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July 22, 2021

Influencing Influencers: Brand Protection and Risk Management

Influencer marketing has grown exponentially, revolutionising the way brands advertise products.  This social media marketing involves endorsement and product placement by those with social influence such as celebrities (think Kim Kardashian) and reality TV stars (think Love Island).  Influencers’ social media channels via Instagram, youtube, Twitter, Facebook, tiktok and the like are leveraged by brands to reach their followers and to encourage them to buy their products .

Getting influencer marketing right means that brands can successfully connect and interact globally with consumers by influencing their buying habits.  Whilst the potential benefits can be huge, brands can also be tainted or destroyed in a heartbeat as a result of careless social media posts or negative influencer publicity.  Businesses can no longer rely on the old adage of ‘no such thing as bad publicity’.

1. Do your due diligence

  • Is the influencer right for you?
  • What are their values, and do they align with you?
  • Check out their social media posts?  Does their style fit yours?
  • Look into their history – are there any skeletons in the closet that could come back to bite your brand?
  • Does the influencer act for any competing brands?  This can water down their endorsement of your product

2. Put an agreement in place

  • This is the commercial and legal basis for the campaign.  Detail exactly what is expected.  How many posts?  When?  What support and marketing materials will you provide?
  • Termination clauses will be essential if you need to distance yourself from them.
  • Remember confidentiality to protect commercially sensitive information.  Don’t give away your secrets! 
  • Be crystal clear on how your brand can be used.  Make sure they are on message.

3. Follow the regulations and guidance in place

  • Don’t expect the influencer to be an expert.  Any blowback will hit your brand.  Educate them if necessary.
  • Share with them ‘An Influencer’s Guide to making clear that ads are ads’ https://www.asa.org.uk/resource/influencers-guide.html
  • Paid for posts should be clearly marked as adverts.  Using #paidpartnership or #ad/#advert is good practice, but ‘sponsored’, ‘in association with’ or ‘thanks to [brand] for making this happen’ are not recommended. 
  • ‘Paid for’ doesn’t just mean money.  It can also cover product loans, hotel stays or trips.
  • The UK advertising codes have specific rules on adverts directed at children, greater scrutiny for medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products, slimming products, food supplements, alcohol, homework and business opportunities. 
  • There is specific legislation for certain products which cannot be short-circuited through use of influencers.  Examples may be financial services, gambling, and age-restricted products.  You should already be aware of them, but have you told your influencer?

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