Influencer marketing has been a hot topic in the past few months with media companies increasingly hiring influencer managers to help build brands. Influencers can bolster trust between a brand and its consumers but there is risk associated with this strategy.
Anyone who has been online within the past week has probably heard of the Fyre Festival fiasco. What was supposed to be an exotic music festival experience, complete with celebrity endorsements, quickly soured. From the cheese sandwiches and lack of alcohol to the questionable lodgings (literal disaster relief tents) in the Bahamas, the “once-in-a-lifetime musical experience” had guests scrambling to book flights back to the U.S.
Not only does this reflect poorly on the event organizers, including rapper Ja Rule, it also harms the credibility of the celebrity influencers who have been promoting the festival for months. AdWeek reports that it is expected for consumers to be more wary of influencers’ endorsements. So how can brands avoid potential fallout when using influencer marketing?
Devon Wijesinghe, CEO of InsightPool, recommends for brands to develop relationships with influencers rather than simply paying for a product post. Shared values between a brand and an influencer result in more authentic, trustworthy endorsements. Jennifer Aniston’s long-term partnership with Aveeno is an example of a successful celebrity endorsement.
It is important for brands to remember that while an influencer can be paid to promote something, it won’t always have the intended outcome.