Welcome to episode 72 of This Week Online Today, where I will be talking to you about the big online news that has been happening this week today to make sure that you are ahead of the game when it comes to running your online brand successfully.
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In this episode of This Week Online Today, I talk about the following:
- the proposition about making the influencer marketing space more honest and genuine
- the intentions by global brands to increase spending but focusing on quality instead of reach
- remembering a recent viral tweet which heavily criticised staged adverts by influencers
- why you should never “fake it till you make it”
- Uniliver’s call for the industry to focus on long-term and “purposeful” relationships with influencers to tackle fraud
- Press Release by World Federation of Advertisers on global brands’ intentions to increase spending in infuencer marketing
- The tweet which attacked the manner of the staged Instagram post to promote Listerine
Welcome this week Online Today podcast with your host Ahmed Khalifa, where I will be talking about the biggest online news that had happened this week and why you should be aware of it. And don’t forget, if you subscribe to the newsletter, you’ll also receive a bonus tip of the week of what you should do about it, and you’ll find that link in the show notes. In the meantime, let’s get straight onto the show.
What’s up, everyone? This is Ahmed Khalifa with episode 72 of This Week Online Today and I wanted to talk about this proposed future of a longer term, more honest, more genuine influencer marketing. It’s kind of a subject that people are a bit hesitant about, because it doesn’t seem to be genuine all of the time, and this is the whole point of this story.
So, the brand Unilever, they make all these household goods for everyone, they had been talking about in a recent event about the industry needs to aim for a longterm, and I quote “purposeful relationship” with influencers in order to tackle the fraud that exists in there.
Now, the executive vice president for global media called Luis Di Como, he said that “Unilever will never buy followers, and will never work with influences that buy followers,” but they do want to increase their spending in the influencer marketing space.
And it seems like a lot of people want to do that, because back in July 2018 there had been a research by the World Federation of Advertisers and they claimed, and I quote, “Multinational brands are planning to increase their spending on influencer marketing in the next 12 months, with 65% aiming to spend more.”
And I’m guessing Unilever is amongst that number as well. But in the same research they have been claiming that marketers will only do so, and the marketers of these multinational brands, they will only do so if there is transparency they are met. And the credibility and reputation are taken into account. And they’re looking at the quality, not quantity of followers. That is the top of their selection list when they decide on who to work with.
Apparently, according to the research, 96% of the respondents in this research, they said that the quality of the followers is absolutely essential or very important, which is quite interesting. If that’s the top of the list then you can see that they’re taking it seriously.
Although you could argue that action speaks louder than words, but we’ll see how that goes on as well.
So back to the story by Unilever, they want to move on from this one old transactional commercial relationship with creators or influences. And there are other industry commentators as well jumping in, like Christine Sarah who has quoted, “We often see influencers jumping from one brand to another in search of short-term financial gains. However, this ultimately undermines their audience’s trust, and can devalue your brand’s efforts.” And from all of that, essentially what they want to make sure that reach is not the KPI, the ‘key performance indicator’.
When I say reach, you can suggest that it’s all about how far would that advert go? How many people will view it? And you know it’s all about the number as high as possible rather than the quality of the numbers. But that was always the obsession. There was always the obsession about of the number of followers, and number of views, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the best metric to follow. In fact, most of the time it’s not the best metric to follow.
Do you remember the tweet that happened, I think it was September 2018, and it went viral? And long story short, it was the one about Johnson & Johnson. They had teamed up with an influencer, particularly on Instagram, called Scarlett Dixon, aka Scarlett London. And they’re promoting Listerine, the mouthwash.
Now, this tweet kind of went viral, I think it got, at the time of recording this, about 25,000 retweets and 112,000 likes, which is insane. And basically attacking the image of this ridiculous life actually that made all of us feel inadequate. So, it’s having a good Instagram, but also having a good the person promoting Listerine in that fashion. So, I’ll put the link in the show notes. You can look at it yourself.
Fuck off this is anybody’s normal morning.
Instagram is a ridiculous lie factory made to make us all feel inadequate. pic.twitter.com/arV7uCusiJ
— Nathan (@hintofsarcasm) August 31, 2018
But basically, there was a lot of anger about how it was staged, and how fake it was, because the image contained her sitting in her bed. She’s surrounded by heart-shaped balloon, and she’s sitting on the blanket with a picture of herself. There’s a plate of strawberries and weirdly-looking tortilla which supposedly was supposed to be pancakes.
But anyway, that image got criticised a lot and as a result of Scarlett London she has been (verablly) attacked. And it’s uncalled for because she’s been getting death threats, and it’s just not right. That shouldn’t happen in the first place.
On top of that, Scarlett did say that “My feed isn’t a place of reality,” but that’s the problem. That’s the problem with influencer marketing, is that it’s fake. It’s staged. That’s the reputation that it has.
And especially when you have these people who don’t even disclose that they are working with these brands, then it’s even worse. In this case, Scarlett did, and there is like a subtle mention of Listerine and put in the background there, and you can see it beside her bed. And it just did not seem genuine at all.
But the fact that she said, “My feed isn’t a place of reality,” well that actually is the nature of the problem, and that is the problem that the brands are having, and they will suffer from that.
So, all these big brands like Unilever, and L’Oreal, and eBay, and Diageo, they’ve all admitted that this is a problem. They’ve all admitted that the problem with influencer marketing that it kind of looks almost fraudulent, and you’re kind of lying to the audience in a sense.
And at the end of the day, they’re going to look bad as well. Not just the Instagramers and all these influences out there.
So, I think it’s a good thing that there is the proposed future in terms of making it more of a longer term, more of a relationship side of it. You build a relationship with an influencer, not just move from one to another, because you want to get that reach.
I think it’s a good thing because I think … Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think most of us are sick of seeing those influencers gaining financial benefit, and this creates a false impression of their lives with the help of their fake followers.
And then, as I said, when they don’t disclose their relationship with this brand then that’s even worse. So, I think the is a need for authenticity, honesty, better relationship, especially when it comes to connecting with the audience. Because you can’t just fake it till you make it. You shouldn’t fake it till you make it.
You should care about your audience, and maybe the easy way to do it, it might be twisted in certain words. There might be people still taking advantage of it, but maybe by creating a more honest space in the influencer marketing earlier, maybe we’ll see something better in the long-term as well. Who knows?
Let me know what you think and I’m really curious to know that. Because it’s kind of been bugging me, but maybe this is a good sign that this is going to change for the better.
I hope you enjoyed this episode. Let me know what you think and of course, I would always appreciate it if you could leave a review on iTunes, it would be absolutely awesome. In the meantime, I’ll see you next week. Take care.
Thank you for listening to this episode of This Week Online Today. I really appreciate it and I hope you find it useful. If you have enjoyed this show, please do leave a review on iTunes. It would mean the world to me. I really would appreciate that.
Thank you again, you rock, and one more thing, I just want to remind to do your thing because it matters.
And I’ll see you next week.
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