Are you using influencer marketing as part of your Comms mix? If so, how good is your governance?

Today a brand new guide has been published by #FuturePRoof, addressing the need for influencer marketing governance in public relations. I welcome this publication as it provides clear guidance for practitioners and influencers themselves in this challenging area of practice that sits between marketing and public relations, and earned and paid media.

According to Markets & Markets the global influencer market is currently estimated at £4.5 billion in 2019.

The 4,400 word report will take approximately 10-12 minutes to read and you can find it online. It was written by Scott Guthrie @sabguthrie, an independent influencer marketing consultant, and Stephen Waddington @wadds, managing director, Metia, and Visiting Professor, Newcastle University.

You’ll also find contributions from Jake O’Neill, senior marketing manager, Vuelio; Rupa Shah, Founder and Director of Hashtag Ad Consulting; and Andrew Terry, Partner and Head of Intellectual Property & Media, Eversheds Sutherland.

It’s well worth a read to get to grips with this world. If this topic is new to you, I encourage you to grab a cuppa and open the report.

Further reading via All Things IC: How to work with bloggers.

You can follow this link to access the guide: https://www.futureproofingcomms.co.uk/we-are-all-influencers-now

How big is the problem?
There were more than 16,000 complaints made about 14,000 online ads and social media posts last year according to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) Annual Report 2018.

In the UK influencer campaigns are governed by existing Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) laws. Chartered Institute or Public Relations (CIPR) and Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) members are also covered by their own codes of conduct.

The #FuturePRoof guide characterises the market, includes applicable media law and guidance from advertising, marketing and public relations. It covers guidance for campaigns where no money is exchanged, gifts in kind such as accommodation or travel, and financial payment.

The tension between earned and paid campaigns isn’t only a challenge for marketing and public relations practitioners. It has also led to influencers themselves breaching advertising and trading standards law.

What can IC pros learn from the publication?
Chapter 10 concerning the rules around influencer marketing is particularly useful for Comms pros to familiarise themselves with.

For example…

Client or employee disclosure

According to the guide, an intermediary such as an agency or employee with a financial interest in an organisation that creates or publishes content on behalf of an organisation. The relationship is based on payment and an expectation of some level of control on the part of the brand. The relationship between the intermediary and the organisation must be clearly identifiable.

How are you handling this in your company? If you have a story to share, do get in touch if you’d like to write a guest post.

The need for formal representation
#FuturePRoof says that there is a growing need and opportunity for formal representation for influencers. Insurance companies Beazley and Hiscox launched an influencer and public figure protection insurance policy in September 2018.

“The #FuturePRoof guide highlight best practice for brands, agencies and influencers. Everyone involved in a campaign has a responsibility to adhere to relevant advertising and media law,” said founder and editor, Sarah Waddington, #FuturePRoof.

“The public relations (PR) industry has been slow to offer leadership on influencer marketing to practitioners and influencers. We’ve been here before with search engine optimisation (SEO), social media, and content marketing. It’s important that PR doesn’t miss out again,” said Scott Guthrie, independent influencer marketing consultant.

Further reading about influencer marketing
If you want to find out more about this topic, the reading list at the end of the publication recommends the following resources…

About #FuturePRoof

#FuturePRoof is a public relations learning and development community. The open source platform was founded by Sarah Waddington in 2014. Its goal is to support the managers of PR agencies and communications teams with best practice advice and guidance.

#FuturePRoof is funded by Sarah’s agency Astute.Work as part of Sarah’s personal mission to improve social mobility within the PR industry by making thought leadership and best practice accessible to all.

The #FuturePRoof community has published four books and numerous papers on the future of public relations practice. You can connect with #FuturePRoof via Twitter @WeArePRoofed or via the web at futureproofingcomms.co.uk.

You can read the whole report online, thank you and congratulations to the authors and contributors. This is a worthwhile read that is worth bookmarking.

Thank you for stopping by.

Rachel.

First published on the All Things IC blog 22 October 2019.

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