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Minds of Miller: Influencer Marketing Gone Wrong (and How to Get it Right)

Posted in Digital, Miller Public Relations, Social Media | February 12,2019

By: Haynes Hudson

Ever hear “any publicity is good publicity”? Well, we’ll save that argument for another time. Truth is, in this new world of social media and paid influencers, garnering any and all attention for your brand doesn’t always end with the win you think it will.

By now, you’ve probably at least heard of the Fyre Festival – certainly not for any positive reasons. And if given a few minutes to think about it, I’m sure you can recite other examples of brand marketing ideas gone wrong – Subway’s pedophile pitchman or Pepsi’s social “protest” with Kendall Jenner – just to name a few.

Smoke and Mirrors

So what went so terribly wrong for those entrepreneurial-minded folks at Fyre Festival? They started out wanting to create something bigger than life. Something never seen or experienced before. Something so unique and exclusive, that the fear of being left behind would make people do anything (and believe anything) to be a part of it. And…IT WORKED! For a while. Until it came time to deliver.

By enlisting some social media heavy-hitters, Fyre Festival knew they could create the kind of buzz that makes people look right past the details and gladly hand over their cash to secure their place at such a singular event. And the heavy-hitters were all too eager to sign on – for a price. Most failed to acknowledge they were being paid to promote the event, which made their involvement appear completely genuine. Now those same influencers face subpoenas as part of a lawsuit and new regulations now stipulate that any payment for such endorsements be disclosed.

In this overcrowded marketing space, where attention spans are only seconds long and consumers demand relevancy and authenticity, brands are always looking for fresh ways to break through – to connect with the consumer. Thus, the evolution of influencer marketing.

The Power of Influence

The idea is simple enough and certainly makes sense, especially when faced with the challenges of modern-day marketing. But any good marketing plan is only as good as the product or service that is delivered to the consumer. I mean, do you really think Coca-Cola cares if you love polar bears? And Nike isn’t going to call you every day to make sure you’re just doing it. They want you to buy their product. But they know the only way to connect with you as a brand – and create a loyal and repeat customer – is to create a personal connection.

Fyre Festival’s fatal flaw was that its creators and promoters ignored the essential part (the consumer experience) and focused solely on creating so much buzz and excitement that they just didn’t think it would matter.

But it did…it’s the ONLY thing that matters.

Start With the End in Mind

So when you’re thinking about how to best “tell your brand’s story”, it helps to start at the end. What I mean is – focus on the customer experience first – make sure it’s exceptional. Don’t give your customers a reason to not buy you again and again or at least tell everyone they know about their great experience with your brand.

And when considering influencer marketing, here are some tips – so you can avoid playing with “fyre” 🙂

  • Is the product or service you’re marketing relevant to the influencer? Is it a fit?
  • Is this influencer over-exposed? Do they say “yes” to every opportunity?
  • Have they endorsed a competitor previously?
  • Ideally, have them sample the product or service prior to any agreement to endorse
  • Provide them with “talking points” to keep them on message, but let it be in their voice, from their perspective

  • By following these guidelines, you’ll help keep your brand content authentic and believable, while creating meaningful and deep connections with consumers.

    Looking for an expert to lead your marketing? At Miller Public Relations, we’ve been helping our clients make sure they “get it right” for over 25 years! Call us at 817.281.3440 or fill out the form below. We’d love to help you too.
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