Having won Best Boutique Agency award at this year’s virtual Influencer Marketing Awards, Seen Connects tells us how they became an award-winning agency and how to innovate without compromising authenticity.
Huge congratulations on winning the Boutique Agency Award at this year’s Influencer Marketing Awards. Tell us a bit about the agency and how it felt scooping the prize?
SEEN Connects is the innovative influencer marketing agency; we’re passionate about the power of personality and believe that the human experience of influencers creates genuinely unique content. We hope that our work inspires consumers and drives unrivalled proven impact for brands. For us, it’s not about how much you pay – it’s about how much you care. It’s not just about reach – it’s about authenticity.
Content that tries to sell doesn’t – but content that tries to help does. So, product placement when it comes to influencers is never going to work, because humans will never be billboards. That’s why we believe it’s vital to think creatively and strategically when it comes to finessing a brand’s communication in the social space, by harnessing the unique power of influencers, to ensure we drive tangible returns.
It was incredibly encouraging to receive the Gold Award for being the best Boutique Agency, because it proves to us that the unbelievable time and effort we all put into making sure content is authentic to everyone involved, is truly paying off. Influencer marketing should focus on authentic content and credibility, that’s never commoditised; real people, with real experiences of brands and products, giving real views. It’s been a good four-year slog since Connects was founded, and this prize has really made it all worth it!
In your opinion, how do events like the Influencer Marketing Awards help validate our industry?
Influencer marketing still feels like a relatively new industry; journalists don’t like backing influencers or influencer-led campaigns, and celebrities still hold most traditional entertainment jobs (although that is changing). So really, these awards make a big difference, especially when it comes to getting brands who have never worked in influencer marketing before, to trust the industry and our unique approach.
The awards ceremony is a really exciting opportunity for us all to check out the competition and see the brilliant brands and agencies constantly evolving the space with new and exciting ideas. In many ways, it’s the award shows that set our agency KPIs and benchmarks as an agency within a very competitive space.
Can you give us some insight into how Seen Connects manages influencer relationships and what makes it work well?
We really do pride ourselves on forging real, long-lasting relationships – because after all, that’s how to get the best content out of creators. We often like to meet our network of influencers and their representatives on their turf, to make sure we’re building a great repour and working with them supportively to deliver best-in-class content.
We always pick up the phone and explain the campaign objectives in full – instead of a slap-dash email –so that we can share their creative input and passions with the client, and collaboratively produce content that pushes boundaries.
How do you innovate and be creative without compromising authenticity?
For us, it’s all about archetypal alignment. Once a brand has that firmly centred within all of their partnerships, they shouldn’t need to worry too much about authenticity. The process after archetypal alignment should then be twofold; supporting influencers with creative resources, and significant creative brainstorming, so that the creators feels like they’re about to create the absolute best piece of content they’ve ever created. It’s our role to stay one step ahead, supporting and guiding both influencers and brands – whether that’s through TikTok campaigns or launching a podcast.
If you had one wish for the influencer industry, what would it be?
The one thing we battle constantly is the ever-present lack of trust from brands who haven’t worked in influencer marketing before and have heard horror stories about fake followers. Our one wish would be for the fraudulent activity to stop – be that fake followers, fake ads or fake engagement. It’s all generating an unnecessary negative perception of influencer marketing, which creates influencer fatigue that probably wouldn’t exist if everything was more authentic.
What’s next for you and the team this year?
Having previously used specialist freelancers for a lot of production jobs, as of December this year we will have set up our in-house paid media division, which will enable us to create better content, at a faster rate, and push it further afield. It should also allow us to add an additional ROI metric to the activations we create, execute and report on – and more data equals better campaigns.