Last night we welcomed a room of the South West’s bloggers into the Southernhay Studios. As a performance marketing agency, and as part of our on-going Open Approach research, we were keen to engage with local influencers to explore how they might work within Google’s new blogger guidelines while continuing to work creatively with brands.
Bloggers specialising in everything from family and home to gaming, local events and lifestyle joined us for the event, which incorporated a guest speaker, animated discussion and networking fuelled by canapés and a couple of drinks.
Integrity or artifice? What bloggers thought
Guest blogger Sarah Turner, aka The Unmumsy Mum, whose success as a blogger has established her as a Sunday Times bestseller, joined us for the evening. Sarah’s well-documented life as a parent has earned keen interest from brands and sponsors, as well as a huge blog following and 22k Twitter followers, so we were keen to find out how she engaged with those brands or whether she felt her own identity was stronger without them.
As an agency our Open Approach research has sought to explore how brands can engage with creative and inspiring content generated by bloggers like Sarah, as well as other influencers like vloggers and Instagrammers. Many of those assembled had worked with brands and were keen to discuss the pros and pitfalls of that relationship.
Sarah talked about how she had considered collaborating with brands in the past, but contractual obligations and stipulations for her to focus on topics in a way that felt incongruous with the persona she evolved had ultimately stopped her. She described how the wrong brand relationship would make her output feel contrived, and how important it was for her to maintain her authenticity. By taking the authentic approach her followers continued to invest in her identity as The Unmumsy Mum, resulting in her success, in effect she played the long game, and won.
We explored how brands that understood and supported the unique identity of an influencer were best served trusting in that person to create material and content that resonated with their audience. Brands trusting in the voice and persona of their elected influencer yielded the best outcomes for the brand in terms of their own messaging, visibility and perception.
We challenged guest bloggers to post anything during the evening on their choice of social channel. The person who had the most interaction, via likes, favourites or reactions at the end of the evening would win. Creativity blogger and vlogger, Vic Welton, of Verily Victoria Vocalises was the happy winner of a hamper of luxury local produce having yielded 55 Likes in just 30 minutes, it’s now 74 at the time of posting. This experiment was a usefully activity in revealing the potency of well placed, well timed activity and the support a well-developed following can allow.
Sign up for future Meet-Ups
We’re about to roll out a series of events in cities around the UK. Each event will feature different topics and discussion on current topics around brand/influencer relationships. Our next event will be in London in June, so be sure to sign up to our MeetUp page for more information about this or one of our forthcoming events near you.