The Art Of The Influencer
It’s an influencer’s world, we just live in it. Gone are the days when a brand’s linear media would make or break their ad campaign. Here to stay are those influencer and endorsement partnerships that leverage someone’s own personal brand to help propel the campaign.
These types of partnerships have the ability to make or break a brand, but they have to be fully understood and done right. And, as you may already know, this field is an incredibly popular one with our clients. We're quite experienced with this type of marketing, and so, we're here to help you out and share our expertise. In this blog, Hollywood Branded is going to provide some influencer and celebrity endorsement 101 definitions and clarifications.
Crash Course In Influencer Partnerships
An influencer partnership is when an influencer creates content on behalf of a brand. Majority of the time, the purpose of the content is for it to live on the influencer’s social pages in the hopes of selling that product or service to their followers.
A big misconception is the idea that brands can just send influencers product for them to post, and they’ll happily do this for free. Those days are gone. Unless we’re dealing with a lower follower count (under 10k) or a very expensive, highly coveted product, gone are the days of influencers doing this for free. And honestly, they shouldn’t. The reason brands want to work with a specific influencer is because of their follower count, but also because of the general aesthetic of their page that has helped them get to that follower count. The content these people are creating is time consuming and often produced with the help of expensive camera and lighting equipment, sometimes even a professional photographer. To some brands, all they’re asking is for someone to take a photo and post it to their Instagram account, but in reality, there is a lot more involved in the process, and these influencers expect to be paid accordingly. They are essentially producing advertisement for the brand; they are content creators, and they need to be seen more so in that light.
What brands also need to keep in mind is that many influencers charge an additional fee for the brand to be able to repurpose that influencer’s content on their own channels. So just because a brand pays for someone to post about their product, the brand can’t just assume that they can use that same image on their channels. Again, these influencers are essentially creating advertisement for your brand. You’d have to pay an advertisement agency for that kind of work, right? The same mentality needs to apply here.
Known for her editorial-like content, below are a couple examples of sponsored posts from @WendysLookBook. You can see how the brand is clear, and her overall aesthetic remains intact.
Something else to factor in is how a brand would like their budget dispersed. Are they looking for multiple smaller influencers to post one time or are they looking for a few select, larger influencer to post multiple times? Are they looking for in-feed content or Instagram stories that can include a swipe-up link leading audiences directly to the brand’s website? There is no right or wrong answer to this. Different methods yield different results. One of the benefits of our agency is working with you to determine what method is the most effective way to achieve your KPI’s.
There’s also the additional element of running these influencer posts as advertisements that a brand is boosting. Boosting the content allows the post to reach beyond that particular influencer’s page. Thanks to incredibly advanced and specific targeting techniques, you can use that post to reach as niche or broad of an audience as you’d like. This is called whitelisting. It’s when a brand collaborates with an influencer to create content for the brand, but unlike regular influencer marketing, instead of the influencer posting the content on their own feed, their content is posted by the brand as ad content. There are two ways of doing this. The first is getting permission from the influencer to use their content as your own, boosting it from your own account. Or, to get a little fancier, you can generate the ad so that it looks like it’s coming from the influencer’s account. As you can read about in more detail here, this method is so effective because it’s not a traditional ad that one might scroll past. It fits in organically with one’s social feed, allowing the brand to come off more authentic.
The Nuts And Bolts Of Celebrity Endorsements
A celebrity endorsement is a tried-and-true practice we’ve seen for years. It’s the act of using a celebrity’s likeness to promote a brand. In some ways, they’re very similar to building influencer partnerships. They have the same general principle: finding a person whose brand fits the company’s demographic.
While the overall general principle is very similar, unfortunately it is not apples to apples relative to influencer marketing. A celebrity’s social following, while incredibly important, is not usually the entire driving factor of a partnership. There are things like past projects, upcoming projects, overall popularity. It’s also important to understand that a celebrity’s four million followers carry more weight than an influencer’s four million followers.
It’s also more common for a celebrity partnership to include elements like ad campaigns and events. While traditional influencers CAN be featured in brand’s ads, it’s certainly a more common a celebrity to be the one featured in a brand’s commercials, print, or on-pack advertising.
Below is an example of Natalie Portman's print ad for Christian Dior's perfume, Miss Dior.
When approaching a celebrity with interest for an endorsement campaign, it’s incredibly important to have a full understanding of all of the celebrity’s expectations. It’s much easier (and cost effective!) to include everything in the original ask than to go back to their team halfway through the campaign asking for more. There are things like necessary photoshoots, commercial shoots, duration of the campaign, use of their likeness across the brand's website and socials, number of social posts from the celebrity, event appearances that are all important elements to be accounted for when devising such a campaign.
Below is an ad McDonald's ran to promote their celebrity endorsement partnership with Travis Scott.
And Boy Does It Work!
These partnerships are notorious for elevating a brand's awareness, authenticity, and sales. It's a way to cut through the typical-looking ad. People resonate with an actual person more than they do a company name. It makes sense that a person is just more relatable. It's why these partnerships continue to work, and the industry continues to go year over year.
Trust Us, This Is A Topic You Want To Learn More About
This industry is only growing with the addition of more and more social media platforms and features of each platform (think TikTok and Instagram Reels). It's an incredible way to boost brand awareness, generate great content, and it's really tailored to your budget. Check out some more articles below about these topics!
- Top 10 Celebrity Endorsements
- NCAA College Athletes As Influencers
- Celebrity Endorsements with Bollywood Influencers
- From Tik Tok To Tinder: An Influencer Marketing Strategy
- Marketing From An Influencer's Perspective
If you want to learn even MORE, check out the below Influencer Marketing and Brand Partnerships Report. It provides incredible insight into everything in the world of influencer!