Day One; TikTok, Social Good and the Influencer Pay Gap
Hosted by Emily Trenouth, Head of Influencer Marketing at Mediacom, the themes of the first day were as diverse as benchmarking your influencer marketing strategy (CreatorIQ), and the need for standardization within the influencer marketing ecosystem.
Taking off the Creative Handcuffs
Although diverse, common themes prevailed, especially the call for creators to be bought into the creative process as early as possible. As mentioned by Max Slack, Creator, They’re Queer, many brands really struggle with the ability to ‘take off the creative handcuffs’ and that it is increasingly important to creators, when developing campaigns from the brand side, that the brand objective and purpose isn’t just centred around ROI. The way that brands approach relationships was also under discussion, with the unanimous conclusion being that the influencer landscape is getting more and more competitive from an exclusivity point of view, and in this vein, that brands really need to focus on longer-term partnerships in order to combat this and get ahead of the game.
Later on in the day in a talk from one of our Gold sponsors, TikTok, it was explained that videos that feature creators perform above benchmarks in three key areas; engagement, click-through rate and view-through rate. They also encouraged us to look beyond reach with TikTok creators and familiarize ourselves with the difference between a creator and an influencer.
The Influencer Pay Gap
Our final sessions of the day were dedicated to an extremely prevalent topic within the industry, the Influencer Pay Gap. It encompasses many forms of discrimination, and the overwhelming thread, was that it is the industry’s responsibility to learn all that we can about what is not a binary subject. In line with this, Rahul Titus of Ogilvy made it clear that the onus is on organisations to audit themselves in order to understand the motivations behind the discrimination, past and present, before jumping to the obvious solution of paying influencers fairly and equally for the work that they do and the value that they drive.
Emily’s favourite quote of the day was that ‘Influence is an outcome – not a profession’, which seems a fitting sentiment to end our first day on.
Day Two; Collaboration, Communities and Future-Gazing
On our highly-anticipated second day, we covered everything from the importance of personal branding, to how to work with virtual influencers, and how to measure sales on everything from haute couture to big macs with bacon.
Our first talk of the day, complete with special guest Harry Hugo of the Goat Agency, we learnt how personal branding can be useful to not just generate brand awareness, but also how you can position yourself as an employer of choice, a real expert in your field, build brand authority and trust worthiness and fundamentally drive leads and sales.
Don’t Just Broadcast – Collaborate
‘Collaboration’ presented itself as a buzzword, with our host Will Bonnadio, Senior Client Partner at Electric House, commenting that the sessions of the day led him to conclude that when working with influencers, you can’t just broadcast, and that there must be a dialogue between all parties. This was supported by Ed Brittain from MSL’s talk in which he claimed that ‘The best influencer content is a collaboration because actually, the creator knows their audience best’ and that it doesn’t work when they are used as a ‘a glorified billboard’.
‘Communities’ was an important motif, with Lauren Spearman from MADE.com mentioning how the impact and positivity that a creator brings to a campaign has changed how they (at MADE.com) approach employing influencers and changing their focus to being consumer and community focussed. On the subject of communities, Saif Islam of the Muslim Influencer Network (M.I.N) spoke about how faith & religion are more important and more valuable than ever, and stressed how creating collections in collaboration with voices from the muslim community is the key to success.
Future-gazing was the final theme of the day with Dudley Neville-Spencer giving us a tour of the virtual Influencer space, and what the future of this side of the industry looks like, from the avatars that we have seen in video games/snapchat, to the synthetic humans which are beginning to populate the banking and beauty industries, as well as both creator and brand owned virtual influencers. This was followed by the panellists of our final panel of the day concluding that flexibility and adaptability are the order of the day (or should we say year!) with these characteristics dominating the industry and prediction polls.
Day 3, Creator Day
On the third day of
Christmas IMS Global 2020, we ran our very first ‘Creator Day’, aiming to deliver value to creators and acknowledge the supplier side of the industry.
The American Influencer Council, spearheaded by Qianna Smith Bruneteau, created a captivating panel on culture. Protection was the dominant subject of discussion, and was outlined well by one of the panellists, Natalie Silverstein of Collectively, ‘its long been accepted that brands can protect themselves from the behaviour of partners, but I think what’s new, is actually influencers being able to protect themselves from brands and brands behaviours’.
Authenticity and individuality were common points of reference throughout the day, with Krishna Subramanian and Stephanie Hoppe from Captiv8 emphasising that ‘generic messaging doesn’t work’ and our Age of the Creator panel discussing how money mentality is important, and how at the table, your voice is just as valuable as the person sat next to you.
Our one holistically focussed panel of the day came in the form of Charlotte Williams of SevenSix’s ‘Creating an inclusive culture beyond the grid’. It was cited that in today’s marketing culture over half of Gen-Z and young millennials are more motivated to buy having seen branded content that is culturally relevant, which spoke to the ROI element, however the compelling non commercial element was summed up by the host of the day Grace O’Reilly, as she spoke about the widespread call for a panel within the infrastructure of every industry, so that decision-makers and traditional gate-keepers can also understand the market better, and that ‘everyone must foster authentic relationships with like minded individuals across creator, brands and platforms so that together we can create new credible entertainment ecosystems’
Day 4; Measurement, Vision, & Understanding
Measurement was the flavour of the fourth and final day of the Influencer Marketing Show Global 2020, with the first panel looking at how to make sure that you have the right metrics for measurement, and promoting the foundation of a good campaign as setting out the right objectives from the outset. Echoing this sentiment was Conor Begley from Tribe Dynamics, who spoke about the critical nature of long-term vision, and the maintenance of your community as an integral part of this.
The hotly anticipated social commerce panel didn’t disappoint, dealing with the connection between digital innovation & points of retail, this will prove to be a very ‘interesting part of the industry to monitor and stay on top of’ according to panellist Jonathan Lewis-Jones of Publicis Commerce.
The host of the day, Scott Guthrie commented that ‘understanding’ was the motto of the day, with an industry that is increasingly specialising and maturing, it is becoming apparent that one individuals success, whether that is a brand, agency, platform or a creator, is everyone’s success, as it is moving the industry towards the day where it is not having to justify itself as ‘part of the marketing mix’.
The content of this year’s IMS Global was compelled to take the limelight, with networking being forced to take a backseat, but as the Influencer Marketing industry has such mammoth growth spurts, learning from peers, and taking stop of an unusual year did seem to be what was called for. All that’s left to say is a huge thank you to our wonderful hosts, speakers and sponsors, and that we look forward to seeing you at the next one.
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