There are a handful of books in the market now about influencer marketing, beyond my humble entry into the space. We’ve talked to Neal Schaffer and Amanda Russell who both have books out on the topic. A few episodes back, we even spoke to the Professors — Joyce Costello and Sevil Yesiloglu, who edited the first known college text on the topic.

Gordon Glenister has thrown his offering into the mix, now too. His book is called Influencer Marketing Strategy and in it, he sources perspectives on the topic from myself as well as other interviewees in a useful and refreshing take on the topic. The book is a very practical, how-to guide for influencer marketing strategy and execution and is well worth the read.

I invited Gordon to come on the podcast to talk about the book, but also to really dig in to talk philosophically about the industry. Gordon comes from the background of association management in the United Kingdom. He was actually the head of the British Promotional Merchandise Association when he started connecting the dots to influencer marketing.

You’ll hear some familiar themes here. He and I think alike on influencer marketing’s connection to word of mouth marketing, that it goes beyond online influencers and there’s a different in influencers and people with actual influence. 

The diagnosis he gives of the mistakes brands often make with influence marketing is spot-on. And the topic of influencer fraud surfaces as well. I ask him how much of the industry is actually committing fraudulent behavior. Good discussion around that topic, too.

Perhaps the best part of what Gordon brings to the table is his research and exploration of influencer marketing around the world. He connects those dots for us.

This episode of Winfluence, the podcast, is sponsored by Julius.

If you’ve read my book, you know I’ve depended on Julius for influencer discovery and campaign management for some time now. When I’m looking for the right influencer for my clients, Julius allows me to search across Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Twitch, Twitter, Pinterest, Blogs and more. When I click into an influencer’s profile, I can see their audience demographics, what other networks they have reach through and quickly scan their recent posts to decide if they’re a right influencer for my brand. All the pieces of campaign management are there, too. Julius allows you to reach out, document contracts, share and approve influencer content and, of course, measure the ROI of each campaign, influencer or post. You owe it to your brand or agency to do a demo of Julius today. Go to jason.online/julius and request one. That’s jason.online/julius.

Winfluence Transcript – Gordon Glenister – Influencer Marketing Strategy

Jason Falls
Hello again friends thanks for listening to Winfluence – The influence Marketing Podcast. There are a handful of books in the market now about influencer marketing beyond my humble entry into the space of course. We’ve talked to Neal Schaffer and Amanda Russell, who both have books out on the topic. A few episodes back we even spoke to the professors Joyce Costello and Seville Yesiloglu, who edited the first known college text on the topic. Gordon Glenister has thrown his offering into the mix now, too. His book is called Influencer Marketing Strategy and in it he sources perspectives on the topic from myself as well as other interviewees in a useful and refreshing take on the topic. The book is a very practical how to guide for influencer marketing strategy and execution. And it’s well worth the read.

Jason Falls
I invited Gordon to come on the podcast to talk about the book but also to really dig in to talk philosophically about the industry. Gordon comes from the background of association management in the United Kingdom. He was actually the head of the British Promotional Merchandise Association. When he started connecting the dots to influencer marketing. You’ll hear some familiar things here. He and I think alike on influencer marketing, its connection to word of mouth marketing, that it goes beyond online influencers and there’s a difference in influencers and people with actual influence. The diagnosis he gives of the mistakes brands often make with influence marketing is spot on. And the topic of influencer fraud surfaces as well asked him how much of the industry is actually committing fraudulent behavior. Good discussion around that topic, too.

Jason Falls
Perhaps the best part of what Gordon brings to the table here is his research and exploration of influencer marketing around the world, which he talks about a lot in the book. This is a global conversation and these issues apply around the world. Gordon Glenister is connecting those dots for us all today on the show.

Jason Falls
This episode of influence the podcast is sponsored by Julius. If you’ve read my book, you know I’ve depended on Julius for influencer discovery and campaign management for some time now. When I’m looking for the right influencer for my clients, Julius allows me to search across Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Twitch, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs and more. When I click into an influencers profile, I can see their audience demographics, what other networks they have reached through and quickly scan their recent posts to decide if they’re a right influencer for my brand. All the pieces of campaign management are there, too. Julius allows you to reach out, document contracts, share and approve influencer content, and of course measure the ROI of each campaign, influencer, or post. You owe it to your brand or agency to do a demo of Julius today. Go to jason.online/julius and request one that’s jason.online/julius.

