‘Influencer Relations’ – a new term for an old industry
Louie St Claire
16 May 2017
Every couple of months here at Harvard we run what we call a Comms Confessional. A dinner where we ask around a dozen PR, communications or marketing professionals to spend an evening with us where we talk about some of the issues of the day. Last week we circled in on Influencer Relations (as opposed to Influencer Marketing, the difference is best described here in Onalytica’s report on it), because we’re getting asked about it a lot more than normal from both clients and in new business briefs. Needless to say, it was another robust conversation. We agreed that Influencer Relations is a natural extension to the PR realm. If you’re a brand looking to improve reputation and/or awareness, create brand advocacy and build a long-term strategy, then Influencer Relations is probably for you. Where there was some serious frustration in the room is around the fact that most PR people think that they are doing this already. None of the core fundamentals of creating strong, authentic and trusted relationships have changed, whatever your audience, from the media to think tanks, government to academics. However, what has changed is the myriad ways in which influencers, whoever and wherever they may be, can be mapped and reached in order to achieve a set of communications objectives or solve a series of challenges. Where all of our guests were very insightful was a simple approach on how to approach influencers in the first place. For me this has become best practice in PR nowadays, regardless of what we call it.