Social media is a powerful tool and influencers are the orchestrators of the complex machine. A successful social media campaign can rapidly boost a brand’s visibility and traction, but an unsuccessful one could damage the reputation of both the brand and influencer.
If you are thinking about engaging an influencer, or indeed working with a brand, here are a few things we recommend you think about…
1. Is this collaboration the right fit?
For the brand…
Choosing the right personality to work with is imperative. Not only do you want to ensure that the influencer you engage is known to your target audience, you will want to be sure that their general ethos and values fit that of your brand.
Many brands have suffered damage to their own reputation in instances where an influencer or celebrity they work with does or says something that isn’t aligned to the ethos and values of the brand. In order to avoid a (possibly lengthy) termination process in such a scenario, it is sensible to be forward-thinking in choosing who to work with.
For the influencer…
Equally, not only is it important to work with a brand that matches your own values and outlook, you need to think about other collaborations which you may be a part of. For example, you may work with a plant-based food company but also be asked to endorse leather goods for another. Whilst the two aren’t directly in conflict, it is important to think about a) whether the two collaborations would be a good fit and b) whether you are subject to any contractual restrictions preventing you from engaging with certain businesses/products.
2. Are you aware of the Advertising Standards?
The Advertising Standards Agency (“ASA”) are responsible for regulating advertising in the UK. The ASA have issued various guidance on how campaigns should be shared in order to ensure transparency between the brand, influencer and the end-customer.
Compliance with guidance published by the ASA is the responsibility of both the influencer and the brand, so it is important that both parties are aware of the rules in place. Such rules should also form part of any contract, so that both parties are aware of the exact rules with which the campaign should comply.
3. What role do you want the influencer to play in your brand campaign?
In a contract, clarity is key. Both parties should be aware what their duties are.
For the brand…
As an example, you may want the influencer to publish three social media posts per week. You therefore might want to make clear:
- the platform on which they should post and include social media handles;
- which format the post should be in. Should it take the form of a photo or video? If the intention is a video, how long should the video be?
- is there anything they should not include in the post? For example, you might want to ask that no other individuals feature in the post;
- what you do want them to include in the post…for example, if promoting a product, you may want the product in question to feature in at least 2/3 of the image.
For the influencer…
It is important to understand what the brand is asking of you. You might want to think about whether their requests are achievable and realistic. This is imperative, as non-compliance with such instructions could lead to a breach of contract.
It is also important to think about deadlines and whether these are workable.
4. Are there any other rules you need to be aware of?
Some products or services may be subject to stricter regulatory rules than others. For example, there are several additional rules to be aware of when advertising alcoholic or gambling products. It is important that both brand and influencer are aware of the rules in relation to the product in question.
5. Who should have the final say?
As with any brand collaboration, both parties are lending their image to the advertising campaign and so it is not hard to understand why both parties would want to exercise control over the final product.
In a contract, we suggest that there is a mechanism for both parties to provide feedback on any proposed content. For example, the mechanism might make clear how long each party has to review the proposed content and might cover what happens if a party is unhappy. This should help to avoid any issues over what to do if an impasse is reached.
When brand collaborations work well, they can be incredibly effective in boosting the brand’s sales and visibility in a market. In turn, the profile of the influencer can be raised remarkably which can lead to various other opportunities. The key to this? A well-drafted contract!
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