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#StateofInfluence: An interview with Chris Davis, Head of Brand Partnerships at Gleam Futures

Discover the State of Influencer Marketing 2019 Access your copy of the report!
Julia Cohen

In this installment of our #StateofInfluence series, we interviewed Chris Davis, Head of Brand Partnerships at Gleam Futures. Davis’ career has focused mainly on Digital Marketing. Starting out in London with ad-tech firm Vibrant Media, Chris transferred to their New York office before moving into managing partnerships for the US brand of DailyMail.com. Upon his return to London, Chris took on his role at Gleam Futures, leading on providing end to end influencer solutions for its brand and agency partners, whilst heading up a team which develops marketing leading short and long-term brand partnerships.

#Stateofinfluence: An interview with Chris Davis, Head of Brand Partnerships at Gleam Futures

Can you tell us a bit about how Gleam Futures started and the overall mission?

Gleam Futures is the world’s first, and largest, digital-first talent management company. With offices in London, LA and Sydney, Gleam is the gold standard manager of digital-first talent and the trusted provider of talent-first marketing and business solutions.

According to you, how has influencer marketing evolved over the past few years?

Over the last few years, the number of creators has grown exponentially meaning that the market has become crowded. To overcome this, the industry has looked to gain a semblance of control by measuring creators in a similar way to digital media – by focusing on numbers; namely, reach and engagement.

Whilst this is helpful to understand the number of eyeballs you might reach, it doesn’t identify quality talent and by this I mean creators who produce standout content, who have an incredibly strong relationship with their audience and whose authentic voice is trusted by their audience; this is where the true value of a brand partnership with this type of talent comes from.

Do you think influencer marketing will continue being as effective in the near future?

Influencer marketing will most certainly be as effective as it has been in the near future. In fact, I believe it will only get better. As the quality of creators increases – the competition to create standout content is fierce! – and more brands start to invest their marketing budget into this space, we’re only going to see more sophisticated and integrated campaigns. Brands will start to look at creators not just for their reach on their social media platforms but for the effect that they have on their audience and the way they can change perceptions and drive actions.

What is the key to maintaining authenticity when working with opinion leaders?

Do your homework. Understand the type of audience you are trying to reach and then research creators who are already talking about your topic and reaching that audience. It’s not as simple as just looking at the data though, you need to really understand who the talent is and what type of content they create before engaging with them. Then when you do, you’ve already won half the battle. You need to make sure that the talent are genuine fans of the brand so that when they do create content, you know that no matter what they produce, it will be authentic – and appreciated by their audience in turn.

From your experience at Gleam Futures, what do brands typically look for in an influencer when engaging a collaboration?

We always work closely with our brand partners to advise on which talent would be best suited to a partnership. In the past, brands would come to us and only want to work with creators who have the largest reach but now we’re starting to see a shift towards genuine connection; a creator who has a strong affiliation with the brand and its values.

More and more brands understand what makes collaborations effective and want to partner with a creator who fully understands the brief and the brand’s objectives whilst creating authentic standout content that will drive strong audience engagement. It’s great to see because the partnerships and content that come out of this way of working are always so strong.

 

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What defines a great influencer marketing campaign?

A great influencer marketing campaign is one that drives true business impact; one where the talent has created standout authentic content that their audience will love and that will drive their audience to action. It’s also one that will lead to a long-term relationship between the brand and the talent that they can continue to revisit and grow down the line.

Measurement is still a challenge for brands: What factors do you recommend they take into account to judge whether their influencer campaigns were successful?  

There is no one way to measure the impact of an influencer marketing campaign; it is dependent on the brand’s individual objectives. That said, a campaign shouldn’t be measured on likes and comments alone but through true metrics like sales, brand perception, and conversion propensity. These can be hard to track but we as an industry are getting closer to making this type of measurement standard practice.

What challenges do you foresee for fashion, luxury, and cosmetics brands in terms of influencer marketing?

Finding the right creators who really embody your brand values – the number of fashion and beauty creators is growing by the day which makes quality hard to find, but it is possible. And because there is so much fashion and beauty content out there, finding ways to keep partnerships original and interesting in ways that won’t make the audience switch off will be key.

Learn all of the stats

If you want to learn more about what brands look for in a successful influencer marketing campaign, download a full copy of the Influencer Marketing report here:

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Julia Cohen

Julia is a fashion writer and content creator based in London. She studied an MSc in Media and Communications at LSE, as well as Mandarin, Chinese, and has worked with various fashion and beauty brands within the UK.

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