November 2, 2021

Investing in content creators may not be as simple as it seems

At Brave Bison, working with influencers has taught us the value of long-term partnership. And we know how important it is when an organisation and a creator invest in one another.
Catherine Woodward
Catherine Woodward

Marketing & Production Coordinator

We’ve also noticed that creators perform much better when they treat content creatorship as a business, not a hobby.

None of this is exactly shocking news. Of course, committing yourself to anything will bring better results. But there’s a lesson here for brands. It’s important – and productive – to treat working together with influencers like any valuable business relationship.

That’s what we learned from a recent campaign for VOXI by Vodafone, featuring ongoing partnerships with creators such as Blu Hydrangea, Hibah Mirza, Will Manning, Sophie Butler and Jesse Chuku.

Longer relationships = quality content 

One of our collaborators is Will Manning, a DJ for Capital FM, who makes hilarious comedy sketches that are truly worth watching. 

Will’s work shows the power of real content, with compelling storylines and strong storytelling, that is only possible when you invest in your influencers and they become invested in you, in return.

Longer relationships = better brand understanding

Creating high-quality, tailored content for a campaign requires a real understanding of the brand. The more time creators have to learn the brand values and messaging, the better the results. So the longer you invest in your influencer relationship, the more amazing, personalised content you’ll get in return.

Hibah Mirza is a medical student and rising YouTube star who consistently delivers fantastic content for VOXI. Not only does she understand the product, she actually makes it part of her creative process.

Hibah’s strategy is to run with a current trend: Control My Life for a Day. This is where you document your day and let your followers vote on your decisions. Should I wear jeans or a suit? Chinese or pizza for dinner? It’s a great way to build engagement and make your fanbase feel really involved.

Of course, VOXI is a real asset here because of its bottomless social media plans. Hibah could film her whole daily routine, and deliver all the content she wants, without even touching her data allowance. So VOXI becomes an integral part of the whole thing.

How to select influencers

1. Be talent agnostic

Brave Bison’s approach to influencer marketing is talent agnostic. We don’t have a regular roster of influencers we work with every time. Instead, we carefully research and pick just the right creators for each individual campaign.

We treat this almost like a job interview, by looking for the most relevant, qualified and skilled creator for every campaign. Obviously it’s important they have an engaged audience, but it’s as much about alignment as it is about exposure. 

This is even more important when you’re trying to deliver a specific, sensitive message. 

Our campaign for the Internet Watch Foundation saw us partner with creators Arron Crascall and EmanSV2 to raise awareness among young men of the importance of reporting indecent images of children online. The two influencers were able to deliver this message skillfully, using comedy but in a sensitive way. It worked because they had the right audience but they also believed in the campaign and wanted to be part of the change.

2. Put in the hours

Of course, our talent managers have amazing contacts, and they always keep up to date with new and rising influencers. But they also put hours of research into finding the most relevant content creators with the best engagement rates. HypeAuditor is just one great tool for this.

This personalised approach led us to choose the drag queen Blu Hydrangea for the VOXI campaign. Blu is a brilliant performer and polished content creator with a huge and loyal following. She’s been doing this for a long time. She knows the market, and she puts in the work. The perfect brand partner.

3. Make sure they’re relevant to the target audience

We always strive to make sure that our influencers are completely invested in the brand partnership, and really believe in the product they’re selling. 

When we partnered travel influencers Sam Kolder and Sawyer Hartman with Hyundai, the result was a series of epic travelogues through Europe. It worked so well because they saw it as an opportunity to have an unforgettable adventure. Their genuine passion shone through every video.

On the flipside, if the partnership is less than 100% authentic, the creator’s fans and followers won’t buy in. They’ll see the content as “just advertising” – and that’s bad for everyone involved.

4. Screen thoroughly

Brand safety is key. Do your due diligence, and do it right.

There’s no substitute for a manual screening process. What your influencers do reflects on your brand. It’s important to review the creators’ content in-depth across all platforms to understand their values, personality as well screen for any controversy that may jeopardise brand safety. You don’t want any surprises. 

5. Start how you mean to go on

Once you’ve done your research and chosen the right person, it’s time to build a real, mutual collaboration. The relationship shouldn’t just benefit you – it should also help the influencer grow. 

We’ve already seen many of the micro-influencers we’ve worked with go on to do bigger and better things. We’re thrilled, and we can’t wait to see what they do next.

It’s like any relationship: the more you give, the more you get. 

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