The Ever-Changing World Of Influencer Marketing


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How Do I Get Involved In Influencer Marketing?  

In terms of entertainment marketing, influencer marketing is a relatively new tactic. Brands have learned how to expertly utilize influencers in ad campaigns and through social media partnerships on-the-fly and are constantly adapting and changing their tactics with new trends and features on social media. 

Because of the constant changes influencer marketing goes through, as a brand, it can feel daunting to know where to start. We want to make the transition to influencer marketing feel seamless and effortless! In this blog, Hollywood Branded discusses how to get your brand working (successfully) with influencers. 

The Ever-Changing World Of Influencer Marketing

The Wild West Of Influencer Marketing 

When I first launched Hollywood Branded 15 years ago, back in 2007, the word 'influencer' was not the same thing it is today. The entire world of influencer marketing was just getting started.

  • There were no ‘nano,’ ‘micro,’ or ‘macro-influencers.
  • Standardized payment based on follower count didn’t exist yet - there was no system to understand what you get for what you pay (hah – there still isn’t today!)
  • Trade/gifting WAS the preferred method of payment by everyone. Talent and brand included.
  • There were no levels of enforced FTC regulations that required #ad above the fold to ensure deceptive advertising practices did not hoodwink consumers.

It was indeed the wild west.

Influencer Marketing was launched not by everyday people and by bloggers who posted about everything under the sun. Instead, those first authentic ‘influencers’ were celebrities. Or at least, ‘personalities’ who had reality shows that made them famous, or simply infamous.

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What Is An Influencer?

Most ‘influencers’ at that time were just prominent personalities who got more than their share of 15 minutes of fame. They were celebrities who had no discernable acting or music talent and were famous simply for being who they were… renowned reality TV stars born into Hollywood due to their parents—bored young adults and teens who were given access to technology in a world that was not crowded with content and made having a cell phone that they actively posted on a business.

It didn’t take long for brands to realize that they wanted to be part of this new spotlight and that these partnerships drove massive awareness – and would lead to sales. Once that connection was made, the Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian elite of the world were highly desired, but it did take a few beats to get there. As in years – and years.

Influencer Influencer Marketing

Like Pulling Teeth To Get Brands To Give Away Product

And boy, did our clients fight us and not want to work with them. I vividly remember trying to talk the then CMO of BlackBerry into allowing us to gift Paris Hilton, Kim K, and her sisters BlackBerry devices. Kylie was only ten years old and not even part of the conversation. It was a hard sell and an uphill battle, which we ultimately won after much effort. These celebrity personalities were not seen as having B2B impact. Especially by a brand that doubled down in the business world, so much so that their failure to diversify and go after the iPhone consumer-led to their overall brand demise. I had a prime front-row seat to watch a brand grow, grow, and grow – and then unravel. Not a fun position to be in when you and your team are giving it your all to make – and keep the brand – a Hollywood star.

Brands back then got 'celebrity' - we powered all of Hollywood with our gifts of BlackBerry devices. But influencers? 

Brands did not value the power of these individuals quite yet. Facebook was just three years old and something college students used. Instagram's grid photo spread layouts were still three years away, with no one understanding the social world that was about to be unleashed.

The brand team’s lack of understanding then made sense. It was a whole new world.

Influencer Gifting

Photo Credit: ShareASale

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Does Your Team Get It?

It's different today in some ways, at least. Today, brands get it. Well, many more do. Those that truly understand the power of influencer marketing get that it works to build brand awareness and drive top-of-the-funnel marketing wins. The brands are still kicking, screaming, and saying that it is all a farce – that influencer marketing is a temporary marketing tactic that doesn't pay out – well, those are missing out, and I daresay they may go the way of BlackBerry.

Because the truth is, influencer marketing works. It works to build brand awareness. It works to get the brand in front of new potential customers. And it works to create content from someone who knows how to get their audience to tune in and read/watch what they have to say.

What it isn't, however, is a magic elixir that leads to crazy sales success. And I wish brands would get that. 


Figure Out Your KPIs (And Make It Not Sales)

I cannot tell you how many brands come to us thinking that the entire KPI they should have for an influencer marketing campaign is sales. That's the last thing a brand should expect. Sales do happen. But not overnight. It takes time, trial, and error. And it's a numbers game. Yet, except for influencer marketing (ok and product placement!), brands don't approach any other type of advertising (besides digital CPC, perhaps) with the absolute belief that one single ad will lead to thousands of products – or even hundreds – sold, overnight.

Influencer marketing is no different from PR or buying media. It's an art that takes discipline, practice and knowledge, and a willingness to test and take risks.

It's a journey. A long one, and it should be part of your everyday marketing plans and not ignored.


A Good KPI? Content Generation

What's golden about influencer marketing is the content the influencer creates for your brand. If you smartly negotiate, you can then repurpose across your social and digital platforms – saving you money and time. So if you are a naysayer brand who doesn't get what the influencer marketing hub bub is talking about, take a moment and see if your approach is the right one and if you are truly giving it a chance. Like with product placement, the only way to get a starring role that gets talked about is to participate actively. You won't get sales if you are not playing full out and doing more than just dipping your toe in.

So dive in! Go full out. At least give it a try. There are influencers for every size of budget. Just remember to approach creating an influencer plan with a goal beyond immediate sales.

There is a reason someone like Kim gets paid over $500k a post. Brands do see results. But she shouldn't be the first influencer you work with out of the gate, if she is even a fit for your brand at all. But the good news is, there is an influencer who is spot-on perfect for your brand.


Eager To Learn More?

The world of influencer marketing can feel incredibly daunting, but we're here to help. At Hollywood Branded, we have no shortage of blog posts surrounding influencers, and we always love sharing our findings with our readers! Check the blogs out below for some more insight into influencer marketing. 

Want to get your brand directly in the hands of some of the biggest names in Hollywood? Look no further than our very own celebrity gifting and media lounge taking place at this year's San Diego Comic-Con! Click the image below to learn how to get your brand involved!  

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