In the vibrant world of influencer marketing, authenticity reigns supreme


I watched the opening episode of Black Mirror’s latest Season (6) in horror as I was about to embark on writing this piece. It was all about AI gone rogue.

So my first question to Mel, VP Asia for Audience2Media, was painfully obvious….

Ogilvy is leading a crackdown on AI-generated influencer ads labelling influencer content on social media with #PoweredbyAI or by using a dedicated watermark…will this work?

Hmmm…. they’ll only be able to use it on content that they generate on behalf of their influencers/or brands. But to be fair,  it is workable if brands and agencies adopt it across the board. And they may be able to set the benchmark for best practices, if they can get the AI Accountability Act supported by governments (like in France), then it would carry weight.

The European Parliament passed a draft law called the EU AI Act on June 14, a leap forward in regulating generative AI in the European Union.

Regulation has been an ongoing discussion in the influencer space, from the epic fallout of the Fyre Festival, a fraudulent luxury music festival, to attempts at implementing the #Ad requirement for paid collaborations. #Ad means the business featured has paid to be mentioned in social updates.

AI isn’t just a new tool; it’s a whole new playing field. It can certainly help us scale brand and influencer partnerships like never before, but it also comes with a dark side. Picture it creating a tidal wave of content that’s more fiction than fact, replacing authentic experiences with artificial ones.

So, what’s your game plan?

As we embrace these technological advancements, we also need to tread carefully, striking a balance between the benefits of technology and maintaining the human touch in our messaging.

Missteps with AI could be like sliding down a slippery slope, potentially resulting in a loss of the hard-earned trust we’ve built.

The challenge for influencer marketing is to harness these changes, establish regulation, and best practices, all while creating meaningful connections with our audience.

You mentioned connections in a new context.…

Imagine yourself at a cosy dinner with friends, engrossed in lively conversation and laughter. However, there’s always that one friend at the table who hijacks the conversation, constantly sharing mundane details of their daily routine and seamlessly integrating product placements into every sentence. Each brand mention is meticulously rehearsed. Result? No fun.

Translating this scenario to social platforms, it becomes evident that audiences crave content that resonates on a genuine, relatable, and entertaining level. They yearn for influencers who connect with them as fellow human beings, rather than salespeople pushing products and showering positive reviews.

Imagine the joy of having someone like Arwind Kumar, aka Makcik Rosmah, at the dinner table – despite the average food, at least laughter would be guaranteed.

Do mistakes help make it real?

Elon Musk stood on stage, exuding confidence, ready to demonstrate the incredible strength of the Cybertruck’s windows. A Tesla team member hurled a metal ball at the glass, expecting it to withstand the impact. But… crack! The collective gasp from the audience was palpable.

Elon Musk couldn’t help but laugh at the unexpected turn of events.

With a smirk, he quipped, “Oh well, at least it didn’t go through.” This unintentional moment of vulnerability only added to the Cybertruck’s allure. It became a symbol of the unpredictability of innovation and the genuine authenticity of the launch event.

As consultants within the influencer space, our role is to find the delicate balance between the influencer and the message they convey. Each influencer possesses a unique story shaped by personal experiences.

Finding the perfect match between influencer and brand sparks genuine connections, capturing the hearts and minds of the audience. It is this alignment that ignites the flame of authenticity and builds trust.

Not everything goes according to plan every time, but these imperfections are intrinsic features of influencer marketing that showcase the human side of brand and product innovation.

Data and Science

They provide valuable insights into influencer behaviour, values, tonality, and style that closely align with the brand’s image. On the other hand, follower interests and preferences allow us to identify influencer profiles with the highest likelihood of resonating with the desired audience. Trend analysis gives us context to the audience preferences on different platforms.

For instance, the Wes Anderson trend took social media by storm, with scores of content creators and brands pretending to be in a Wes Anderson film as they navigated their everyday lives.

The trend quickly reached our shores, and brands like PKNS hopped on the bandwagon. These data points, when combined, enable us to select influencers with relevant followers within the context of the campaign, allowing authenticity to take centre stage.

Check out the work here.

Within our platform, we boast a vast pool of over 800,000 influencers in Malaysia. Surprisingly, more than 89% of them fall into the category of nano-influencers, with follower counts ranging from 1,000 to 10,000.

Influencing Influencers

As we reflect on the importance of authenticity, we realize that audiences seek genuine connections in the content they consume. By embracing authenticity and harnessing the power of data and science, we can create influencer campaigns that truly resonate, fostering genuine connections and sparking delight among our intended audience.

Our approach goes beyond mere transactional relationships, as we believe in cultivating meaningful connections that endure beyond a single campaign.

Watch this video for the full picture here.

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The APPIES is an annual event that presents a rare opportunity for creative, media, digital and marketing agencies or brands to present their best campaigns to the industry.

This is the only event where Live Presentations meets Live Judging.

Similar to TED Talks, The APPIES is the chance for great presenters with outstanding work to show it off to some of the industry’s most important industry leaders.

This year’s winners will receive Gold, Silver or Bronze trophies for 21 categories, and 6 special Best of Best categories (red trophies) that require no submissions!

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APPIES Festival – Judging & Presentations
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