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Brand Claims Influencer Marketing Can be IPO Risk

January 13, 2020
January 13, 2020 Tami Nealy

Brand Claims Influencer Marketing Can be IPO Risk

Have you seen the news that Casper, the mattress company, has filed for their Initial Public Offering  (IPO)? Great, but so what? In the S-1 they filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Casper identified influencer marketing as a possible risk to investors.

According to their prospectus,  “influencers…may materially and adversely affect our reputation or subject us to fines or other penalties.”

Influencer Created Content

When contracting with influencers, brands can require a review and approval of an influencer’s content before it goes live.

Casper is correct in stating that their current influencer work poses risks. In a quick search on Instagram, it was easy to find content that wouldn’t be brand-safe for any household brand. One post I found had more than 4,500 likes and I was too embarrassed to even show my colleagues. It is likely that no one from Casper had eyes on the image before it went live.

In their filing Casper states: “Influencers with whom we maintain relationships could also engage in behavior or use their platforms to communicate directly with our customers in a manner that reflects poorly on our brand and may be attributed to us or otherwise adversely affect us.” 

Influencer Marketing Strategies

Influencer marketing is NOT the wild west. When properly managed, the most successful influencer marketing campaigns drive key performance indicators (KPI) for brands. However, campaign management is critical. 

From what Casper outlined in their S-1, it does not imply they have any management of their influencer programs:

“In addition, an increase in the use of social media for marketing may cause an increase in the burden on us to monitor compliance of such materials, and increase the risk that such materials could contain problematic product or marketing claims in violation of applicable regulations. For example, in some cases, the Federal Trade Commission, or the FTC, has sought enforcement action where an endorsement has failed to clearly and conspicuously disclose a material relationship between an influencer and an advertiser. While we ask influencers to comply with the FTC regulations and our guidelines, we do not regularly monitor what our influencers post, and if we were held responsible for the content of their posts, we could be forced to alter our practices, which could have material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.”

Whether executing in-house or leveraging an influencer marketing platform, campaign briefs, brand guidelines and proper disclosure are the guard rails that guide influencer success. Influencers still need to be empowered to use their voice to create authentic content, but identifying up front what is and is not acceptable has proven effective by many brands executing influencer campaigns.

Influencer Marketing Platforms

Leveraging an influencer technology platform (like Find Your Influence) can help identify the ideal influencers to ensure brand-safe alignment.

Going back to the S-1 filed by Casper on January 10, 2020, they disclose maintaining “relationships with thousands of social media influencers and engage in sponsorship initiatives” and also indicate that they do not monitor influencer posts. This leads the reader to believe that they are not effectively leveraging an influencer marketing platform to manage influencer programs.

Some of the most successful influencer marketing campaigns rely on influencer marketing solutions like Find Your Influence (FYI).The FYI technology allows brands to identify influencers, launch campaigns, track performance and report results. FYI also offers a Managed Services division to aid brands and agencies that don’t have bandwidth to execute these campaigns at the highest level. Find Your Influence is driven to remaining ahead of the curve in advancing technologies and innovation applications with a dedicated in-house technology team. 

Influencer marketing doesn’t have to be a risk within a company’s S-1 filing. Instead, develop a strategy to manage influencers and their content and let the campaigns deliver rewards instead.

 

Find Your Influence does not currently and has not previously worked with Casper Sleep on any influencer campaigns. 

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