Some agencies (influencer marketing and talent management alike) proclaim that “long-term partnerships” is the direction that influencer marketing is headed. They push this idea, but to benefit whom? The brand or the agency? By signing on individuals to a brand for the long-term, the agency cements themselves as the liaison between brand and influencer for the length of the partnership, thereby guaranteeing work for themselves during that time.
So why push for long-term commitment in our partnerships when the platforms we use for marketing can’t even commit to the same algorithm in a year? Many will say the benefits of long-term partnerships with influencers allow them to become brand ambassadors rather than one-off advertisements. Others will point to more reliability from influencers. Still others say it fosters a deeper sense of trust and commitment between brand and influencer. This begs the question: shouldn’t influencers be doing these things already? If an influencer is unreliable, unwilling to be a brands’ ambassador, or hasn’t truly committed themselves to the brands’ values, then it becomes clear that he or she is only interested in the financial compensation. Without these pieces, the campaigns they produce are inauthentic and ineffective, and locking them into a long-term partnership isn’t the fix.
There’s a reason why people date before settling into a relationship and, perhaps one day, a marriage. Influencer marketing should be the same. There should be less emphasis on the length of a partnership and more on the quality of the partnership. The relationships between influencer, agency, and brand should be sustained and nurtured regardless of the length of time spent working together. And with the digital, political, and economical landscape changing at speeds never seen before, brands must retain the ability to pivot without any backlash, fallout, or burning of bridges. Unlike a marriage, it’s not personal, it’s business.
Our approach to influencer marketing ensures that the client can see the huge returns from working with influencers at the start, without the massive buy-ins, lengthy retainers, and pushes for more, more, more that typical agencies make. Every campaign we run is self-contained, regardless of any other influencer marketing campaigns we have planned for the brand, but still seamlessly woven into the brand’s overall marketing strategy and efforts. This allows brands of any size to test into influencer marketing and see its value before committing to the long-haul. By crafting our campaigns independently, we’re also able to pivot at a moment’s notice. In today’s world, the ability to adapt campaigns to any change is critical. Long-term relationships may be where (some say) influencer marketing is headed, but it is by no means where influencer marketing is at now.