Jason Falls
Taking a look at influencer marketing strategy from a global perspective. Gordon Glenister is next on Winfluence.

Jason Falls
Gordon, you come to the influencer marketing space from a background with associations, memberships and ambassador programs, if I recall correctly. Give us a little bit of that experience and how that led you to focus on influencer marketing.

Gordon Glenister
Yeah, thank you. It’s nice to be on the show as well, Jason. Actually, I used to be the director general of the British Promotional Merchandise Association for 11 years. So you’re absolutely right. My background is from the association world. And that was back in 2018 that I then this after 11 years decided to set my own consultancy business up which was to specialize in helping and supporting other trade associations. And I met up with an old friend of mine who ran the Branded Content Marketing Association. And we sat down in a London hotel and we said yeah, this is massive growth of influences influence marketing, we’ve got a bit of unrest in the media, they’re always getting a bit of a knocking. And, and I just said to Andrew, I said to him, who’s looking after these guys? Who’s representing the interests of the of the content creators. And you know, I’ve never heard the word wild west mentioned so many times. So I thought to myself, there’s going to be an opportunity for us to get because I’ve come from a background of representation. I thought, well, it’s gonna be an opportunity for us to do something here. So we’re going to create a separate, new association, and then we saw well, the Branded Content Marketing Association has been going for 16 years. We’ve got global brands in the membership. You know, we’re all about, I mean, in a way, influencer marketing is a form of branded content. So why don’t we create a separate division within that space?

Gordon Glenister
So that’s effectively what we do. And that was we actually launched the BCMA Influence back in July 2019. And it was at that time I went to one of the exhibitions, the marketing exhibitions, and and met up there was a store there for a booth store, from Kogan Page, which are a business publications. And I was just having a chat with them and telling them about what I was doing and, and had they got a representation book on influencer marketing. And just by chance, they didn’t. So I put together a synopsis. And, and then basically, then got the editor commissioning editor called me up and said, We like what we seen, would you like to come in and have a chat with us? One thing led to another and you know, a month after that, they sent me a publishing contract, which was like surreal. I’d been in the industry less than a year. And but I think what they also realized I was in quite a strong helicopter position. So I worked in a sort of promotional marketing space for some time. And I was in a position to engage and interview lots of people. So I always wanted this book that I’ve written to be about, you know, not just my own my own views around it, but actually the views of other thought leaders in the industry. And I hope I’ve, I hope I’ve sort of delivered that.

Gordon Glenister
But you mentioned also ambassador programs as well. I’m a great believer in that is definitely the future we’ve seen, we’ve seen trends now with major brands that start with campaigns. And then they realized that influencers connect with their brands in such an authentic way their followers like it. And And in a way, it is a great way to then develop those longer standing relationships that ultimately move into ambassadors. And, yeah, we’ve seen particularly in the clothing sector, the likes of boohoo and a sauce, you know, literally massive percentage of their marketing campaign is devoted to influencer marketing. And you know, when you start to see on the Instagram bios, you know, boohoo Ambassador, so I genuinely think this this deep, deep connection with a brand is what influencer marketing is all about less about one off short term campaigns.

Jason Falls
You know, we talked to Ranjan Roy a couple of weeks back from Adore Me, which is an online clothing retailer for women. And he reported that his company, which is a very data driven company, tried influencers from the more mid tier and mega influencer space, and they weren’t real happy with the results. So they shifted to that ambassador model where customers are given basically gift cards for posting on social media and their ROI is much better. Do you think the ambassador approach may one day take over is kind of the preferred way for brands to approach influencers?

Gordon Glenister
I do think it is. But you know why? Because the trust levels are significantly higher. We we tend to trust our friends that the highest element of a tear, don’t wait when we talk about a particular product. I mean, how many people when they look at Netflix now, they’re asking for recommendations as to what to watch. You know, we’ve got TripAdvisor, we now trust ratings more, but we trust it from people that we like first and foremost. But we do trust influencers that are authentic storytellers. So we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of them. But I do think all the evidence suggests that micro influencers, you know, those are less than 100,000 followers or even nano influencers less than 10,000 are where the shift has moved. That’s true.

