Do social media influencers have the power to make or break brands?
Recent S-1 filings by two influencer-centric brands Casper and Revolve tell a tale of the power influencers can wield over companies — and more importantly how they are viewed by the brands that partner with them.
Casper’s recent S-1 filing has received a lot of media attention — with a large focus being on the risk and threat posed by their influencer network.
They are particularly focused on influencer backlash:
Influencers with whom we maintain relationships could also engage in behavior or use their platforms to communicate directly with our customers in a manner that reflects poorly on our brand and may be attributed to us or otherwise adversely affect us.
As well as compliance with FTC regulations:
While we ask influencers to comply with the FTC regulations and our guidelines, we do not regularly monitor what our influencers post, and if we were held responsible for the content of their posts, we could be forced to alter our practices, which could have material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Compare that with Revolve’s S-1 filing that mentions the word influencer 78 times — with a large focus on the power of their influencer network as the defining competitive advantage for the brand.
We have built a community of over 3,500 influencers and brand partners, including many of the most influential social media celebrities in the world, whom we track and manage using our proprietary internal technology platform. Through our deep relationships, history of mutually beneficial partnerships, buzzworthy social events, and recognized leadership position, we believe we have become a partner of choice for influencers worldwide, leading to a significant competitive advantage. These marketing efforts deliver authentic, aspirational experiences and lifestyle content that drive loyalty and engagement. We pair this emotional brand marketing with sophisticated, data-driven performance marketing to further drive profitable customer acquisition, retention and lifetime value.
So here we have two companies that built their businesses, in part, through influencer marketing with two drastic points-of-view of their partners. We can trace this back to the way each brand builds relationships with influencers.
Casper could view influencer marketing as a future risk due to their history of influencer controversy centered around their April 2016 lawsuit against Mattress Nerd, Sleep Sherpa and Sleepopolis — Casper took issue with the review sites favoring competitors over their own mattresses. They also have seemingly kept an arms-distance from existing influencer partners in order to reduce risk and perceived accountability.
On the flip side, Revolve’s influencers are at the heart of everything they do and it is built directly into their business model. They are truly an extension of the brand and impact the entire marketing mix. In fact, they are responsible for 70% of Revolve’s sales though only 25% of their marketing budget.
How can you ensure influencer marketing will help make your brand? We have included some best practices below:
- Have an objective-based measurement and planning framework;
- Build strong relationships with influencers — inclusive of an immersive onboarding, an engaged community and 1:1 communications;
- Maximize the value of your influencer marketing budget by creating impactful content across the marketing mix;
- Partner with influencers that have both shared values as well as the ability to drive impact for your brand across the customer experience;
- Consistently find new and exciting ways to partner with influencers to engage your target audience and break through the sea of sameness.
With all of the confusion and chaos within the influencer marketing industry, there is incredible opportunity to discover what works for your brand. Even if you haven’t experienced the exponential impact influencer marketing can have, there is always an opportunity to find a competitive advantage in an evolving landscape.