Brands should fully trust the influencers they work with, says Gushcloud CEO

Lim points to countries like China and the US, which she says are at the forefront of influencer marketing.

While some marketers believe that brands should be focusing on the engagement rates of influencers instead of prioritising vanity metrics, influencer marketing agency Gushcloud says it depends on the needs and priorities of the brand.

Althea Lim, the group chief executive of the Singapore-based agency explains to The Drum for certain brands, awareness is key. Therefore, it would be better to engage influencers with high numbers.

“However, if the brand is sales or performance-driven, we would advise the brand to create campaigns that are engaging and performance-driven,” she adds.

“That typically means targeting influencers with niche communities and high engagements within their communities.

Many brands today also simply cede all control of their product and brand to the “creativity” of the influencers because they feel the influencer knows how to best communicate to their audience segment.

This means no detailed background checks and short-term, non-committal contracts, creating a recipe for disaster.

However, Lim argues that the brand needs to trust that the influencers know how to get the reaction and engagement of their audiences that the brand would need.

She adds that brands should have a clear ratio of premium, macro, micro and nano to be able to create a holistic influencer marketing strategy.

“Brands should work with agencies like Gushcloud to identify key influencers and to help bring these key influencers to the table to foster a genuine relationship between the influencer and the brand,” she says.

The long-term effects of social media on the mental health of users has long been a hotly contested issue and as more brands ramp up their influencer marketing investment, many feel it is vital brands and marketer are sensitive to the demands placed upon their talent.

While Lim agrees that view, she adds that becoming a digital talent, influencer and content creator is now becoming a sustainable career.

She points to countries like China and the US, which she says are at the forefront of influencer marketing. She also advises all digital talents to be part of an agency or own a team so that more people can get involved in the marketing strategy.

“In China, influencer marketing is the main marketing strategy and holds onto more than 15% of the annual spend of brands. However, in South East Asia, we are still at a range of 5%. We hope to see that go to 15% in the next 3 years,” she adds.

The agency recently raised US $11 million in funds from regional investors after buying back the 62% stake held by Korean firm Yello Digital Marketing Global for $8.2m in November 2018.

The funding was led by GDP Ventures, KB Investments (KB Financial Holdings), Golden Equator Capital, Korea Investment Partners and Kejora Ventures.

American entrepreneur Russell Simmons, who is now president of the group at Gushcloud, also participated in the funding. Simmons will help Gushcloud expand its base of American talents and clients.

Meanwhile, Lim and Vincent Ha are now group chief executive and chairman of the board respectively. Ng Siang Hang who was chief executive of Gushcloud’s agency business is now global brand director and will head brand advertising and marketing in America.

Gushcloud Asia will be led by Oddie Randa and Chloe Lim, while Kuik Xiaoshi, the founder of beauty and wellness firm Summer International has been brought in as chief strategy officer. Former venture capitalist Andrew Lim has been brought in as chief financial officer.

The money raised will be used by Gushcloud to expand its digital celebrity representation business into the US and China.

“It will also be used to beef up our technology and data department, and also towards our commerce unit and partner, Summer International,” adds Lim.

It was recently revealed that P&G and Disneyland were among brands reaching most fake followers on Instagram.

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