The Power of Influence and The Influencer

By Becky Johnson

Lucy Cave of Heat emceed an exciting panel about the modern-day influencer and the many forms that takes. As they each go over their perspectives on different kinds of influencers, Megan Carver of Carver PR speaks to how audiences go to different influencers for different product verticals, but finds some cross-vertical is appropriate. For example, if an interior designer Megan follows happens to mention a show she’s watching, that interior designer’s audience may associate like with like, and check out the show. Megan manages PR for many influencer-personalities and sees the cross-vertical as a positive.

Terri White of Bauer Media and Editor-in-Chief of Bauer Media’s flagship film and entertainment brand, Empire, sees it differently. Terri sees that audiences prefer more expertise in their influencers, in particularly, Empire’s audience and their trust of Empire’s film expertise. “With Empire, if we are telling you to see a film…it’s always from a place of passion and belief.”

Ben Carlson of Fizziology, which actually tracks the data of impact from influencers, merges the two thought conversation streams into one word: Relevance. Ben says when they track influences on a film, Empire is always at the top, however, they track celebrity/influencers separately on their own scale, and celebrities and/or influencers only peak the scale if they’re relevant to the topic, or in this scenario, the film.

On the topic of influencers, like Jonathan Saccone-Joly, being offered to present products that don’t feel authentic, Jonathan jokes about there being a “level of selling out” but insists he tries to stick to be ethical. He knows he can’t talk about a horror film to his family-minded audience, but he does admit there are times when the money is good and at the end of the day he is running a business. Jonathan does give great insight on what works and why failures happen. He speaks to being asked to advertise a product to his audience, and he says he’s transparent with his audience when something is an advertisement. Jonathan says it’s all about the creative treatment that a product gets that makes it successful or not. If the he can add value and content around the product, often the audience, while aware it was an advertisement, isn’t put-off, and will still enjoy themselves, which translates to influence to purchase the product.

A key benefit brought up about the bonus of influencers versus celebrity influencers, is that audiences will often mature and grow with an influencer, where-as people often outgrow or move past a particular celebrity, so the advice is to find an influencer, do your due diligence on their style and background for a good fit, then stick with them to develop a relationship with their audience through them.

The panel’s agreed upon “Best Practices” for advertising campaigns is to have a cohesive marketing plan that includes both traditional media and modern influencers, but the key being to letting the influencers “do their thing” and put their treatment on the product the way they know best how their audiences will respond.

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