make money, rather than creating content around a product or topic they are knowledgeable about and interested in. As a result, the content is viewed as ‘ad spam’ and has little to no impact on changing perception or behaviour.
Savvy partnerships will drive sales: A great example of a genuine, credible partnership is Molly Mae x Pretty Little Thing. Despite some of the headlines around Molly recently – and no-matter your thoughts on fast fashion – this longstanding partnership has had a positive impact on the brand’s sales, having recorded a 145% profit increase from 2019 (when Molly’s first partnership was signed) to 2020.
Molly’s been a PLT fan long before fame, and has spoken publicly about turning down deals with other fashion brands to work with one she really believes in. With 2022 her third year with the brand – now its creative director -, the consistency of the relationship and Molly’s history as a fashion blogger pre-fame all works to make this eminently credible. Granted, everyone needs clothes, so fashion is an easier space to build authority but, in any industry, choosing influencers with a grounding in the space you want them to talk to gives them the right to do it in a way that is believable to their audience, influencing their behaviours and purchase choices.
Being smart with how you approach influencer selection strategy is the foundation for success. Getting the balance right between reach, relevancy and how ‘right’ they are for you will result in authentic partnerships that genuinely shift the dial, whatever that might mean for your brand.