Jason Falls
So your book does a really good job of breaking online influence down I was really happy when I read your definition of an influencer, because I think the often assumed definition is a starting point for a lot of confusion for brand, folks, why don’t you take us through your definition of an influencer? And then I’ll ask you a little bit more about it.

Gordon Glenister
Yeah, so I mean, basically, it’s it you know, this is nothing new. You know, I think people tend to think that influences our, you know, like, I often hear people say to me, or Mommy or Daddy, I want to be an influencer. I want to be a social media influencer. But you know what the reality is? Jason, if we go back years and years and years, I mean effectively, it’s it’s just word of mouth marketing. It’s using individuals and people to promote a product or service. You know, we shouldn’t overcomplicate it, that is what it’s about doing. But and yeah, so I think that’s what it is. I mean, look at Marlboro Man, you know, you look at the the milk tray man, you look at Ronald McDonald. I mean, these were sort of all individuals in the early days that we, that we connected to, you know, we connect to people we don’t always connect to you can’t have a relationship with an advert you can have a relationship with a person.

Jason Falls
That’s true. Now, in the in the book, I know that the def.., your definition is juxtaposed against I believe it’s a definition from Fashion Monitor, which says that it’s individuals who have amassed a trusted and engaged following online. The followers, though, aren’t the linchpin, though, and I love that your definition is really about people who can influence as opposed to people who just have followers?

Gordon Glenister
Yeah, no, it’s absolutely true. Because, again, you know, once upon a time, it was just about followers, it was about sheer size. And then we had all the fake follower issues and about, you know, how can they be trusted. Because it’s not about that it’s actually about those that are engaging with you. So that, you know, the professional influences are those that are responsive, understand their audience, and can connect in a way that because at the end of the day, that’s why, you know, when you want to run a campaign that influence so they want that to succeed just as much as you do as the brand. So, you know, it is and this is why I love when I hear about campaigns that have that have brought influences in early in the process, I as part of the creative element, rather than just using them as amplifiers. You know, there’s, there’s a bit of research that we that I managed to get along the way that something like 65% of brands that reach try to connect on direct message to influencers don’t get a response. And that’s very high. And a lot of the time, it’s because they’ve not really bothered to understand what that influencer is all about. They’ve not bothered to the time to like or comment or build a bit of a relationship. There’s just an assumption that I’ve got a product if is a free thing, that they’re going to push it out, well, maybe not, you know, at the end of the day, it’s about trying to build a relationship that aligns with their brand. And that’s what a good, that’s what a good or good brand who wants to do because they want to make that match work effectively.

Jason Falls
That’s right. You know, I you touched on this briefly, but I want to go into a little bit more. I love the time you spend in your book, helping people understand the legal and ethical implications of influencer marketing, one set of ideas, you share their center around being able to detect fraudulent behavior, from influencers in terms of inauthentic growth, you know, engagement and the like, how much of the industry out there do you think is actually engaging intentionally in fraudulent behavior? If you listen to the mainstream media, you’d think it was almost all influencers are faking it, but how big of a problem do you think it actually is?

Gordon Glenister
Well,I think it is gotten better, because of lots of the technology that we now that we’ve now got in place to assess that. But it’s still out there. I think, you know, like the average of the FSA, the Advertising Standards Authority, and some of the FTC rather, some of the other regulators, I think what would make a big difference is if we had a few more landmark landmark cases of individual influences that are stepping over the line, because I think that was sent a bit of a shudder. I don’t want that to happen. But what I don’t want is the people that are doing it correctly, that are using the right ad, the advertising disclosures that are not buying followers in any shape, or form. We should be, you know, supporting those and always promoting consistently best practice all of the time. I mean, the bcma that, that I’m involved with, and we’re just in the process of finalizing a set of industry best practice guidelines. And we advocate always that these these, these proper standards should be in place. I think a lot of it if I’m really honest, Jason is through ignorance. And what we’ve got to try and do is we’ve got to try and encourage the the talent agencies, we’ve got to try and encourage the big brands that embrace this to be the leaders so that it sort of cascades down. I mean, in the early days, you didn’t see much in the form of hashtag ad, but now consumers are now starting to see more of that in play. But yeah, I mean, It’s a whole manner of things. I mean, it’s all about education fundamentally.

