Talent first, influence second

How a multi-million-pound investment from Dorfman Media Holdings will allow Talent Village to be at the forefront of this game changing movement.

I don’t like the term influencer marketing. In fact, I pretty much cringe every time I hear it. Bombshell dropped right? Because as the industry definition goes, we are in many senses a tech-enabled influencer marketing agency. However, I like to think we’re doing something a little different here at Talent Village. And that’s because of our talent-first approach, over and above that of influence.

Sadly, many marketers have been burnt in their search for effective influencer solutions over the last few years, which has meant they have lost trust in the industry in general. This is almost certainly due to all the companies popping up to try and capitalise on a huge revenue channel. As such, it’s getting harder and harder for marketers to separate the wheat from the chaff. This causes us and the industry in general a problem.

Saying this however, the influence market is still incredibly buoyant. For instance, over 80% of brands today see influencer marketing an effective digital strategy for increasing brand awareness, and nearly two-thirds of marketers are increasing their budgets in 2019. In addition we know that the industry is set to swell to over $10 bn within the next five years. However, as this dynamic environment continues to evolve, 61% of marketers still struggle to find the right type of talent for their campaigns.

It’s because of this that we decided to make a stand this year and further prioritise professional talent, over and above influence. It’s why we rebranded from Model Village to Talent Village and why we decided to sign a multi-million-pound strategic partnership with Dorfman Media Holdings. Not only will this investment propel us forward, allowing us to grow our team, reinforce our presence in Asia and the USA, and expand our suite of specialist technology tools to better serve our clients & partners, but it will also help us challenge the industry landscape in a way it has never been done before. Part and parcel of this will be helping our talent agencies discover the best opportunities for their talent and matching them with the right brands for their career; talent that is recognised for its own merits in and of itself, and talent who can propel a brand forwards far more smartly and effectively than influence alone. Technology will be key to this, but so too will our team’s expertise to challenge the norm and set new standards when it comes to best practices within the talent & influence industries.

So how do we put talent first when planning out campaigns? Here are our four tips:

1. Authenticity: In spite of Instagram’s crackdown, spotting fake followers is marked as the number one problem when scouting talent. As leaders of the space, it remains imperative for platforms to help guide brands to ensure that they offer a secure, valid pool of talent who are credited to talk about their products. We must have a zero-tolerance policy to anyone whose actions challenge this credibility, whether it be fake followers and engagement or unreliable measurement and metrics. Similarly, as an industry we should have no qualms about calling out those that do fall short of this.

2. Relevance: Another key step when scouting talent is to ensure their interests align with the brand’s ethos. Fashion models, athletes, visual artists, and other high-profile talent have real credibility and offer authentic value in their space. They can connect with a brand’s audience in a way no other can.

3. Engagement: This metric ultimately relays back to the authenticity and relevancy of the talent who represents the brand and the quality of content that talent produces. As the world of influence becomes more and more central to the marketing mix, brands need to focus increasingly on the quality of the creatives and adopt a collaborative approach to deliver “Talent Generated Content” (TGC),

4. Amplification: With the need for brands to always produce more digital content, it is now key to optimise the output of visual assets shared by talent. Repurposing TGC across a variety of paid media channels such as social, display and even out-of-home will help brands propel the influence echo above and beyond its organic reach.

The influencer marketing industry is most certainly at a tipping point. With this multi-million-pound investment from Dorfman Media Holdings, more advanced technology to discover and monitor the talent our brands need to work with and through the hire of several key industry experts, we’re certain that we’re going to be at the forefront of this evolving landscape. We look forward to doing some ground-breaking work in 2019 and beyond. Work where talent will be in the driving seat and where vanity metrics and a focus on influence will be left behind… And about time too.

William Soulier, CEO and co-founder of Talent Village

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