Crises in the marketing influencer are a natural consequence of this form of marketing becoming more massive and will have a similar scale to PR crises in social media. However, while PR specialists are prepared to deal with PR crises, marketers may not necessarily have a vision of how to prevent crises in influencer marketing.
In previous years 84% of marketers in the USA planned to engage their budget in activities with influencers. Such a strong trend in marketing is followed by mass actions, for which not everyone is prepared. A natural consequence of the peak of the upward trend is the tendency towards crises. Unfortunately, there is a problem here. While PR specialists are theoretically prepared to deal with media crises and have relatively quickly adapted this knowledge to social media (crisis management is the basis of every PR study), marketers may already face a serious problem if they do not stop talking to influencers in the language like "KPI", "sentiment of mention" and "number of clicks" – as is the case now.
Learn about the crisis from PR specialists
To understand the nature of crises, it is worthwhile to use PR knowledge. There are many definitions of crisis situations, however, from the communication point of view, the following five characteristics of a crisis are the most important:
- it happens unexpectedly;
- has a violent and uncontrolled course;
- storm the normal activities of the organization concerned;
- is a natural phenomenon, inextricably linked to the activities of the organization;
- It develops in the interaction between the public, the media (in this case blogs and vlogs created by influencers), and the organization.
To sum up, it can be said that the crisis is an unstoppable sudden development of unfavorable events, the media coverage of which (and the potential negative effects of this coverage) cannot be stopped, muted, or controlled in any way.
Reasons for crises in the Influencer Marketing
The main causes of crises in the marketing influencer are the lack of understanding of the nature of this form of cooperation. Although blogs and vlogs have become a fully-fledged medium, this does not mean that marketers can treat b(v)loggers as sellers of advertising space. Of course, measuring the results of a campaign is very appropriate, but when talking to an influencer, speak to him/her in his/her language and not in the language of his/her indicators, which (s)he does not need to understand. Why? Because the recipients are not influenced by the numbers, indicators, and tables of the marketer, but by the voice of the influencer itself, so as a marketer try to understand the influencer-receiver relationship and adapt to it by speaking in a human voice and actually trying to work out a way to provide the greatest possible value to the recipients, in an attractive and interesting form.
Example causes of crises:
a) The unlawful use of the image of an influencer
This type of crisis, which after it spread through the influencer marketing like a thunderstorm in the bright sky, was already present in 2014, when the HBO brand illegally used the image of bloggers for its campaign, in addition to putting words in their mouths that they never said.
In such situation bloggers are served by claims under copyright law and the Civil Code, which in such situations entitles the entity, among others, to refrain from infringing the image and to seek redress.
Remember that using the image of influencers for advertising activities always requires their consent.
b) Incorrect communication with the Influencers
Incorrect communication is a very broad concept. It is not only understatements and lack of clarity of tasks to be settled or expectations but also treating the influencer as if it were a marketer. Of course, as far as influencers know that the partner cares about increasing sales, better cooperation and better achievement of the result will translate into the brand providing full information about its product and understanding the relationship between the influencer and the recipient. Imposing activities and marketing jargon hinder not improves the results. An influencer is not a marketer or seller of advertising space. In this case, it is the marketer who must understand the influencer. The rules have changed.
The basis of cooperation should be a contract. A mutual agreement, regulating the actions of both parties, and created in cooperation between the influencer and the marketer. An agreement containing individual arrangements of both parties and what the parties agree with each other. It is neither a template nor a unilateral pact. It is about defining how the parties cooperate and what they want.
c) Interference with the subjective opinion of the influencer
In cooperation with Influencers, there can be no question of imposing an opinion or a way of presenting a product. Establishing the sound and writing of laurels is a simple way to crisis. The value of cooperation is assessed by how both sides approach the subject and how they will establish the rules of cooperation in situations when the product does not meet the expectations of the influencer. In the same way, brands cannot count on the fact that the product will be described as "ideal" without indicating defects or weaker points. Once again – it is not the same as advertising.
When working with influencers, let us remember that the goal is impact and authenticity, not KPIs, that not always good cooperation can be measured immediately, that most observers on the web read the content, but do not take any action immediately and that the benefits can only be seen in the long run.
d) Lack of designation of the material as sponsored material
A common standard among bloggers and vloggers is the clear marking of sponsored materials. This matter of honesty towards the reader and most influencers, like traditional media, mark materials created as a result of cooperation with a brand despite the fact that, according to the law, a blog entry is not a press material and a blogger is not a journalist.
However, the lack of such information is very often the reason for outrageous recipients, which results in both the brand and the blogger acting to their own detriment, undermining their credibility and authenticity. Always.
e) Product incompatibility with the profile of an influencer
Image stumbles can also be caused by incorrect selection of the influencer for the campaign. For the campaign to be effective, it is not so much the range of the influencer itself and its price that should be taken into account, but the product should be adjusted to the influencer in such a way that it does not arouse strange associations and suspicions. For example, travel blogs about cheap travel and expensive digital equipment do not go hand in hand in the same way as instant soups do not go hand in hand with a healthy eating blog.
How to avoid a crisis?
You have to be aware that today's recipients expect uber-transparency, and the most expected form of communication is dialogue. Even if you find yourself in a difficult situation, be as human as you can be.
And what if it already happens to us? In the video above, you can see how McDonald's reacted to a comment made by a client who expressed a problem often expressed by people who were dining online on the forum: why the hamburger she bought didn't look as good as in advertising. Instead of publishing explanations and corrigenda, the brand opted for open, clear communication. The video, in which the marketing director shows what reality is like, has been watched more than 10 million times. The crisis, in this case, has turned into success. Would you be able to approach it this way?