When brands put together influencer marketing campaigns today, they should create work that the audience will love watching, and they should be completely open about the fact that the works is sponsored. Today’s viewers are just fine with sponsorships, especially if they love the results.
Speaking on a CES Digital Hollywood panel on the future of brand partnerships and influencer marketing, Keith Hernandez, senior vice president of strategy for the Bleacher Report, recalled a campaign he worked on with Under Amour. The idea was to get people doing the Curry Challenge, mimicking an underarm shot done by Steph Curry, and the silly dance some of his teammates did afterward.
Working with Curry himself didn’t feel like the best option for target audience, so Hernandez and team decided to work with six Instagrammers with strong followings. The only instruction was for them to recreate the challenge in whatever way they wanted. One did the challenge in a supermarket, one in traffic.
The results were strong, with viewers loving the videos. In the comments, Hernandez said they appreciated that Under Amour sponsored the work; they liked that the brand spent money to create fun content.
In this digital age, brands need to be a little less precious with their image, Hernandez said. Just as individual users wouldn’t post the same comment on their LinkedIn account and their Instragram account, brands shouldn’t post the same campaign on each platform. They need to know they can have a little fun on some platforms and that won’t take away from the brand. He has empathy with brands, knowing they get pitched by scores of platforms that want them to try something different, but that’s still the way to go.
For Diana Mogollon, senior vice president and general manager with Warner Bros. Entertainment Group, it starts with the story. After that, bake in celebrities that work with the idea. Her team works with influencers at all levels, from micro to mid-level to big time. A great campaign can help influencers connect with their fans on a deeper level, showing something new about themselves. Her goal is to create great works that will stand the test of time, leading to later seasons and multi-platform growth.