Brands “aren't taking huge risks” with influencer marketing

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 26 May 2015

Brands still aren't taking huge risks or dedicating huge budgets to aligning with social influencers, despite mounting interest in the space according to Ministry of Talent director Roxy Jacenko.

Speaking at the Media Summit as part of a panel on celebrity networks, Jacenko, who is also the found of PR agency Sweaty Betty, said she started talent agency Ministry of Talent to get the front foot on the increasing brand interest in influencers.

Despite mounting interest and media commentary on the space, Jacenko said she hasn't seen anything too “weird and wonderful” with marketers still concerned with playing it safe; but “rightly so”.

“People are engaging and using social influencers but I don't think they are taking huge risks just yet,” Jacenko said.

“People are safe and rightly so, because it's a new way of communicating. No one is going to throw huge budgets at it until they know that it's working.”

Jacenko said that despite brands easing into the space, she has already seen “huge results” with brands partnering with social media talent. So far, brand partners still tend to come from categories where partnerships are easier: beauty, fashion and alcohol brands.

CEO of creative agency Bashful, Simon Bookallil, said that more brands need to take social influencers “seriously” given that it's how a large portion of the next generation of audience – who shun much of the traditional, interruptive advertising – engage.

“Why work with celebrities and influencers? Our view is that it cuts through the ad skippers and you compound your networks – your owned and earned ,” Bookallil said.

“It gives you an immediate audience and it allows you to steal some of [the influencer's] magic.”

“But to be authentic you need to have shared values, shared audience and shared outcomes. So I think finding the right platform, right brand and right celebrity is crucial for this to work.”

Jacenko said in a competitive landscape, brands need to look at new ways to cut through other marketing noise.

“You need to be continually on the front foot... and looking at new ways to market to consumers,” Jacenko said.

“We're a very small country here in Australia. We've got an oversupply of brands, retail in many sectors is down. So if you're not continually pushing people to spend that last $50 on that particular product, how are you going to keep ahead?”

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