Her concern is that some appointments are perceived as short-term PR stunts. “There is a danger when you allow someone from the outside to really influence your aesthetic or your business, even if for a limited period of time,” she says. “Brands have to think about whether hiring a creator will truly and constructively help them in advance of what they will be in five or ten years’ time. Growing a company is very different to having a great following on Instagram and being able to drive product launches.”
Creators must also find ways to efficiently juggle a day job with their personal brand deals. While Emcee CEO Aghayan has never discouraged Coscarelli from continuing to work as an influencer nor tried to regulate her brand deals, juggling two roles was challenging Coscarelli. “Because I also manage my own business, it was hard to conduct the volume of calls that I needed to make each week,” she explains. “It was a really big job that was core to the success of the business. I wasn’t making as much progress as we’d hoped, given how quickly everything was growing.”
In October, Coscarelli shifted towards a more strategic position as Emcee’s director of business development, which includes overseeing social media, editorial content and influencer marketing. (Emcee has since hired a new director of partnerships and three coordinators to fill Coscarelli’s old role). For her personal influencer work, Coscarelli has a manager from talent agency Purveyor to help manage contracts and vet new partnerships. She’s also become more selective. “I’m just saying ‘no’ more and more,” she says. “In general, all influencers should be discerning about the brands they’re working with.”
Achieving the right kind of balance is important, says Idalia Salsamendi, an influencer strategist who has consulted for Dior, Chopard and Valentino. “Do you have the time to give to the role what it really needs from you? If not, as a creator, you’re doing yourself a misfavour because you’re not going to be happy, you won’t live up to the expectations of the job and you’ll probably get some bad press because of it. Anytime a creator doesn’t put their all into something, whether it’s a campaign or capsule collection, consumers see it – and it flops.”
Authenticity of voice is essential, says Salsamendi. “It’s invigorating to see influencers finding their voice and taking on larger roles than just promoting a product for a brand, but it’s important that the influencer is actually doing the work and not just slapping their name onto something.” Creators are most fulfilled and offer the most to a brand when it’s a true passion project, with a brand’s mission and values aligned with theirs, she notes.
Expect the trend of influencers moving into brand marketing to build and build. “People who work as creators work for themselves, so they’re obviously entrepreneurial,” says Coscarelli. “I think we’re going to see more influencers become business leaders and advisors as they more deeply invest in the brands that they work with.”
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