In a move to fight fake followers, bots, fraud or dishonest business models that erode trust in the ecosystem, Unilever CMO Keith Weed yesterday announced the company’s plans to support and maintain the authenticity and trust of influencer marketing.
“In February, I said we needed to rebuild trust back into our digital ecosystems and wider society,” he said. “One of the ways we can do that is to increase integrity and transparency in the influencer space. We need to address this through responsible content, responsible platforms and responsible infrastructure.”
Weed’s three-fold approach involves cleaning up the influencer ecosystem by removing misleading engagement; making brands and influencers more aware of the use of dishonest practices; and improving transparency from social platforms to help brands measure impact. The business confirmed commitments to not work with influencers who buy followers, never buy followers and prioritise partners who increase transparency and help eradicate bad practices.
“We believe influencers are an important way to reach consumers and grow our brands. Their power comes from a deep, authentic and direct connection with people, but certain practices like buying followers can easily undermine these relationships,” he said. “We need to take urgent action now to rebuild trust before it’s gone forever.”
At this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Weed will convene a group including the World Federation of Advertisers, Instagram and Richard Edelman to partner in leading the industry to bring increased trust, transparency and integrity in the influencer space.