How I Work
It seems that discussions about certain aspects of the influencer industry are relatively unexplored and I'm not too sure why that is. Every time I talk about my chosen career on the blog, I know that previous blog posts about what equipment Alex and I use, how I deal with PR gifting/Press trips, chats about ASA guidelines and more - have all seen great conservations between us.
So maybe it's time to take on another topic?
In this unintentionally secretive industry it seems there isn't much chatter around how influencers are approached by brands, how creative control is finalised, how important long term relationships are formed and so much more.
With that in mind here's how I work with brands, what I look for in a partnership and why I choose to work with the brands I do. It's definitely more simple than you may imagine and just like anyone who works in a creative industry and is self employed, I love to see people share their own experiences an insights into this newer career choice.
The first contact with a brand can come via several different avenues.
Firstly a brand/company/agency may approach my management team at Gleam to enquire as to whether a campaign or idea matches with my image. My wonderful managers know exactly what campaigns or collaborations would be of interest to me and they also form relationships with brands I've worked with over the years to enable consistent, high quality and repeated collaborations.
Secondly brands may reach out to me over Instagram or a different platform in a more informal way to introduce themselves and to start a conversation regarding future relationships. This allows me to discover new brands and perhaps become a paying customer before working with them in the future. Social media is a huge influence on me in terms of inspiration for myself and now my home, so for a brand to reach out it often spurs me on to discover more about them and their story.
Thirdly brands may email me directly to enquire about working together. Sometimes this is as a first port of call and an introductory email and other times it's hearing from a brand I already adore and have worked with previously. In either case it's easy via email to decide if we can work together dependent on brand, timings and creative control. Three key factors for any collaboration.
There are some important deciding factors that come into working with a brand:
- - Have I worked with the brand before? A dream situation in terms of content creation is to repeatedly work with a brand you love and who respect your creativity and vision for your working relationship. A great long term relationship with a team who have mutual respect for each other and share similar visions is a great goal to have.
- - Do I use/already love the brand? There's nothing more exciting when a brand you already love connects with the possibility of working together. It's a natural progression from already being a dedicated customer of a brand, for them to then want to create content with you. A dream for any influencer. For instance, Desenio recently got in touch regarding a collaboration, and after buying all the artwork for my flat two years ago from Desenio, this was a collaboration I was extremely excited about for my new house.
- - Would I like to be associated with the brand? Usually reserved for a first time collaboration opportunity is being excited/passionate about associating with a brand. If you share the same goals, morals, ideas and passions then it gives you a great basis for a working relationship that will hopefully develop over time.
- - Do I believe in what the brand stands for? As I grow older and become more aware of my footprint on this world, it's increasingly important for me to team up with brands that share my eagerness for progression. Charities that support the next generations, schools that celebrate and encourage individuality in education, brands that push the boundaries of innovation and companies that are willing to grow and change with us. Small steps are important too.
- - Does the brand allow me to be creative? When it comes to a specific job, campaign or collaboration a necessity for me is to share creative control with the brand. One reason is to ensure the content I create is unique, of high quality and also works well for the people who choose to follow me. Another reason is to ensure that if a campaign is worked on by several influencers, that I can put my own spin on the campaign.
I also love to work with brands that offer feedback and focus on more than just follower numbers.
As well as dealing with facts, figures and feedback - I would also tell you to listen to your gut. It's very likely you know straight away if a brand encompasses all the things that are important to you. Never let money dictate your eagerness to work with brands. I will happily say that I have turned down huge sums to work with brands that I don't believe in or who don't represent the people who choose to interact with me. That's because you should always be mindful of the effects your work has on your wider brand image and most importantly your following.
I hope this was interesting to delve deeper into and I hope we can continue to be more open and honest with this amazingly creative industry we are part of. There's so much for us to work towards and to ensure we remain authentic and transparent as we see social media become such a huge part of our lives. If you have any questions please leave them below for me!
These images were taken on a trip to Marrakech with Dior to experience the Dior 2020 Cruise Show.