• Short answer, yes and no. It is the brand's job to deliver a brief that gives the influencer the flexibility to inject their voice into that post to tell their story and how that story intersects with the product. How their life has been improved by the product. How their skin has changed. How it makes them feel. Whatever it is. The brand has to give them a brief that allows them to inject their personality and their point of view into it. That's why we follow them.

    We follow them because we respect and in some way, crave their point of view. It is 100% a brand shop to do that. A lot of the work that we do is helping our brands craft strategies that are going to be flexible enough to give the influencer the space to spread their beautiful wings and fly around but constricted enough that they don't fly off the rails and talk about the product in a way that the brand doesn't want. The way I think about it, a lot of times, is bumpers in a bowling alley. That lane is yours. You can do it with it what you want but if you start to veer off into a place that doesn't make sense for the brand, we're just going to pop you back into the middle and make sure you're protected.

    For the influencer, it's great because it gives them the chance to be creative with constraints and the brand, it's great because they're getting great content but they're also getting the safety, they're getting the peace of mind that they're going to get the kind of content they want and it's going to be safe for their brand. When a brand briefs influencers and sends them the captions and tells them exactly what they want them to post, tells them how they want the photo to look exactly, I hate that shit. I think it's terrible. I think it is stupid. I think it's just bad business but, end of the day, it's the brand's money.

    If they want to say, "Meet us at Montauk, Sunday at 6:00 PM." And they want to start a bonfire with $150,000 and that's the way they want to promote their launch, that's their right. It's their money. It's then the responsibility of the influencer to either push back on a bad brief or walk away. Stat that was on Instagram recently is 34% of influencers accept over half of the deals that are sent their way. That sounds about right to me and I think that any time an influencer turns down a deal, not because they didn't think they're getting paid enough but because they don't think it's a good match for them. Their clout, for me, goes up a level. I just respect that much more.

    I'm that much more willing to push the team to work with them. That's not to say, don't say, "My new strategy is I'm going to just say no to all these four campaigns." But, when you believe in something and if something doesn't align with your beliefs, no matter how much money it is, it's okay to just walk away. And so, it is your job to stay relatable, real and relevant. It's the brand's job to allow you to advertise for them while doing those things. Nobody's forcing you to take this money. No one's forcing you to take the deals. If you're walking into a deal and it stinks and you feel like this is not going to be good.

    As I've said before, if you're at least a week or two out, respectfully bowing out, I think is better than doing a half ass job. Actually, just real quick story then we're going to end this episode. I was on a trip once with an Influencer. They were like, they had this brand deal that they were supposed to do when they got back. They were going to be really tired. They were like, get back in the morning from this trip. That afternoon, we're going to have to leave and go somewhere else. They were really dreading it. It was like four or five days out. I was like, just email them and say like, "I'm so sorry. I overestimated the amount of energy I was going to have. I don't think I can do this.

    I don't think I can bring the energy that I know you guys are expecting and that I expect of myself to this deal. I really respectfully have to bow out of it. Please, let me know if I can help you find anyone else. I can make intros if there's any Influencers that I'm friends with that you think would be great. I'm really sorry, again, let me know if you want to jump on a call." That is always going to be okay. You can do that. Now, ghosting a brand and just deciding not to post about them and then never fucking emailing them. I'd do a whole episode on that. That is not okay. Being respectful and bowing out early enough to allow the brand to fill your spot is okay. That's probably a long episode and well, I got nothing else to say. I'm out.
    Episode #169
    - Instagram App Updates, Investing in Digital Products, Brand Roles