Influencer marketing agency The Remarkables Group has made the bold decision to phase out their representation of influencers and move into a strategic specialist model that will allow them to be more objective with their clients.
The move comes in what founder and managing director Lorraine Murphy calls a “pioneering chapter” for the influencer market, where transparency and objectivity are paramount and at the same time difficult to achieve within a fragmenting space.
Murphy published an open letter this morning on the Remarkables website, which you can read in full at the bottom of this article, explaining her company’s decision to cease representation of influencers and move into a strategic specialist role within the influencer space.
“We have made the major and difficult decision to wind down the representation part of the business to focus on building what will be the first specialist influencer strategy agency in this market,” Murphy said in her open letter.
“We will be working with each of the [influencers] to ensure a smooth transition that will minimise the interruption to their businesses, and support them in finding the right representation solution for them. The representation side of The Remarkables Group will be wound down by the end of 2016.
“In the 4.5 years since we launched, the influencer space has evolved and matured significantly, with marketers now having a far greater understanding of the power of influencer marketing. To meet this need many new players have since entered the market offering various solutions.
“The influencer industry has now evolved to such a point that a new business model is called for. We believe that brands and influencers can be best served by a model that provides unbiased, independent advice to brands that will lead them through this rapidly-developing area.
“We are already in discussions with brands to manage their overall influencer strategy, which will include a full audit of past activity, consultancy with their teams and agencies, mapping a strategic direction for influencer marketing, implementing that strategy and providing detailed success metrics.”
Speaking to B&T on the news, Murphy added that this has been something her and her team have been considering for a while, given the conversations they’ve had both with existing clients and with other brands in their wider network, many of whom had said the current method of using influencers was “a headache”.
Murphy admitted she hoped that she could take her new solution to these brands and sign them on as clients, citing how the new model would resolve their influencer marketing challenges.
“We currently work with about 20 different brands at any one time, so I see this operating by working with less brands but going deeper with each of them,” Murphy said.
“We’ve also had conversations with existing clients and they’ve been positive about that too.”
Read Lorraine Murphy’s open letter in full:
Way back in May 2012, The Remarkables Group was the first influencer representation agency in the Australian market… and now it’s time to pioneer again to meet the changing needs of our clients.
Representing a boutique group of influencers exclusively has been an excellent business model, and in doing so we have had the privilege of working with a diverse and talented group of influencers and fostered close partnerships with them.
We have also built a client list that I could only dream of when starting out; including Woolworths, Qantas, Toyota, Bupa, L’Oreal, Nestle, Nissan, Schwarzkopf, Origin and Priceline – not to mention partnering with the leading creative/media/PR/digital/content agencies in the market.
In the 4.5 years since we launched, the influencer space has evolved and matured significantly, with marketers now having a far greater understanding of the power of influencer marketing. To meet this need many new players have since entered the market offering various solutions.
The influencer industry has now evolved to such a point that a new business model is called for. We believe that brands and influencers can be best served by a model that provides unbiased, independent advice to brands that will lead them through this rapidly-developing area. During my time at Naked Communications, I saw the value firsthand that an agnostic expert could bring in a new yet maturing media landscape, and we are now setting about creating a similar model specific to influencer marketing.
There is some truly excellent influencer marketing work being done and I believe the future is bright for this space. At the same time – and as with any rapidly commoditised space – there are problems; problems that we have observed firsthand and that our new model will address.
We are frequently briefed by multiple agencies on the same campaign for the same brand – e.g.: by the media agency and PR agency. This double-handling results in wasted budget and time for the brand. Our new model will enable us to bring our expertise as the lead agency on influencer strategy, and work in partnership with brands’ agencies to fully integrate the influencer element across the entire comms strategy.
Navigating the fragmenting and evolving influencer space
A second challenge is knowing who actually has influence. Vetting potential influencers for brand partnerships can be difficult, and we have learned that the right fit is the bedrock of whether a partnership will fly – or crash and burn. When my business launched in 2012, the primary channels were blogs and Facebook. Now we have almost a dozen core channels; including Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube – not to mention the increasing complexity of each individual platform. We have also learned that the traditionally accepted stats don’t always tell the full story. Drawing on our knowledge of hundreds of influencers in Australia, we can objectively guide brands to partnerships with those who will perform best against their objectives.
A third challenge is the vast disparities between deliverables – there is no consistent measure for what constitutes a successful campaign, and what constitutes a disastrous one. With this new model we will draw on our considerable experience on setting success benchmarks and will guarantee outcomes to brands.
Yet another challenge is the industry’s concerns on a lack of transparency. Brands should expect full visibility on reach, fees and results. There is an increasing move towards transparency in media and publishing, and brands should have the right questions asked on the influencer activity being considered.
We have explored various scenarios that could allow us to provide this strategic offer to brands while also continuing to represent the influencers we have built such strong relationships with. Ultimately, we realised that in order to provide unbiased advice, we need to be unbiased.
As a result, we have made the major and difficult decision to wind down the representation part of the business to focus on building what will be the first specialist influencer strategy agency in this market.
Over the last week, I have met in person with the influencers in our group in various states to discuss this new direction with them. They have been very supportive and encouraging, which I am extremely grateful for. We will be working with each of them to ensure a smooth transition that will minimise the interruption to their businesses, and support them in finding the right representation solution for them. The representation side of The Remarkables Group will be wound down by the end of 2016.
We are already in discussions with brands to manage their overall influencer strategy, which will include a full audit of past activity, consultancy with their teams and agencies, mapping a strategic direction for influencer marketing, implementing that strategy and providing detailed success metrics.
We will continue to operate the Rising Soci@l Star Talent Search and Remarkable Pets.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to our team, our influencers and our clients – without whom we would not be where we are today.
I am more excited and optimistic than ever about the influencer marketing space in Australia, and look forward to the next pioneering chapter of The Remarkables Group.
Lorraine Murphy, Founder & Managing Director – The Remarkables Group”
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