Jason Falls
Yeah, I think the consumers now more are more apt, I think, to call out influencers who aren’t disclosing because everyone sort of alert to the fact that it has to be there, which is great. So the book really is it’s it’s influencer marketing strategy. It’s a book that is a really a how to guide for influencer marketing. You talk about the various social platforms, and how influencers impact those, then you break down how to build a strategy. There’s the the ambassador piece in there, but when you when you look at influencer marketing in various parts of the world in there as well, I wonder, what did you learn or discover from around the world best practices? And what people are doing in influencer marketing? That maybe you didn’t know? Or we haven’t really thought of before?

Gordon Glenister
That’s a really good question. And one of the things that did fascinate me was the impact of culture. So when you’re running a campaign, just because you are, it works very well, in Western society, it may not work as well, in other cultures. So this is the another benefit with working with, you know, influencer agencies or platforms that have this, you know, this local knowledge. So if you if you wanted to run out a global campaign, as many brands do, it would, it would, you know, let’s just take, I don’t know, the Middle East, for example, it would make sense to use people that understand you want to influence you know, people from that part of the world, you want to have somebody that connects with that audience, and actually tells the story of your brand, it may be slightly a different way, but is congruent to the see overall success of the campaign. It’s another reason why I love working with influencers, because what what you see in some of the content that comes back is just or inspiring, you know, the photography, the videography, you know, the use of drones, the use of, you know, technology, and this is this is one thing, and I’m sure I mentioned it in the book is The how multi talented some of these individuals are, you know, they’re not just community builders, they’re photographers, often their videographers, their editors, their location scouts, they’re designers, they’re web builders, that email marketers, all in either one person or in a small team of people. You know, I start to see, you know, influences at the age of 24, 23 that have done a TikTok series and amassed, you know, 24 million views. You see, like Ryan’s Toys, the infamous little youngster that made $22 million, I think in 2019. And then you have like the yacht guy, an individual that just loves super yachts, and his whole channel is devoted to that niche. And the the yachts, the big yacht brand started to realize, hey, this guy’s got something here, we ought to invite him into our parties into the show. So he gave he got gave the whole world an insight really, really well is keep it tight, keep it niche. Super Blondie another another lady, that’s Australian lady then if you’ve heard of her, but she’s got like about 8 million Aarthi on YouTube. And she just specializes in, in sharing video content around supercars. But she just add so much enthusiasm with top of the range cars, buttons that do this. And it’s it all comes back to storytelling. And that’s what I love about this. You just wouldn’t get that in some of the traditional forms of advertising.

Jason Falls
That’s true. Is there any one region or country that seems to be doing influencer marketing exceptionally well, any that stand out from the others?

Gordon Glenister
Well, I tell you, what I was fascinated with is China, because China actually is often reputed to be well ahead of influencer marketing in comparison to the rest rest of the world, particularly when it comes to co creation of products. So again, another fabulous story was Becky Li. Then if you know Becky Li, but she famously sold 150 though she said 100 Minis bring them 100 Minis in five minutes. Yeah, 100 Minis. in five minutes. So her blog when it went live. Literally there were so many people that just snapped up these limited edition minutes. Yeah. But no, just going back to co creation of products. So I think that’s a really interesting trend where the influences are less now involved in it. certification, they’re going to be a lot more involved in co-creation of their, their own their own brands and their own products. This is where they’re working with, let’s just say a fashion brand or an apparel apparel supplier. Because the power supply wants the audience, the influence has the audience. But you know, because it’s at source, it’s just a fantastic way because we’ve seen the growth of e commerce, haven’t we over the last few years, particularly during the pandemic? So, yeah, so I think China has definitely excited me. And the other area of expansion is Brazil. If you’ve have a million subscribers on your YouTube channel in Brazil, you’re like, small fry. So they are they’re fanatics. The Brazilians about this, so I’m, I’m, I’m gonna see America is huge in it embraced it many years ago, but I was particularly fascinated by by China and Brazil.

