Managing creators’ expectations when working with well-known brands

Managing creators’ expectations when working with well-known brands

A big brand name brings high levels of enthusiasm from creators - but also high expectations. Here are some tips on the best ways to manage those throughout the campaign process. 

Successful brands are sewn into the seams of our culture. Their names become immediately recognisable on a national, and sometimes even international scale. When a creator gets singled out to be a part of that brand’s influencer marketing campaign, it can be a pinch-me moment. Whether it’s a micro-influencer just starting out or a social media veteran, the sight of a familiar and famous name ignites excitement. 

It is in these moments that influencers come into their own. The clear authenticity, pride and enthusiasm for the collaboration is palpable across the screen and often turns into high engagement and impressive conversions. 

However, with that big name comes a reputation and also a set of expectations from the creator. But how do we navigate this to ensure the campaign is a success?

Transparency helps diffuse the temptation to inflate fees

Many creators would be forgiven for assuming that a well-known brand with a huge reputation is likely to have a bigger budget. They would also be forgiven for wanting to take advantage of this. Despite the increase in the creator economy, a creator's individual income can be unstable through changing interest from brands, platforms switching up their algorithms, and the usual fluctuation of views. According to The Influencer Marketing Hub, creators will often set their rates “based on what brands will pay”; so, if they think brands have more to spend, why not try their luck?

However, every brand is different, so using the negotiation period to communicate what can realistically be offered is the only way to readjust those expectations. By taking the time to be more transparent with creators, you are showing them a level of trust that they will appreciate. This is especially true for newer creators, who may be without management and have not figured out their financial worth. 

By understanding why creators may have these expectations with a bigger brand, we can work with them to find a fee that will work for both them and the client. 

Clear deadlines for longer approval time and exclusivity

At Digital Voices, we value creators’ time as much as we value our clients’ time. Setting clear deadlines that fit into the brand’s projected timeline, as well as a creator’s posting schedule, is vital for managing expectations from both sides. 

Many of these big-name brands are large companies, which often leads to longer approval times (as the creator’s content needs to be approved by multiple teams!). By making creators aware of this from the beginning, and factoring in time for them to make amends to their content, we show that we respect their time. It is through open communication that we build long-lasting relationships with creators so they always know where they stand. 

By creating and maintaining these relationships through clear deadlines, we are able to provide a smoother process throughout the campaign. If delays arise, our history with creators means they’ll have a greater understanding as we try to resolve it. This takes the stress off brands, allowing us to work collaboratively and proactively with the creator to make the campaign a success. 

Clarifying what is required for brand safety 

When working with brands that have huge, sometimes global reputations, it is essential for a creator’s content to be brand safe. We vet every creator before reaching out to them, to see if they have been subject to any controversy or engaged in any hate speech or criminal activity. This protects the brand’s image and ensures brand safety, as it prevents them from being associated with creators that have committed crimes. 

In addition to this, brands have their own personal brand safety concerns. This will differ from client to client based on their public image and target audience. For example, a child-focused brand is likely to want to avoid creators that endorse alcohol on their profile - or, at the very least, avoid having it in the frame during sponsored content.

While some requirements may seem old-fashioned, such as keeping tattoos covered; others will be more straightforward, like avoiding foul language in the branded content. Stating requirements from the beginning will enable creators to know where they stand, and if there’s an issue and a concern for authenticity, they can reject the campaign. This allows us time to find a replacement creator. With authenticity being at the heart of what makes influencer marketing work, we must appreciate these principles and realise it makes the industry what it is. 

Embrace the excitement

The opportunity for creators to work with well-known brands that they love is a privilege and, sometimes, a dream come true. Their enthusiasm is always reflected in high-quality content, with some creators even creating and providing multiple content options for brands to choose from, - showing trust in their opinion and desire to impress.

It’s important we work hard to ensure the expectations of the creator are managed through clear and open communication at all times. Providing creator briefs that are both thorough and digestible enables the creator to produce the best content possible within the timeframe, and their expectations remain in check throughout the process, as they have something to reference. 

Similarly, we conduct onboarding calls with creators to chat through the creator brief and provide an opportunity for them to ask any questions. This means we’re aligned before production has begun, avoiding any misinterpretations of the brief and the need for extensive amendments later down the line. Through this process, we can ensure that the creator is making exactly the kind of content that the brand is looking or, while keeping it authentic to their usual style. 

Overall, being honest and managing expectations with both the creator and the client shows mutual respect for their work and ultimately produces the best results! 

If you’re a creator and would like to receive more brand collaborations, please get in touch to join our Creator Voices scheme. 

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