Influencer agencies expand their consulting services as competition grows

Social and marketing agency Socially Powerful last month added consultancy services that aim to hone in on enterprise brand and influencer marketing areas for its clients.

The agency hopes to build the new service, called Prime Influence, into a consultative strategy so it can expand beyond the day-to-day execution of briefs and campaigns for clients. As the influencer marketing sector grows, more agencies in the space are now expanding their creator-facing and client-facing offerings, from providing membership, creating events and opening meeting spaces to access to tools and business consultation.

“[Influencer agencies are] not just connecting brands with influencers anymore,” said Stefanie Beach, founder and CEO of SMB Media Consulting. “They’re offering comprehensive strategies, from content creation to campaign analytics,” or influencer matchmaking based on niche audiences.

Socially Powerful believes Prime Influence can help address some of the major strategic and technological challenges that brands experience in influencer marketing — from running campaigns efficiently to keeping up with content production, said Majid Bahi, global CEO of Socially Powerful. Founded in 2017, the global agency currently has offices in the U.S., U.K. and China.

Socially Powerful also aims to bring transparency to fees. “If brand A spends $10,000 for an influencer, and I’m brand B — I need to know that, because I need to know that [it] should not be more than that, at least be in this region,” Bahi added.

The agency’s service will include guidance on creating centers of excellence, or what Bahi calls pods, that sit internally and on the client side in some cases, to share learnings and practices. These could be grouped by ad category and include multiple brands, such as hair care or beauty brands. Socially Powerful will also advise clients on building a creator content engine to scale their content and relationship management. Rather than working in siloed teams and centered on executing briefs, this new position puts Socially Powerful in more of a top-down advisory role.

“This is a solution that is a little bit higher,” Bahi said. “It’s probably more directed to CMOs, who want to run marketing more efficiently and more effectively, and are more consulting rather than execution.”

For example, the agency said developing a content engine will help clients purchase more content, only cheaper. With an always-on, social-first approach, brands can create multiple posts and stay on top of trends much faster, Bahi said. This will help brands produce more content at lower costs by leveraging influencers on an ongoing basis rather than one-off projects to improve efficiency.

Socially Powerful’s clients can also utilize the agency’s platform Aria, a tool released in January that is geared toward matching and searching up to 200 million influencers using visual and AI functions.

The consultancy will also help develop creative technology while finding the right artificial intelligence or ad tech to improve creative performance. For instance, clients can employ digital asset management platforms to identify specific content, such as finding something with a red dress, which minimizes the searching they need to do to set up with a creator individually. Having a centralized repository of content assets gives brands more flexibility to quickly adapt campaigns or create new content in response to trends.

In this case, AI may be the key to keeping up with the speed of social media and changing technologies for these agencies.

“As with many other industries, data-driven strategies are becoming a real differentiator for agencies focused on influencer marketing,” said Logan Patterson, global senior director of digital and martech strategy at consultancy Slalom.

Besides technology, the other differentiating factor for influencer agencies may be the specialized services they can offer clients beyond the day-to-day influencer campaigns, including support in negotiating contracts, partnerships, content strategy or developing influencers, much like talent management, Patterson added.

Maureen Kerr, partner at consultancy Arthur D. Little, said agencies are already “broadening … beyond just talent representation … [with some offering] tailored services for influencers including accounting, taxation, insurance and business set-up.”

Belle Communication, which also specializes in influencer marketing, said an “overcrowded” creator market makes it necessary to work with brands beyond campaigns — and also to offer expertise for creative strategy, said Megumi Robinson, Belle Communication’s head of services.

“With tighter budgets, brands may execute campaigns in-house, but turn to agencies like ours for big ideas and deep insights to ensure their influencer partnerships resonate deeply and deliver ROI,” Robinson said.

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