Jason Falls
That’s interesting. I’ve, I’ve seen I wrote a one case study in my book, I wrote about Dettol, the cleaning supply company that are the cleaning company, a brand that did an influencer outreach in China, and they reached out to 4000 mom, influencers. And I did the math real quick. And I was like, Okay, yeah, that the statistics run through that accom a country with you know, 1.8 billion people or whatever it is, can have 4,000 mom influencers? I guess so I was always impressed with with, with the the numbers that China can produce with a lot more people. So that makes sense. Yeah. So while we’re talking about the difference in countries, I’ve got this kind of running, you know, question that I asked some people who might have insight into it, and I think you do. I’ve got this hunch that I’ve had for many years, since you think about this statement, public relations and communications in the United Kingdom is more sophisticated and higher level than that of the same in the US agree or not, and why?

Gordon Glenister
Maybe? I think it’s our, our PR industry. I mean, we’ve had this discussion, sometimes about where influencer marketing sits, does it? Does it actually sit within the marketing role? Or does it sit within a PR role? And while I was asking, I was asking a number of people actually, that I have different, different opinions. And so I think, I think generally, yes, the PR community is very professional. In the UK. I mean, it’s a trained profession, you know, the the public relations and communications Association and the charging of public relations. Both are good connections of mine. And I know that they invest a lot in, in in the profession and education. So and obviously, it’s very well connected with influencer marketing anyway. It’s a big part of what that that industry does.

Jason Falls
The reason I ask is because I always get the feeling that the British understanding of public relations is far more, I guess, academic, or maybe even elegant than that. That is practiced in America. I’ve had a couple people validate that thinking, I’ve had a couple people disagree with me on that it’s mostly the Americans who disagree, of course. But I don’t know, I just I’ve just always wondered why that is. I don’t know. I don’t really know what the differences are our mutual friend, Alisair Wheate. Actually, I asked him that question. And because he had worked at Cision, and is in Great Britain, so he was working with a global company that was doing public relations services for people. He said, You know, there is a tendency for American PR professionals to just write a press release and blast it out. And that would never fly in the United Kingdom, as much more know much more about the relationship there.

Gordon Glenister
Oh, absolutely. No, so it’s first of all, and we we would argue, you have to sell the story in, you have to sell it in it’s not like, I mean, nowadays, if you certainly if you send out a press release or an email, a lot of journalists won’t, won’t even look at it, you know, it is totally about building a relationship. And that, you know, I was mentioning that earlier wasn’t when you’re connected with influences, and how important it is to, to connect with them before necessarily engaging them and outreaching to them, you know, like their, like their posts, perhaps add a comment. And when you do make that outreach, you know, have a conversation with them that says, I’m really impressed by what you’ve been doing. I love to find a way where we can connect together. I’ve got some ideas that I’d like to run past, you know, something that’s much more supportive rather than, you know, would you like to sell my product and I’ll give you 10% discount or something. Because they don’t do that. And that’s the point. There’s no, you know, and that’s why they get a rebuff, because they’re not, there’s not, there’s not the finesse that you would have if you were trying to build a relationship. So yeah, interesting question, though.

Jason Falls
I like the word finesse. I think that I think I could probably get away with convincing some of my American counterparts that the British public relations professionals have a bit more finesse. I think they might agree to that. That’s Yeah. Gordon, where can people find the book? And where can they connect with you online?

Gordon Glenister
So you can buy the book on Amazon, and other leading bookstores? And, and my website is GordonGlenister.com, where you can find all about it there. And yeah, it’s been an absolute pleasure to spend some time with you today.

Jason Falls
Well, thank you, Gordon and great wor… great work on the book. Thank you for including me in there for a comment or two and and thanks for coming today to share some insights with us on the show.

Gordon Glenister
Bless you. Thanks, oh so much.

Transcribed by otter.ai

The Winfluence theme music is “One More Look” featuring Jacquire King and Stephan Sharp by The K Club found on Facebook Sound Collection.


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