Abed Agha

Moving away from cash-only compensation to better reciprocity

The essence of influencer marketing lies in the human element where authenticity, passion, and relatability are brought to the table. Yet, that alone does not make the most out of your collaboration. The pinnacle is achieved when the brand and influencers synergize in order to inspire their audience effectively. Let's take a look at how you can bolster this partnership and anchor it in true respect of the product marketed. Introducing a mutually beneficial exchange of value, beyond the run-of-the-mill monetary payment, is key to fostering a long-term partnership and developing it into a true authentic collaboration between the two parties. Now, embracing that kind of exchange of value by no way means poorly compensating influencers for their work, instead it means creating an attractive package that nurtures a long-term relationship, and brings value for both, the influencer and the brand.

Let’s Delve Deeper Into the Exchange of Value

Just like the name suggests, the exchange of value should on the one hand be equitable: a rational, reciprocal experience that leverages what both parties have to offer, and on the other hand, it should be about creating value: value for the brand, value for the influencers, and most importantly value for the audience. Confluence, not influence, is about merging the expertise and experience of the brand with the heart and soul of the influencer in order to bring to life a true collaboration that will engage and convert your audience.

"Confluence, not influence, is about merging the expertise & experience of the brand with the heart and soul of the influencer."

How Does It Come to Life?

These are the ways to bring the relationship and exchange of value to a higher realm where confluence occurs across different influencer tiers. The below example illustrates how a healthy exchange of value can realize between brands and influencers.

1. Paid Media

By focusing paid media on influencer produced content in addition to boosting your own brand messaging, you give your product or service a chance to seamlessly integrate people’s regular flow of content given the difference in the brand and influencer's tone, and hence blending in the content people are interested in instead of interrupting it. In fact, this tactic yields better return on ad spend when compared to spending on content boosted through brand channels. In addition, this tactic gives the opportunity for the influencers to grow their community faster which in turn reciprocates mutual benefit between the parties.

2. Product Co-Creation

Today, the influencer-brand relationship is developed around a model of content co-creation. With influencers who happen to be genuine fans of the brand, and who are creative with the usage of the product, a better exchange of value would be to move the relationship to a product co-creation, bundling, or personalization. At the end of the day, it's all about co-creating an experience that establishes mutual long-term growth for both parties.

Product co-creation is a spectrum that adapts to the level of collaboration and type of influencer. You can work with a micro influencer on a curated set of their favorite products from your line which they can sell to their audience. You can invest in a simple personalized box to package your already existing products and the influencer’s passion and love, where the latter adds their way of using the products through premium influencer content, and you’ve unlocked a simple yet effective way to co-create a marked-up product.

Now if you’re working with a macro influencer, you can delve into co-creating a product from scratch with the promise of a return on investment that otherwise wouldn't make financial sense with a smaller influencer. In fact, the announcement of the collaboration of mega Italian influencer Chiara Ferragni with the manufacturer Safilo Group on her first line of Chiara Ferragni sunglasses led to an automatic spike of 14% of the manufacturer’s stock value.

3. Influencer Experiences

Brands carry immense resources at their fingertips that can provide tremendous value to partnering influencers. Due to their long time experience in their industries, brands can share knowledge and offer training to influencers. Not only does this make a deep impact on them that makes them better professionals but it also increases the love for the brand. In addition, brands can offer "insider" access to behind the scenes and exclusive experiences that would surely bring about better content outcomes and interesting perspectives to the audience.  

Quantifying the Exchange of Value

In the end, this is an exchange, and so the amount you give should make sense compared to the amount you get, but it’s often difficult to compute without spending a lot of time crunching numbers. This is where data-driven insights provided by influencer marketing tools come into play. The evolution of the influencer’s iScore across time as well as their suggested audience pricing allows you to quantify this amount by giving you insights into the prospective return on investment.

This way, you can turn your collaboration into a long-term fruitful partnership beyond the restrictions of a limited, money-driven campaign. Inject value for the two parties and establish the right exchange that will yield the most value for your brand and your influencer partners. Start today with a free account at sociata.com

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