Au contraire, Mr Trippenbach: Influencers are more than 'plastic celebrities awkwardly posing with products'

Contrary to Philip Trippenbach's stance, influencers are effective product sellers.

Philip Trippenbach is missing the point with influencers, argues Edward East
Philip Trippenbach is missing the point with influencers, argues Edward East

Recently in PRWeek Philip Trippenbach, head of influencer marketing at Edelman UK, said "influencers aren’t effective for product marketing".

This came as a bit of a surprise to me (as I would imagine it did to most of the industry) because, simply put, it’s not true.

Gymshark is just one of many companies driving positive ROIs and increasing product sales through influencer marketing – helping it become a $100m company.

Trippenbach also said an advertising model in influencer marketing is "fundamentally flawed" and that the craft is more closely aligned with PR.

While Philip made some valid points about influencer marketing, he seems to have missed the point of its role in the broader PR and marketing mix.

He is purely considering the impact influencers can have from a PR perspective.

Consequently, Philip, his agency and his agency’s clients are missing out on the many benefits influencers offer on top of brand-led activities, all of which contribute to, or help track, increased product sales:

1. Empowering influencers to drive sales through affiliate schemes;

2. Commissioning high-quality but very cost-effective content for use in other media such as paid social, Print or OOH;

3. Delivering campaigns with minimal turnaround times in a world where attention spans are short and speed to market is essential;

4. Delivering highly trackable results so that one can quickly realise learnings and optimise to improve future results.

As a comparison, if a client asked you to develop a comprehensive PR strategy and all you recommended was a thought leadership piece and a couple of press releases, would you expect them to see the ‘whole’ benefit?

Of course not, because that is only the tip of the iceberg of what PR can offer.

Finally, Trippenbach claims, "plastic celebrities awkwardly posing with products in their feed is not success".

He is absolutely right that plastic celebs awkwardly posing with products does not work. Anyone 'posing' (regardless of celeb status) is a bad idea, and anyone doing that awkwardly is even worse.

But he seems to believe that 'awkward plastic posers' equals 'influencers'.

He is limiting his definition of influencers and not considering the thousands of extremely talented bloggers and content creators with distinct opinions and passionate followers who know and appreciate the influencer's voice.

Influencer marketing is so much more than "plastic celebrities awkwardly posing with products".

People follow celebrities because they are celebrities; people follow influencers because they want their take on something, whether it be artistic or academic.

Effective influencer marketing takes into account that connection and creates content that works in partnership with it, not in opposition to it.

Edward East is chief executive officer and founder of Billion Dollar Boy

Thumbnail image ©GettyImages

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