Trust and transparency issues shift content creation from large agencies to boutique shops

Influencers are now more trusted than marketers, says Greg Shepard

We are increasingly seeing major brands shift away from having content created and managed by their traditional ad agency. While brands still maintain agency of record relationship with agencies, it’s far less prevalent as brands are choosing to move to smaller boutique, creative or content shops.

The agency world is changing dramatically as the media landscape morphs from the simplicity of back-in-the-day TV, print and radio to today’s highly complex landscape of internet-fueled media fragmentation, content as advertising and the rise of niche-based influencers who captivate small but loyal audiences.

It’s no longer the media companies that control access to the audiences marketers want to reach. It’s individual content creators or influencers who have built up loyal followings and have engendered a strong bond between themselves and their followings. Which brings up another point; the issue of trust.

While there are exceptions, when it comes to the relationship between big companies and their big agencies, trust is lacking. While social media has certainly created room towards strengthening trust, influencers are still a more valuable investment from a consumer trust perspective.

Social influencers are now the trusted conduit through which content -- organic as well as paid marketing -- flows. Smart marketers are leveraging that trust and realizing that because of that trust, consumers are actively choosing to seek out and consume content from these trusted creators and, yes, the smaller, more boutique ad agencies that work behind the scenes helping to direct and craft the content influencers share with their audiences.

This shift towards transparency and trust is a result of social media which has allowed influencers to grow niche audiences that are loyal and trusting of the influencer. Leveraging that trust in the ongoing battle to maintain relationships with consumers has become job number one for marketers. The quick creation of trusted content by an influencer -- and, yes, the nimble agency working behind the scenes in tandem with the influencer -- is quickly becoming the standard method of communication between marketer and consumer.

Greg Shepard is CTO of Pepperjam

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