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What is influence?

Published Apr 15, 2021 – By Martin MacConnol


What is it to be an influencer in 2021? How should marketers use them in their campaigns? What are the opportunities and pitfalls?

These were some of the questions that we explored in our latest Global Voices webinar which brought together agency leaders from the US, Canada, India and the UK.

The thing that became immediately clear is that the term influencer has been around a long time. We see it as a social media phenomenon, but actually it stands apart. In its crudest sense, of being someone who persuades an audience to buy a product, it would be hard to argue that the UK monarchs haven’t been influencers since the 15th century and the introduction of the Royal Warrant for goods and services.

Global voices - Beyond the hype: Global insights on the role of influencers from Wardour on Vimeo.

In the Wardour world, which has a large focus on business-to-business and finance, we don’t use influencers in the way some of our more consumer-focused colleagues do. It’s not an environment which encourages individuals to go it alone on social media and promote products and services.

That’s not to say we don’t work with influencers: we do and have done for a long time. It’s just that now they have a buzz-word name-tag.  But for us influencers have always been the experts and commentators that we commission to add credibility and insight to a subject relevant to a brand and its audience. But for us and with our clients, we tend to want to keep our ‘influencers’ on a tighter rein by being really clear when we commission them.

If you are working in the B2B space here are a few tips to help you think about a possible influencer marketing programme.

1. It’s unlikely to be a standalone programme. Realistically influencer marketing in B2B will be an output of other campaign activity. For instance, if you have an event coming up could you invite influential people to attend and promote?

2. Our biggest influencers remain the independent expert voices and commentators we commission to add third party insight and expertise to a brand’s messaging and positioning. Don’t forget them, you probably have more ‘warm’ influencers on your books than you realise.

3. When choosing such commentators check what their activity on social media is. Do they have followers who would be useful to your campaign? Pick experts who do otherwise you are minimising the power of your spend.

4. When you commission be clear about your expectations. Say that as well as wanting them to be filmed or interviewed you want them to promote the content to their own audiences. Specify how this will work, what you will be doing as a brand and for them – and what you want them to do: remember good contracts make good relationships.

5. Look inside your own organisation too. Your CEO maybe an influencer without you knowing it. One of our clients has a following of 222,000. When he writes a blog, his sector takes note. Harness the power of your team.


Global Voices is a collective brought to you by SJC in Toronto, Wardour in London, Imprint in New York and Teammagenta in Mumbai that has been formed to globally share best-practice, insight and inspiration from the world of content marketing. The collective aims to encourage collaboration and welcomes voices from other agencies, marketers, audiences and content makers.

This webinar brought together Andy Seibert, managing partner of Imprint in New York, Jacqueline Loch, client innovation lead at SJC Content in Toronto, Munni Trivedi of Teammagenta in Delhi and myself, usually of Wardour in London, but currently sitting in a home office in Wiltshire.

To learn more about how Wardour can help with your next campaign, pop us an email at hello@wardour.co.uk – we’d love to have a chat with you.

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