Amid a backlash over ad disclosure, cosmetics brand Benefit has set up a new in-house influencer agency as it invests more in the influencer channel. Bridging the gap between Benefit’s marketing team and digital influencers marks a change in the way Benefit is approaching influencer marketing. The purpose of the new ‘hub’ will ensure the budget is being invested in the right place and is delivering returns, with the focus centering on tracking posts created by content creators in a more robust way – even those that have not necessarily been contractually agreed.
Having worked with around 500 influencers, it is important that Benefit are transparent and comply with the ASA and CMA rules. Over the years, Benefit has built up relationships with influencers, offering them paid-for trips, one-to-one experiences and gifting products rather than paid-for ads. Though it is an authentic way to showcase their products, there are calls from the regulatory bodies for brands and influencers to be more transparent when they have been #gifted something. If posts include a free gift or another perk, the influencer must disclose it in the same way they would a paid-for ad.
Diversifying influencer marketing
Prior to the dedicated influencer hub, influencer responsibility used to lie with the PR and digital teams but now, by merging both the PR and digital skillsets, the company hopes they will be able to achieve their global KPIs. PR and influencer marketing manager Annie Harrison will head up the division and be responsible for recruiting a digitally native employee to “bring more of an analytical skillset” to help inform the strategy, Harrison told The Drum. It will be trialled in the UK before potentially launching into other markets.
Benefit is just one company out of many that have been investing more in influencer marketing and making influencer marketing processes more formal. So far, it has built up and maintained relationships with influencers they feel represent the brand but the team is now looking to bring more diversity to their influencer marketing strategy.
Recently, Benefit opened a chicken restaurant that promoted its winged eye eyeliner and a happy house that included four interactive rooms. It will be interesting to see how their overhauled influencer marketing approach pans out as more brands look to reach consumers in new, innovative ways.