Should brands give influencers complete creative control?
Complete Creative Control – it’s something that influencers and their management agents are increasingly pushing for when working with a brand.
Handing over control – whereby you pay a social influencer to do whatever they deem best for their audience to promote a brand or product – is understandably a daunting prospect for most companies.
For me, it’s all about the preparation that goes in to entering a collaboration with an influencer; ensuring that both the brand and the partner feel like they’re doing themselves justice.
These are the three key things I look to when kicking off such a project:
1. Select the influencer carefully
It can be quite a process selecting which influencers you want to work with, and it can be difficult at times to differentiate between them.
When you’re searching (stalking) for influencers I create an evaluation matrix with the following scorecard items:
Audience size and demographics
Each factor then receives a score based on your research, which can be up or down weighted based on the brand’s objective and what they want from the influencer. I tend to lean towards brand fit, content style and audience size.
Applying such rigour ensures brand expectations are also managed from the outset on key influencer deliverables.
2. Influencer output will only be as good as your input
When you finally decide on an influencer, providing an in-depth brief is the best way to make sure brand messages and objectives will be met by the influencer. While this sounds like common sense, often we jump to assume that these influencers have the depth of product knowledge we do.
This doesn’t mean giving them a play-by-play of the exact sentences you want them to use, or the exact image. Rather it’s an opportunity for you to explain the product or service in detail and is the perfect time to show the influencer content that the brand has loved in the past.
Don’t forget the influencer is a brand themselves, so once they have all the information be ready to let them deliver it in a way that’s relevant to their audience.
A briefing will not only provide the details but can set the brand and influencer up for a great relationship. A face-to-face briefing better still! Thoughts and ideas tend to be clearer when explained in person, so don’t be afraid to take some extra time out to ensure that in person meeting happens.
If you’re not comfortable with the influencer by now, it might be that the influencer isn’t the right fit.
3. Be in it for the long haul
The best way to build trust is to form a partnership rather than a short term contract. The longer you work together the more familiar the influencer will become with the brand and this can help to build authenticity. You may also find briefing becomes less tedious as the influencer naturally knows what to produce, from past experience.
Brands will also be in a stronger position to push for competitor exclusivity should a long term relationship form.