Why Did Keith Weed Pivot On Influencers?

A year ago, in Cannes, Unilever's marketing boss, Keith Weed, was sceptical about influencer marketing, warning the industry that the sector needed to be cleared up. This week it emerged that an influencer agency, Tribe, is his first investment since leaving Unilever at the end of April.

There's a very obvious turnaround here, but at the heart of it lies the key to salvation for influencers. It's pretty clear that according to a report in The Drum, Weed sees Tribe as a decent platform that ensures people are not followed by fake accounts. Take the bots and the tricks out of influencer marketing and it can be better trusted.

What is also clear is his belief that if campaigns get low engagement, it's either a case of the influencer not having much influence, the campaign not being very good or the influencer having influence with people who are not interested in that particular brand.

It's a good point. Nobody burns down poster sites because an outdoor campaign hasn't performed well. Instead, they look at why and learn.

That seems to be the thrust behind why Weed is willing to trust influencer marketing enough to make an angel investment for an undisclosed sum.

However, perhaps the more interesting part is why this trust, for platforms that weed out rogue players, turned into an investment. Here we meet our old friend speed of content. Any executive will know getting content strategised, creative approved and campaigns planned, bought and running can take weeks. With influencers it's far more fluid than that.

In fact, Weed recalls a Halloween influencer campaign that was briefed on a Wednesday and then already had content running two days later. 

Clearly, "content velocity," as it used to be called, is back in high demand and agencies and in-house teams are admitting that sometimes influencers -- who know their audiences inside out -- are the best to provide it. 

I'd suggest this isn't a vote of confidence in the entire niche but what we're seeing here is that influencers on decent platforms are a fast-moving option that can word out on the proverbial street before a creative in Soho has sharpened their pencil. 

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