#FuturePRoof has today published a guide addressing the need for influencer marketing governance in public relations.
The #FuturePRoof guide aims to give public relations a voice around the critical area of governance for influencer marketing. It’s a challenging area of practice that sits between marketing and public relations, and earned and paid media.
Public relations as an industry has been slow to offer leadership on influencer marketing to practitioners and influencers. We’ve been here before with search engine optimisation (SEO), social media, and content marketing. It’s important that PR doesn’t miss out again. So I was thrilled when Stephen Waddington offered to co-author the guide and Sarah Waddington offered to publish the work through her #FuturePRoof community.
Our 4,400-word report characterises the influencer marketing market, including applicable media law and guidance. It covers, too: the guidance for campaigns where no money is exchanged; gifts in kind such as accommodation or travel; and financial payment.
The guide includes significant contributions from Jake O’Neill, senior marketing manager, Vuelio and Andrew Terry, Partner and Head of Intellectual Property & Media, Eversheds Sutherland.
Rupa Shah, founder and director of Hashtag Ad Consulting was invaluable in sense checking the compliance sections. “It’s vital that PR practitioners, alongside all other players in the influencer marketing industry, understand the scope and role of the advertising regulators and the basic laws and regulations around disclosure” Shah has said about the guide continuing: “this whitepaper provides an excellent starting point with its handy ASA rulings and contract advice.”
Leadership better than ownership
The choice of the word lead over own is deliberate. It may seem overly nuanced, but the difference is pertinent. ‘Ownership’ conjures up images of barriers and haves and have nots. Building walls around specialisms can no longer be best practice – or commercially sensible – as the lines surrounding communications’ disciplines become ever more blurred.
Good leadership is marked by facilitation not control. Today leaders provide a bridge of understanding, bringing context and content from other disciplines; other academic rigour and other experiences. It unites the discipline around a common purpose in order to drive action.
The goal of effective leadership is to ensure consistency in engagement and to further relationships. To lead means to have an obligation to look out for the best interests - not to create bottlenecks and throttle creativity.
Influencer marketing: bigger than selling stuff
Influencer marketing is bigger than selling stuff. Sure, many companies have been built on foundations of influencer marketing. Watch company Daniel Wellington created an empire from selling mid-priced timepieces on Instagram through influencers. Emily Weiss has turned Glossier, her New York-based beauty firm into a $1 billion brand through influencer marketing. But influencer marketing can transcend selling. Many influencer marketing tactics can be fashioned to achieve different desired outcomes.
Last week Adidas admitted that a focus on efficiency rather than effectiveness led it to over-focus on ROI and over-invest in performance and digital at the expense of brand building.
Of course, every business is ultimately in the business of staying in business. This involves creating a sustained profit. And, naturally, profit comes from selling stuff to customers. But generating profit over the long-term requires loyalty from employees; building mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers and customers, and nurturing support from the general community. These are bedrock PR skills.
Francis Ingham, Director General, PRCA welcomes the new guide saying: “It delivers a comprehensive overview of the laws and best-practice approaches for influencer marketing. I urge those working in influencer relations to familiarise themselves with the guide. It’s time for us to get a grip on this - ignorance is not an excuse.”
#FuturePRoof is a public relations learning and development community. The open source platform was founded by Sarah Waddington in 2014. Its goal is to support the managers of PR agencies and communications teams with best practice advice and guidance.
#FuturePRoof is funded by Sarah’s agency Astute.Work as part of Sarah’s personal mission to improve social mobility within the PR industry by making thought leadership and best practice accessible to all.
The #FuturePRoof community has published four books and numerous papers on the future of public relations practice. You can connect with #FuturePRoof via Twitter @WeArePRoofed or via the web at futureproofingcomms.co.uk.