Does Creativity Kill Authenticity? 

Influencer marketing is still relatively young as an industry. Although the concept of an influencer can be traced back far further, the social influencer industry as we now know it experienced a huge surge around 2015. This surge catapulted it into the mainstream and into all marketeers’ consciousness’. 

Although there’s no question that influencer marketing is an exciting and vibrant area, the infancy of the industry means there are still elements which have yet to be clearly defined. With very few rules in place, ambiguity still exists in certain areas. While this can lead to a wonderful melting pot of possibilities and opportunity, it can also open a potential gateway for poor, low quality content. This is a daunting prospect for any brand and is one of the main concerns’ marketeers encounter when looking to dip their toes in.  

The complex relationship between content creators and brands is a real balancing act. Finding that perfect blend of authenticity while delivering the brand’s message can be a minefield and there are certainly a few grey areas surrounding how to manage the balance. Having said that, business continues to boom. The influencer marketing industry is on track to be worth a whopping $15 Billion by 2022*, signifying its undeniable Importance and value in today’s’ society. 

So, how do we get the right formula? And how do we inject the all-important creative element into an industry which prides itself on being ‘transparent’ and ‘authentic’?

Why be creative?

As a brand, you want your content to stand out and resonate with your target audience. Creating memorable content, however, takes thought and creativity. The pay off for getting this right however is huge. If you want your brand messaging to be memorable a creative concept is essential to triggering that emotional response and connecting with your audience. 

The concern here is that influencer market relies solely on brands tapping into the authentic connection creators have with their followers. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. It simply means you need to be creative about being creative! 

Simplicity is key

In order to achieve creativity within Influencer, my first piece of advice would be not to over complicate the idea. Simplicity is key! You should aim to create a framework which captures an idea, while still offering room for the influencer to add their own flair and interpretation. This way, when working with multiple influencers, for instance, an over-arching theme can be achieved without each creators’ content becoming a carbon copy of one another’s. The aim is to create some unity and structure to the content. What you don’t want is to end up with creative that resembles traditional advertising. 

Why have a brief? 

Creating original content can be daunting for an influencer. Don’t forget, an influencer is not an actor- they are just a regular person who has a desirable following. 

The success of any influencer campaign will hinge on them understanding of what is expected of them. Providing influencers with a concise brief is integral, as they need to understand what the brand will need in terms of deliverables and, even more importantly- how the success of the campaign is going to be measured. Will it be engagement, sales etc. Having clear guidelines from the offset will ensure transparency and fluidity for the campaign and ensure that the content created lends itself to the desired performance indicators. 

Don’t be too prescriptive

In order to achieve balance between brand message, creative concept and the influencer it’s important that the influencer has room to breathe and express their personality. After all we must - remember why we are buying into any said influencer in the first instance -because they know what makes their followers tick! Their expertise on how best to communicate any given message is going to be crucial to the success of the campaign. Remember- authenticity is still a key component and for this to be present, we should look to inspire the influencer(s) to do what they do best - create! To do so, we need to offer guidance and creative direction, without stifling their own creativity. 

Stay culturally relevant

The mark of a truly great piece of social content is the ability to be culturally relevant. After all, society and culture are the embodiment of social media. Our social channels are essentially a giant melting pot of our collective lives, experiences and everything we encounter and interact with as a society.  A great influencer post should engage, inspire, evoke emotion or response. It should be sharable, mimicable, lovable or just thoroughly entertaining. The key to creating content that resonates in this way is to stay tapped into current and emerging trend. Or better still, create the next trend! Great social content can create waves and infiltrate culture. Some great examples of this include the recent Dolly Parton Challenge or the mannequin challenge back in 2016. 

So, what’s the bottom line? 

When creating an influencer campaign, it’s important to recognise that it’s not a case of ‘one size fits all’ Each brand will have its own personality, values and expectations. Each campaign should be tailored to reflect and embrace this. Similarly, each creator has both their own personality and the know-how to communicate with their followers. This means when working with Influencers, it’s integral to find the most relevant creators. Creators who can relate the values of the brand to the correct audience, in a style which works for the creator and the brand alike.  

If you’re looking to strike the right balance with your next influencer campaign and would like some advice, please get in touch.

*Source-Business Insider

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