Brand collaborations aren’t finished yet: the importance of picking the right influencer

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Anyone who’s paid attention to social media over the last few years will have noticed brand collaborations appearing everywhere. From influencer-based campaigns to high-street retailers joining forces, there’s no doubt that brand collabs have become a tried-and-tested technique for getting attention and selling products.

New podcast: Something and Nothing

Search Laboratory’s creative team, comprising of some of the agency’s sharpest minds in digital PR and content creation, has recently unveiled a new podcast. Titled ‘Search Laboratory Creative: Something and Nothing’, the podcast aims to tackle a little bit of ‘something’ in the form of a current hot topic in PR, as well as a lot of ‘nothing’, such as the team’s strange lockdown obsessions or answering burning questions about biscuits.

In the first episode of the podcast, the team, made up of senior content specialist and host Mark Wiggins, US content and brand manager Lizzie Stevenson, senior digital PR Specialist Matt Jones and content specialist Sam Cropper, discuss what makes a great brand collaboration, how they can go wrong and whether they’re still a relevant and fresh PR tactic.

Make it relevant

The golden rule really is making it make sense. For instance, on paper, a brand such as Red Bull getting involved in extreme sports might seem a little jarring. Some of the greatest athletes in the world supporting a sugary energy drink could be perceived as the wrong message, but herein lies the genius of making it make sense. Red Bull have always marketed themselves less on the product they sell and more on the things you can achieve with it. Therefore, Red Bull teaming up with a world-famous surfer or getting on board with Go Pro for a flight to space just makes sense. After all, it does give you wings… (apparently).

Having said all that, it can go wrong very easily. In the US, fashion brand Forever 21 teamed up with Atkins (of ‘The Atkins Diet’ fame) and agreed to send out a free Atkins bar with every purchase. A relatively simple and straightforward tactic that’s worked for many decades, the free sample, went quickly wrong when Forever 21’s customers began to question why they’d been offered a weight-loss product with their new purchases.

Making it relevant is one thing, but getting it right requires a lot of thought and consideration about just what it says about your brand.

Get your influencers right

There was a time when influencer marketing was simply David Beckham and his new football boots on a billboard. After all, Beckham is more brand that ex-footballer these days. In fact, every influencer can be considered their own brand in the modern world of marketing. So does getting a famous face from Love Island or a YouTube gamer spell the new era of brand collaboration?

We think that using influencers can be an extremely successful tactic, however tread carefully in these waters. Many influencers will research a product and choose to collaborate and use their channels to promote it for the right reasons, but choosing the right people is key here. Social studies have been carried out where some influencers have been found to promote offensive products simply because they said yes before actually checking them out.

Collaborating with influencers can be great – just remember to choose the people you feel fit your brand the best.

The Search Laboratory creative team cover all this and much more in the latest ‘Something and Nothing’ podcast, so give it a listen if you’d like to hear more. You can subscribe and tune in to the Search Laboratory Creative: Something and Nothing Podcast today on iTunes or Spotify.

Mark Wiggins, content specialist at Search Laboratory.

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