I was recently influenced to buy a product. I’ve never in my life been a slave to advertising, let alone influencer marketing, so when this happened, I felt a bit conflicted. I felt like I had done something I shouldn’t have done. I didn’t need the product, it was rather expensive, and on top of everything, I never wore such product.
But then again the brand was Finnish, I had followed their story for a long time, and I wanted to support them and tell everybody about them. Yes, the possibility of collaborating did cross my mind, but perhaps purchasing one of their products wasn’t yet quite enough to land me on that stage.
But it got me thinking about the concept of ‘influencing‘ and everything surrounding it.
Let’s not beat around the bush; I do not like the word ‘influencer’ marketing at all. To me it sounds like a brain washing cult. And there’s nothing good about brain washing.
Especially since the point of brain washing has always been to benefit in the expense of someone else. Which is exactly what influencer marketing has started to look like.
Just a quick visit to Twitter will tell you that I sure ain’t the only one wincing at the mention of the I-word. It has collected thoroughly negative connotations about it, the biggest among them mistrust, being fake, and unattainable.
But is it all bad? Or might some influencers still be nailing it? If yes, how can we spot them along all the rubble? Let’s look at the Bad, the Good, and the Necessary of the section of marketing industry that has earned the awful name, influencer.
Reality TV stars and Instagram celebs tell you you’re not worth anything unless you buy those pills that make you shit your lungs out and thus you gain the ‘ideal weight‘. So much of beauty and fashion industry heavily rides on our insecurities, and oh, don’t we listen!
They hit us hard in the soft spots, that make us feel like we’re the scum of the Earth, and then offer us the ultimate solution or remedy in the form of useless, sometimes even harmful products. The latest in this saga was the outcry of some sad individuals who thought that it’s time to bring back fat-shaming…
Let’s add to the mess all those “influencers” who are willing to grab any promotion opportunity for any cost. This is more about brands abusing the blogger/Instagrammer, who’s too afraid to say ‘No thank you’ for the risk of losing an opportunity. But abuse is never acceptable, no matter which way it goes.
And then there are those who are straight forward distasteful in their search for attention and free things. For example, did you hear about that blogger who staged her own engagement? What a WASTE!! Engagement is a once-in-a-lifetime event and she blew it completely for the sake of attention, poor lass.
Although, it has to be said, she’s completely in her right to do so… I just feel so sorry for her.
The latest infuriating “influencer” marketing campaign was this enacting of the girl’s recent motorcycle accident in order to feature a water bottle she was promoting amongst the ‘gruesome’ images. There was so much wrong with this series of photos, no matter whether she was genuine or not.
First up, she was promoting a brand, but didn’t disclose the fact that the series of photos was in fact an advert campaign. Not disclosing this fact is illegal.
When later confronted about it she denied having tried to promote the brand, which really doesn’t help her case. Lying like Putin or Boris Johnson is not a personality trait one should strive for.
Secondly, collecting ‘attention points’ with something as serious as a motorcycle accident is SO OFF!! It makes me so angry, and I can tell she’s in a privileged position where she or anyone she loves has never been in a serious traffic accident.
How do I know this? Suffice to say that if she, or someone close to her had been, she would never have even thought about creating this series of photos.
With these baffling examples in mind, it’s no wonder the “influencer” industry is suffering from great lack of trust.
As always, also with “influencing” (omg, what a horrid word…) there are two sides to the coin. And where there are bad marketers, there are also those who do an awesome job and are able to maintain their integrity instead of jumping at any chance they’re offered.
Obviously, the best example of someone, who keeps nailing it, is Victoria and her blog InTheFrow; does she promote brands and products that none of us can afford? Yes. Does she do it with style and integrity? HELL YES!
She doesn’t prostitute her life and well-being to the industry and the brands in pursuit of never-ending cash flow and attention. Instead, she hand-picks some brands that she really, personally loves and gives those brands her full effort.
And boy, does it show! She and her husband create the most amazing content in multiple forms; photo, video and text. Her promotion videos on Instagram are my absolute favourites, even if I know I can never afford any of those 6 bags she was juggling on one of her lovely videos. She’s an inspiration to so many of us on the beauty and fashion side of things.
And The Necessary
Vix created the most amazing, supportive, and useful community for bloggers in just few months. This community was created to bring much needed transparency and a support system into an industry that has greatly lacked both.
She’s easy to like and to relate to because she’s bloody honest, both about her personal life as well as what goes on behind the scenes with brands that she works with. She provides us with information and tips that shows us that hey, you! You can do this too!
And that’s exactly what this industry needs; transparency and encouraging people who support you when the impostor syndrome kicks down the doors. Gotta love a gal with Sisu!
Then there are those bloggers and creators who provide us with information that I, at least, couldn’t otherwise find on issues that I’m interested in.
Proper bloggers (don’t agree, throw me a line) are researchers as much as marketers. For example, fast fashion brands and their operations are well guarded secrets, which are now being spilled out, thanks to social media and technology making it possible to bring touchy subjects out in the open.
This is necessary because things need to change, and they won’t change if we don’t know about them and demand that change. That’s why we need creators who keep bringing these serious issues onto our screens in an interesting and, yes, visually appealing manner. Knowledge is everything.
Influencer marketing is still a young industry, it hasn’t existed for even 10 years yet. So, of course it’s still trying to find its shape and people are testing the boundaries while authorities attempt to understand the complex industry and compose rules and regulations accordingly.
This industry is a moving surface, it changes appearance all the time, and that’s great! Hopefully that means that we will see a drastic drop in these fake, unreliable and simply rude people who would sacrifice anything for the sake of an easy deal.
At the same time, it means that this industry is never too full or stagnated to join, so if you’ve been thinking about starting a blog, do it! We need more inspiring and informative blogs that empower rather than alienate people from them and the brands they’re promoting.
Do you buy products according to ‘influencers’ recommendation? I’d love to hear who, in your opinion, is doing a brilliant job with promoting brands and why?
Follow me on Instagram and use #styleoutlandish to showcase your style! I’m always on the lookout for outfit inspiration.