The use of key influencers to drive awareness and spark engagement has become an integral part of almost every modern marketing strategy, but for many brands, even the most successful influencer marketing campaigns aren’t as powerful—or cost-effective—as they could be.
Here’s the problem: Most brands have multiple agencies with a seat at the table, including PR, media buying, digital and creative. Ownership of influencer marketing has typically been up for grabs, which can lead to a siloed approach where each agency runs or outsources their own influencer component. For one brand, there could be influencers working on behalf of advertising, digital and PR, all at the same time and all managed by a different entity with a different set of objectives. This is where things can start getting sloppy with potential competition for the same influencers, inconsistent execution deliverables, non-strategic timing and varying content quality.
The solution? It’s surprisingly simple: It’s time for brands to bring on influencer agencies of record.
Engaging an influencer AOR means that the full brand marketing plan, including other agency tactics, can be seamlessly incorporated into the influencer marketing approach. This concept isn’t totally new, as some companies are already practicing this.
A few additional benefits of employing an influencer agency of record include the following.
A unified influencer marketing effort means that the consumer experience and deliverables are more consistent across multiple campaigns. More than once, my agency has been in the position of creating two separate campaigns at the same time and for the same exact brand. How does this happen, you ask? Since there is often no real “owner” of influencer marketing, existing agencies (typically PR and media buying) can both end up hiring influencers for the same campaign. It’s a colossal waste of both money and resources and also makes the task of recruiting more difficult than it has to be. The brand is essentially competing against itself for the influencers.
This type of AOR integrates brand and agency processes and breaks down silos, which in turn reduces knowledge gaps. When a single group is coordinating the influencer tactics from the top down, brand spend is streamlined. Timing is perfected, duplicate or overlapping campaign tactics can be eliminated and, ultimately, content quality is improved.
Personal relationships lead to better content
Influencer agencies are not all alike. Some rely on technology platforms to select and communicate with influencers while others take a more hands-on approach. An influencer agency of record should have the ability to personally survey and recruit content creators, maintain direct communications throughout a campaign and leverage QA processes to ensure content quality and eliminate influencer fraud. Influencers with this hands-on approach are likely to produce more meaningful campaigns and provide valuable perspectives over time.
When brands can rely on one agency to oversee long-term programs rather than individual campaigns, it’s easier for marketers to tweak tactics and swap in different types of influencers in order to find the perfect mix. This allows the creation of new high-performing brand content throughout the year, which can be extended and repurposed on brand-owned channels and through media buys.
It’s more efficient to work with the same agency over a period of time, particularly when the brand story is complex or multifaceted. An agency partner who is familiar with brand goals and messages is better suited to guide a variety of influencer campaigns and cuts back on the time necessary for getting new stakeholders up to speed.
An influencer AOR sees the big picture—market, organization and industry—and has a deep understanding of brand goals. This generates a brand/agency partnership that produces strategic, world-class campaigns featuring engaging and dynamic influencer content.