Influencers at a recent YouTube event at Google HQ in Malaysia. Source: Google

Influencers at a recent YouTube event at Google HQ in Malaysia. Source: Google

Why trusting your brand’s influencer is key to campaign success

BECOMING an influencer isn’t easy, and for most, it’s not something that happens by chance. It takes careful planning, consistent effort, and really good execution.

Most importantly, it’s about finding the right audience, understanding them, and tailoring the message to resonate with them — enough to earn their trust.

Trust is the currency that influencers trade on. It’s their biggest asset, and it’s what influencers need if they want to work with brands.

However, the reality is, brands, especially in Southeast Asia, are still learning the ropes when it comes to influencer marketing and find it hard to move away from the metrics and KPIs that drive other campaigns.

“As an influencer, we need to stay authentic to our audience. It’s why we only work with brands that we understand — and brands need to trust us to share their message in the most effective way because we understand our audience the best,” explained Chef, YouTube Influencer, and Studio Owner Ili Sulaiman at a recent event hosted by Google.

Sulaiman explained to Tech Wire Asia that she only works with brands that she’s comfortable with and believes in.

“Nothing else will work. The internet generation we live in is smart and can tell when we’re not being genuine.”

Creative freedom v. marketing

Marketers are quite cautious about the narrative on everything they spend their advertising budget on. Naturally, when they engage with influencers, they want to dictate not just the terms but also the script.

Unfortunately, that’s not the best approach — and the best influencers will tell you that.

“When I decide to work with a brand, I make sure the brand values are aligned. But I find that it’s also quite important for us to work with brands that give us the freedom to just create.”

Sulaiman prefers long-term partnerships because that gives her room to really showcase the brand and its products more effectively.

Lucky for her, the smarter brands understand the need for creative freedom when it comes to succeeding with influencer marketing.

The creative freedom that Sulaiman — and all her peers at the Google / YouTube event in Southeast Asia are talking about — is something that the best of breed influencers have always championed.

Way back in 2012, YouTube mega-influencer Casey Neistat worked with Nike for a campaign. They set a budget and gave him the freedom to do what he wanted with it. He chose to travel the world with his friend Max. He filmed the trip and put together a video.

Years later, that video has 29 million views; and Neistat has 11 million followers. Neistat has replicated that success for plenty of other brands including Samsung and Mercedes.

At the end of the day, what matters most is realizing that the world of influencer marketing is quite different.

Its charm lies in the fact that the audience can relate to the influencer, look up to them for good advice, and take their word for what it is when it comes to reviewing products and brands.

If brands want to succeed with their influencer marketing campaign, they trust the influencers they choose to work with. That’s the bottom line.