brand + influencer

It seems that any time a user logs into Instagram, there are countless posts promoting certain brands. Gym wear, supplements, hair products, skincare, sports treatments, CBD — the list goes on and on. Influencer marketing is a very real niche of digital marketing, and it’s here to stay. However, the influencer environment is also experiencing a shift currently. As more users demand authenticity, brand transparency, and inclusivity, the days of the perfect Instagram model selling hair gummies may soon be over in favor of more authentic promotional partnerships.

What does this mean, exactly? In early going, brands may have partnered with social media influencers in mass numbers. By distributing product, copy, and hashtags to each influencer, a brand could essentially guarantee that the right message would be put out into the world. Influencers, with their massive follower counts, can promote brands to a wider audience with just a single post, and this method has proven to be highly effective for many brands.

However, now more brands than ever are beginning to get more creative with their influencer partnerships. A higher level of trust is required for this — many brands prefer to distribute exact copy and hashtags for fear of an influencer getting the intent or message wrong. However, a longer-term partnership with an influencer can lead to greater levels of authentic engagement.

Let’s use an example of a social media influencer who is partnering with a brand such as Airbnb. Airbnb is a relatively well-known brand name, so how can this brand capitalize on using influencers to further its message?

Instead of requiring the influencer to stick to a script and post a video talking about the features and benefits of the home-sharing service, perhaps there is another way to approach the influencer marketing objective. Find influencers that are trustworthy and who do a great job of creating their own authentic material. This type of content will resonate more deeply with consumers, allowing them to connect with the brand and its products or services.

Going back to the Airbnb example, perhaps the influencer could go on a mini-vacation using Airbnb and document their travels online. This inserts the brand into the content in a more genuine way, rather than simply talking about how great it is. This sort of “product placement” marketing is effective as it shows the potential for great customer experience. And we all know that no one wants to miss out on a good time!

Striking on longer-term relationships with influencers may be the key to success for some brands. Influencer relationships are important because of their effectiveness, but often there is a need for a bit more creativity and authenticity in this type of marketing. Remember, there is a lot of clutter within the marketing industry. At all times, brands should be striving to stand out and to make a difference for a consumer. That creates loyalty and solidifies a brand’s reputation. Finding influencers who can put their own spin on a partnership instead of sticking to the script will go a long way in creating new opportunities for valuable consumer relationships.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.