As Influencer Marketing Takes Off, a Commitment to Integrity is Key

Integrity of influencers

By 2020, influencer marketing is expected to be worth USD 10 Billion. To describe the growth as exponential is almost an understatement; back in 2017, it was only valued at USD 2 Billion. 

The demand for influencers is huge. But it’s easy to forget to ask: who is making sure that the work that we do remains ethical and transparent?

How to define the integrity of an influencer?

Bad news sells better than good news, and 2018 was the year where blistering criticism of social media finally culminated in severe public trust and ethical issues on social networks. This is a wake-up call for the industry to push forward with a concerted effort to rebuild the integrity of our practice.

In June 2017, Unilever’s Chief Marketing Officer Keith Weed summed up how that trust can be rebuilt: “The key to improving the situation is three-fold: cleaning up the influencer ecosystem by removing misleading engagement; making brands and influencers more aware of the use of dishonest practices; and improving transparency from social platforms to help brands measure impact.”

It is safe to say that ALL stakeholders in this industry have a role to play: the platforms, brands, and influencers. Weed outlined these roles perfectly with Unilever’s commitment:

“Transparency from Influencers: We will not work with influencers who buy followers.
Transparency from Brands: Our brands will never buy followers.
Transparency from Platforms: We will prioritize partners who increase transparency and help eradicate bad practices throughout the whole ecosystem.”

We acknowledge that we’re going through a period of growing pains, just like any industry. And to align with Unilever’s commitment, at the core of Narratrs is a delicate balance between developing technologies that encourage transparency, human interaction, and experiments with business models that add value to the industry.

Practicing what we preach in our Community Manifesto, Narratrs routinely examine the authenticity of what we create and publish these findings as we grow with the industry. If you would like to keep updated on our findings, follow us on LinkedIn or drop us a line at brands@narratrs.com.

In Weed’s words, “We need to take urgent action now to rebuild trust before it’s gone forever.”

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