BRAND SAFETY & THE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS SCANDAL
Updated: Nov 14, 2019
how to protect your brand
What do you do when your influencer gets caught in the worst college admissions scandal in the nation?
As a CMO, you are always evaluating the risk that comes with your marketing objectives. You are balancing the desires of all stakeholders, and various internal teams, including legal. However when it comes to a channel like influencer, where you are putting your brand voice in the hands of one or more creators, how do you maintain control over possible risks like the college admissions scandal?
Relationships are critical. Influencer marketing succeeds when relationships between the brand and the influencer are strong because the lines of communication are always open, and the partnership will usually encompass more than just the one piece of content you are worried about. In other words, influencers will be responsive to your concerns because they care about your relationship and the future of your business partnership. At The Outloud Group, the majority of campaigns we work on use influencers that we have a long-term relationship with — brands that work with us have access to this relationship which may be the most valuable asset you can have in terms of damage control.
Take Down Rights. These are incredibly difficult to negotiate, but we always recommend that brands allow us to include this in influencer contracts. We insert a morals clause that allows brands the right to remove their content from the influencers’ videos if a host reflects badly on the brand in the future (protecting against a situation like the college admissions scandal). This can mean removing the video entirely if it is a dedicated video or requiring the influencer to delete the clip(s) that include the integration mentioning the brand.
Always ask for previews. Most of the time, you can control for damage before the content goes out. As an agency, we spend time vetting and reviewing the content before it goes live to ensure your brand is safe. This is something we highly recommend when using any influencer option (DIY, Platform, or Agency).
Ultimately, no matter what contracts you create, relationships are the key to protecting your brand in damage control situations. We suggest that you make these strong relationships directly with the influencer(s) on all of your campaigns, or work with an agency that gives you access to hundreds of long-term influencer relationships right off the bat.