Former Revlon marketer Tessa Cavalot and Bauer Media Natasha Cormier have launched their own agency that aims to shift influencer marketing from short-term tactics to long-term relationships.
Cavalot has held numerous roles within marketing, spending two years as marketing manager of Coty and three years at Revlon before teaming up with Cormier to begin Gravitas Influencers.
“As influencer marketing evolves, marketers will want more from this space. Whether it be long term relationships or a path to purchase, I believe it will be essential for our business to have a deeper understanding of a brand’s insights, strategy and objectives,” Cavalot says.
“This space will eventually become a media channel of choice or a strong consideration within the marketing plan, as did digital and social media. My experience will allow us to understand the brand archetype, goals or desires to then apply the same principles into this developing space.”
Gravitas Influencers is the latest influencer business to launch in Sydney, joining a competitive landscape as the sector grows in popularity with brands. It is currently working with Groupon, Wotif, Bupa, Schwarzkopf, Olympus and more.
Most recently, The Remarkables Group, founded by Lorraine Murphy, repositioned to concentrate on influencer marketing, with Social Soup, Tribe, The Right.Fit, Vamp and We Are Social are established players in the space.
With so many influencer businesses vying for brand dollars, and more emerging, Cormier believes Gravitas’ differentiator will be its focus on “relationship marketing”.
“Relationship marketing is where a brand works within an environment that the consumer can trust, learn from and which ultimately becomes their safe place. Through these trusted voices, both the blogger and audience form a strong relationship,” Cormier says.
Cormier is confident relationship marketing will be the next wave of influencer marketing, with Gravitas focusing on forming long term bonds between trusted voices to open the path to purchase.
“Simply, we’re about building long-term relationship over short-term transactions,” Cavalot says.
“At Gravitas we are already in a new model we call relationship marketing which we believe is influencer marketing 2.0. The category will evolve further rather than burst.”
A common bugbear surrounding influencer marketing is the lack of hard metrics.
“Hard metrics is and will continue to play a pivotal role as this space becomes a key platform within the marketing mix and attracts a larger percentage of the media budgets," Cavalot says.
Another criticism of the media channel is disclosure, with many influencers not making it clear when they are paid for promoting a product on social media.
The backlash has led to the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) introducing firmer guidelines around influencer marketing.
While some influencer business leaders slammed the ruling as “unfair”, Cormier welcomed more guidance from the AANA.
“New laws mean integrity and we welcome that in what has been a fairly undisciplined category. Clearly distinguished content and common sense will prevail. This includes gifting tagged as paid,” she says.
As the influencer marketing industry becomes more advance, Cormier and Cavalot expect to see more marketers move towards engaging influencers as a long-term strategy, as well as more dollars move to the media channel.
“We believe the influencer marketing landscape will change in different ways. As marketers look deeper into the ROI, we’ll see a change in the value of the influencer, how they provide long term partnerships with brands. Therefore less of the small transactions or short term relationships,” Cormier says.
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