Is influencer marketing in an authenticity crisis?

People are exhausted by marketing. They are overwhelmed by ads every day, trust in traditional advertising is at a low point, and now technology exists to help digital audiences block these messages altogether.

Brands are investing record sums in influencer marketing in a bid to answer these challenges and truly harness the marketing superpower of the moment, but with rapid growth comes bad practice.

The now infamous Fyre Festival has set a new benchmark in for how not to work with influencers to catastrophic effect.

They paid over the odds for a suite of beautiful Instagram celebrities to promote a festival experience that simply couldn’t be realised because there wasn’t enough time, money or expertise left to produce it. The chasm between expectation and reality was unparalleled.

In the festival pitch deck the founders Ja Rule and Billy McFarland promised an experience that would be “hard to put into words.” Job done lads.

The lack of authenticity and failure to deliver on a promise has shone a global spotlight on the industry at the point of its highest growth.

We think that influencer marketing is in an authenticity crisis, and our research conducted in partnership with OnePoll supports this. It has uncovered several concerning attitudes that suggest brands are losing impact and influencers are losing followers.

In fact, if an influencer promotes brands too often and too crudely, almost two thirds will consider unfollowing. Bad briefs and ill-fitting, shallow collaborations risk tarnishing the whole industry. Brands need to earn their advocacy not buy it, create real world truth not brand world falsehood.

Our research revealed that only 8% of people want to see any promotional content, and yet 53% of people assume an influencer has been paid if they mention a brand, regardless of whether they have or not. People aren’t paying attention to clunky promotions. Brands and influencers must consider the craft of what they create to make a collaboration resonate and to get any return on their investment.

Furthermore, people are most likely to act on influencer content when they’re already looking to purchase or know the brand. Influencers alone aren’t the best driver, it’s when they’re part of a mix with social, digital and PR all working together making the sum greater than the parts.

Splendid has devised a new Advocate Match solution built around these three principles; identifying the influencers that can be truly authentic for a specific brand, craft deep, multi-faceted stories that resonate, and build a thread through a wider campaign with clear objectives to drive success.


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