We are in the final stretch of the Influencer Council! For session four, we welcomed two special guests from the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), who provided great insight and perspective as we continue to build our Whitepaper.
As you’ll remember from session three, we invited all our members to take time over the last two weeks to make suggestions to the first iteration of the Whitepaper. We then all came back together to read everyone’s thoughts and discuss in an open environment. Let’s see what our members said.
This topic is one of the most important topics that the council wants to provide clarity on. The council agreed that brands need to be responsible for providing watertight briefs that flag to influencers the necessary tags, hashtags and placement of tags in the content making sure that they’re all easily accessible. By working together and having clarity between the brand and the influencer there should be far less opportunity for consumers to get confused, or worse, be totally unaware, of what the post means.
Yet, the fundamental issue remains – clearly there is a huge gap in understanding among consumers on what these tags mean. The council agreed an education drive is needed and everyone – influencers, regulatory bodies, brands and platforms – should do what they can to ensure that people are fully informed.
Over the last few weeks, the council has been brainstorming ways to ensure that there is absolute clarity on whether or not a post has been part of a paid partnership.
The council is adamant that appropriate signage for both promoting a brand and promoting a product are used across different platforms. There have been a flurry of imaginative and creative ideas to ensure that T&Cs are clear across a variety of platforms and the “Ad-moji” toolkit of universal signs and symbols that influencers and brands can use is well under way!
Additionally, in the spirit of honesty, no influencer is able to endorse a product or service that they have not used. The Influencer Council wants to create an open, transparent environment and a place where consumers can trust their favourite influencer’s recommendation, not question the accuracy and veracity of their posts.
The panel also suggested forming an influencer pledge, to be agreed by all members, regulatory bodies and potentially the platforms, to be openly held accountable..
Over the last few weeks, the council has delved into the different terms used in influencer marketing. In particular, the term ‘affiliate’ is continuing to create discussion. As an industry term, do people outside the marketing industry truly understand it? With many complaints around the use of affiliate, the next session will see the council continue to seek ways to provide clarity on the term.
Terminology is also of vital importance to ensure that it doesn’t encourage any sort of irresponsible spending. The council members are working hard on a mental health manifesto that will form part of the whitepaper and guidance on how to appropriately discuss retail therapy. All members of the panel are passionate about driving the balance between awareness, responsibility and duty to ensure that consumers can make informed decisions after seeing an influencer’s post. There also shouldn’t be any emotive language to encourage any reckless behaviour around spending.
So, what’s next?
As we near the end of the Influencer Council, the panelists are thinking about the future. It’s been a fantastic process to meet so many people across advertising, mental wellbeing, regulation and of course, brands and influencers to discuss the future of influencer advertising. The Council is planning a follow up meeting at the end of the year to ensure that our guidelines always reflect the sign of the times, especially as new platforms continue to erupt and shake-up the industry. Stay tuned.
The final Whitepaper is well underway, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with you. Keep tuned and do check out Extra O blog to stay in the loop, or if you’d like to learn more about The Influencer Council, click here.