The&Partnership launches 'social talent agency' The&Collective to partner brands with 'influencers'

The&Partnership, the WPP-backed comms agency that owns PR shop Halpern, has launched an agency focused on partnering brands with social media 'influencers'.

Described as a "social talent agency", The&Collective has secured Unilever among its first clients for its Dove and Sure brands.

The&Collective is said to be different from other talent agencies because its clients are both brand owners and individual stars of social media who have gained followings on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The agency will use a software programme to track sales of products that are linked to promotions from the influencers, who will be paid commission via a "rewards programme". Analytics will also be used to identify the individuals who are growing in influence.

Ten social media influencers have been signed up to the new agency to date, including Maddie Bruce, Lucy Flight, Blake Steven, Charlotte Hole, Sarah Ashcroft, Tia Ward and Jodie Porteous.

Jenny Halpern Prince, founder of Halpern who will head up The&Collective, said: "It’s no secret – the world is shifting to social media. And consequently there has been an increase in brands wanting to invest in influencer marketing – they are realising that digital influencers can reach and influence millions of engaged followers.

"The&Collective is more than matching digital influencers with brands, though – we will use our creative and brand storytelling expertise to help craft the ideas. Unlike a traditional ‘talent management’ operation, we are not a middle man – we are the catalyst for creative brand communications."

Keith Weed, chief marketing and comms officer at Unilever, said: "[The&Collective] has got a great line-up of up-and-coming talent who offer real engagement potential, which we’re already putting to good use with brands like Dove and Sure. The importance of influencer marketing within the brand comms mix is only going to grow, as younger generations in particular value authenticity and word–of–mouth recommendations over more traditional marketing messages."

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