Influencers can take a variety of paths to end up where they are. Some leverage experience from their personal or professional lives to create content. Others, like Danielle Reardon, the face of The Well-Intended, leave their old lives behind in pursuit of projects that more closely align with their interests and values.
Danielle, a former ad executive with over 20 years of advertising experience, made the transition to become a health and wellness influencer a little over a year ago. On this episode of the Julius Profiles podcast, we hear her unique perspective on how influencer marketing is so similar – and in many ways, so different – from the traditional world of advertising.
Key takeaways include:
- Why passionate influencers are best for brands
- Finding a balance between brand safety and authenticity
- The necessity for complete creative briefs
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About our guest:
Danielle Reardon is creator of The Well-Intended® (@thewellintended) – a wellness coaching and thought leadership practice that helps to inspire busy professionals like herself to live a life of greater balance, happiness, and sustainability. A 20-year veteran of the advertising industry, her professional experience includes fully-integrated marketing and advertising spanning 40+ brands. Danielle learned and leveraged wellness practices at a critical tipping point in her career to help rebuild her mind, body, and spirit. She hopes to inspire others to do the same.
Key episode insights:
Why passionate influencers are best for brands
Danielle discovered her passion for health and wellness at a “critical tipping point in her career,” and has since turned her passion into a full-time blogging and content creation position. She even has aspirations to become a wellness coach and is taking licensing exams to get herself there.
Her passion is evident in every blog she writes, photo she shares, and product she recommends. So how did she end up here?
“When you work at an ad agency, again, you live and breathe that brand that you are generally assigned to. You don't always get to pick and choose what you work on. I want to choose to work on things that I believe in now that align with me and that I have nothing but authentic passion for.”
Having passion doesn’t just help create compelling, high-quality content. It also gives influencers like Danielle unique insight into what conversations she – and her brand partners – can hold.
“If you are an expert in your marketing channels and your client's brand and consumers, you have a general sense of where that client should go. So that's basically what I'm doing right now, is just using my expertise – I know the target because it's me and people like me”
Finding a balance between brand safety and authenticity
For all the benefits influencer marketing offers, there are still some challenges. In order to fully leverage the authentic voice of an influencer, brands have to give influencers a significant amount of creative control, but not every brand is necessarily ready to accept that.
“You have clients who have spent decades upon decades building brands in many cases and have very deep brand rules and identities and sure don't like any kid off the street, so to speak, representing their brand when they haven't been fully vetted and educated,” said Danielle.
Brands have to find their own comfort level before working with influencers. How much control are they willing to relinquish for the rewards they’ll reap from authentic influencer marketing? As Danielle describes it, “they have to decide on that double-edged sword, what do they want to do, where is it safe, and where is it appropriate?”
The necessity for complete creative briefs
Coming from the advertising world, Danielle is no stranger to creative briefs. She recalls that some of her creative colleagues wouldn’t accept projects or instructions without one. As she’s discovered, the same concept applies to influencer marketing.
“The brief matters tremendously. You need to be very clear in what you want influencers to do, however, you need to leave some great latitude for them to do their thing, to tell their story – you can’t change them. Keep that balance of not force-feeding what you want them to do because you’re going to lose that authenticity.”
And that authenticity is – as we know – the most important asset an influencer can bring to the table. When an influencer doesn’t have the ability to use their own language or create content that aligns with their passions, it fails to convince their followers to act. “No one wants to be preached to these days, they want to have a conversation.” Creating and inserting brands into genuine conversations is the ultimate goal of most influencer marketing campaigns.
Subscribe to the Julius Profiles podcast for more conversations with marketers and influencers who each provide a unique perspective on the nuanced and disruptive world of influencer marketing.
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