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The Value of Long-Term Influencer Partnerships

In its youth, influencer marketing was a poorly understood marketing tactic with no coherent strategy and a “free-for-all” mentality. Companies were only just beginning to realize that promotions & reviews from popular internet personalities could generate some buzz, but were still uncertain of just how effective it could be. Since then, influencer marketing has evolved into one of the most powerful ways for brands to reach and engage with potential customers and grow their business. 

In today’s market, talented content creators are everywhere, and their audiences range in size, demographics, and loyalty. As the number of high quality creators continues to grow, research is showing that marketing budgets for influencer partnerships are scaling up accordingly. This space in the digital sphere isn’t exactly intuitive, though — it involves a great deal of strategy, especially as more high quality influencers emerge and consumers become smarter. 

Now that influencer marketing tactics are becoming vital in brand marketing plans, we are seeing more deliberate approaches come into play. Ultimately, influencer marketing is about building real relationships and creating brand awareness & loyalty, which is why the best campaigns are long-term partnerships or ‘always-on’ ambassadorships. The entire industry is gearing towards this approach, which – if executed successfully – leads to drastic increases in brand ROIs over time.

As you can see, there are a lot of benefits to longer-term partnerships — so here are our Top 5:

  1. Trust
    It’s obvious when a trusted influencer genuinely likes a brand and its products. Both the influencer & the brand, in turn, gain more credibility as it becomes clear the brand has at least one honest fan – and both are seen as more trustworthy.  
  2. Content Alignment
    Say you’re the head of marketing at a brand, and you partner with 4 influencers for a year-long collaboration. Each creator will be sent the latest products before they launch, creating content 3 times a month that directly aligns with your brand’s sales and marketing calendars. By the end of the year, you’ll have 144 pieces of content created specifically for your brand. 
  3. Simplified Money Management
    Has anyone ever had dozens of invoices to deal with at once? Yeah, it’s stressful. Each influencer has a different rate for a one-time collaboration, and the more influencers you partner with, the more invoices you have to deal with. With long-term partnerships, there’s an opportunity to set up a simpler payment process that can benefit both the brand and the creator.
  4. Brand Awareness and Brand Loyalty 
    The more times audiences see the name of a brand, the more likely they are to at least check out their social media and/or website. If they are loyal followers of one of their long-term partners, chances are, they’ll associate that sense of loyalty to their favorite influencer with loyalty to the brand.
  5. Creative Freedom
    The longer the partnership lasts, the more the content creator(s) will get a sense of a brand’s voice, tone, style, and products. This will allow the creator to maintain their own individual style and continue to engage their own audience, while also creating specific content for the brand that will engage their consumers.

Finally, here are 5 long-term partnerships we’ve seen and love.

  1. @weworewhat x @fijiwater
  2. @brendanrobinson x @smiledirectclub
  3.  @jay.rox x @eosproducts
  4. @heykayadams x @olay 
  5. @yourgirlneens x @converse
@weworewhat x @fijiwater

WeWoreWhat’s Danielle Bernstein teamed up with FIJI Water in 2017 to launch a fitness program called BodyWoreWhat, where FIJI jumped at the opportunity to provide hydration to her first consumers. FIJI created content for an ad campaign where users could sign up for BodyWoreWhat and receive a 25% discount on FIJI’s home delivery orders. FIJI and BodyWoreWhat’s partnership aligned well due to their shared overarching commitment to fitness and wellness. The campaign generated some serious buzz on the internet, promoting both FIJI as well as Danielle’s new program. Her relationship with FIJI has now spanned three years — and counting.
@brendanrobinson x @smiledirectclub

Brendan Robinson, a FamePick user, has documented his several month-long journey with SmileDirectClub. SmileDirectClub’s strategy stands out because there is a tangible air of authenticity in their campaigns. As with most partnerships, Brendan’s series of promotional posts is paid, but it’s obvious he actually uses – and believes in – the product.
 @jay.rox x @eosproducts
EOS took a really unique, and really successful, approach. They turned to 19 influencers who helped co-create six new lip balm flavors. All 19 of the content creators were already trusted, long-term EOS partners; so this opportunity was one they were thrilled to take — and promote!
@heykayadams x @olay 

Olay’s #FaceAnything campaign caught our eye over a year ago because it came across as truly authentic. The campaign focused on a handful of female influencers, who encouraged women to be “unapologetically” themselves. Overall, the campaign reached over 21 million Instagram users, with an overall engagement rate of 8.33%. What we loved about it was that Olay partners like @heykayadams updated their progress throughout the event, showing followers that results could actually be seen from a 28-Day Olay routine.

@yourgirlneens x @converse

What we love about this long-term partnership is that in each post @yourgirlneens makes for @converse, she reminds her audience of the loyalty Converse has shown her! Brands can support creators just as much as creators can support brands, and that’s exactly the kind of mutual relationship that allows both parties to reap incredible rewards.