Influence Live: Aligning, Adapting, and Amplifying

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Influence Live Kicks Off

On Thursday, March 5th, marketers and influencers alike came together at Ogilvy’s west side Manhattan HQ to discuss the state of the influencer marketing industry in 2020.

Sharing sage advice, personal experience, and some telltale tips on how to stay competitive with fruitful influencer partnerships in the ever-maturing landscape, Mike Summers (Johnson & Johnson) and Will Taylor (Bright.Bazaar) took the stage with Dan Chizzoniti and Lissette Calveiro, both Directors of Influencer Marketing at Ogilvy, the event’s co-host

As part of Julius’ event series, Influence Live, was moderated by Julius’ own Head of Strategic Partnerships, Karin Swanson, covering such topics as emerging KPIs, TikTok activations, and preferred criteria for optimal partnerships between brands and creators.

Industry Hot Topics

The session started with a reset on what makes someone “influential” on social media in 2020. Will, a design guru and entrepreneur, summarized it best: someone is influential when you can see their content before you see their name and you still know it’s coming from that specific individual.

KPIs, often shifting in definitions and importance year-over-year, were also a hot topic. On the measurement ramifications caused by Instagram’s removal of likes, Lissette encouraged marketers to look beyond likes, focusing instead on less passive engagement types, such as comments and saves (don’t forget clickthrough rate, added Dan). Lissette pointed out that in addition to these “super likes,” impressions should also be at the forefront of measurement, to better identify true engagement while also possibly detecting fraudulent follower activity as an added perk. For Mike on the brand side at J&J, CPM still reigns king for measuring the health of his influencer campaigns.

Although marketers are keeping a wary eye on Instagram’s treatment of likes and its ever-changing algorithm, it is still the platform of choice for influencer activations. Dan, however, encouraged marketers to explore alternative formats. “Brands should definitely be on these platforms,” he said, speaking of TikTok and Twitch, “but they need to activate differently” on such channels. He praised Elf Cosmetics as an example of a brand that saw high engagement and user participation after successfully adapting their content from Instagram to TikTok.

As platform options become more varied, so do influencer partners. The pervasive topic in determining the right type of influencer to partner with was ensuring alignment with campaign objectives. Both Mike and Will, voicing brand and influencer goals alike, stressed the importance of making sure each party is keeping their target audience in mind. Will referenced his decision to partner with Old Navy because he knew his audience would connect with their brand –and actually purchase their products. Each influencer marketing guru ticked off other criteria that can help evaluate potential partners: vetting influencer authenticity and relatability (still as important in 2020 as it has been in years past), outlining campaign objectives, and having a clear sense of budget to determine the appropriate size of influencer partner to go after.

Beyond Traditional Influencer Marketing

While these themes continue to ring true in the age of influencer marketing, the energy in the room ticked up a notch with talk of moving beyond the traditional sponsored post. How else can you work with influencers in 2020? There are many exciting opportunities for partnerships including influencer-hosted media day, licensed imagery and other experiential activations such as influencer dinners A brand’s option to collaborate is only limited by its willingness to take risks or think outside the box. However, cautioned Lissette, don’t forget that “if an influencer tells you they have a better idea [on how to partner], you should probably listen.” After all, they know their own brand best. Regardless of the strategy explored, make sure you are getting the most out of the content being created–elevate and amplify via press coverage, recommended Dan.

The panel rounded out with some advice to marketers looking to activate influencer campaigns this year. Dan encouraged brands to hone in on why they want to use influencers–some people don’t need to be doing influencer marketing who are, while others need to be but are not. Mike piggybacked by adding that once you figure out if influencer marketing is right for your brand, be strategic with how you allocate your budget for campaigns to maximize ROI. Will focused on the details of the campaign, drilling down on the importance of providing influencers with a detailed creative brief, while also leaving room for flexibility.

While influencer marketing will surely continue to transform in 2020 as goals, mediums, and strategy shift, Lissette capped it off with a return to the core of influencer marketing: relatability. “As marketers, we are talking to people like us,” she said. “If we are the right audience, think about how you want to be spoken to.”

Here at Julius we look forward to seeing how the industry shifts in 2020 and beyond. 

March 12, 2020
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