Learn to Pick the Right Influencer for Your Brand with a PR Strategist's Help

Learn to Pick the Right Influencer for Your Brand with a PR Strategist's Help

Interview by Vianca Meyer
Published: February 26, 2024

To achieve lasting success in marketing and PR, a holistic strategy is essential to achieve sustained brand growth, authentic engagement, and strategic partnerships.

Recent statistics reveal that 70% of marketers consider social media campaigns the most effective PR tactic, while 47% of them utilize sponsorships, brand partnerships, and influencer collaborations equally.

The role of AI enhances marketing efforts, with 81% of marketers finding generative AI content performs as well as or better than human-created content, emphasizing the need to embrace technological advancements.

But how does all this play into holistic marketing and PR?

Let’s find out with the help of PR strategist Leslie Licano.

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Who is Leslie Licano?

Leslie, the co-founder and CEO of Beyond Fifteen Communications, has a track record of spotlighting individuals and companies as trendsetters and innovators. She leads her team with high-concept thinking and serves as the chief counsel to a diverse range of clients.

According to Leslie, success in marketing and PR lies in moving beyond short-lived moments of fame toward establishing enduring brand recognition, emphasizing the importance of crafting integrated marketing strategies that capture attention and build lasting credibility with the target audience.

"Success lies not only in grabbing attention but sustaining it. We’re all about taking clients beyond their 15 minutes of fame to lasting recognition."

"Long-term success is more than just a flash in the pan."

"It’s about deploying the right mix of strategies and tactics to transform those blink-of-an-eye moments into omnichannel marketing campaigns that build enduring brand recognition, bolster credibility, and generate strong marketing-qualified leads."

“Success lies not only in grabbing attention but sustaining it.”

"Consider, for example, the transformative impact a single cover story featuring one of our client brands can have... The possibilities are endless, and the impact resonates far beyond the initial publication."

Authentic storytelling is crucial for engaging your audience effectively.

It involves creating content that resonates and connects through various channels, including social media and influencer partnerships.

“Among our top 10 tips for creating engaging social media content are: authentic storytelling, consistency, and strategic calls-to-action, which all contribute to building brand recognition and trust, along with eye-catching visuals for enhanced shareability."

"Strategic hashtag use increases discoverability while staying attuned to trending topics enables us to craft timely and relevant content.”

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“We know that engagement is a two-way street — meaning we promptly respond to comments and employ interactive initiatives like contests to strengthen follower relationships."

"Regular analysis of social media metrics allows us to optimize based on performance, and we encourage experimentation, ensuring a dynamic and enjoyable social media presence that doesn’t grow stale.”

“A savvy team that deploys a nuanced blend of data-driven insights, creative storytelling, and engagement strategies can ensure clients seize their 'fifteen minutes of fame' and build them into enduring relationships that improve business outcomes.”

When it comes to influencer marketing, businesses should carefully select influencers whose values align closely with their own, ensuring genuine engagement with their audience.

“Our approach lies in identifying influencers whose distinctive qualities resonate with a shared audience."

"These are individuals who inherently 'get it' and employ the right strategies to connect with client target demographics. The intrinsic value of their unique voices is undeniable, making it counterintuitive to attempt to alter it with heavy edits post-engagement.”

“Unfortunately, many agencies, after forging influencer partnerships, succumb to the temptation to mold influencers into brand representatives who bear little resemblance to their authentic selves."

"This misguided approach misses the mark with your audience and diminishes the impact of the influencer's appeal.”

“By choosing the right influencers and empowering them to use their original voice, we harness and support their genius to achieve win/win outcomes.”

“When identifying influencers of any size — from nano to mega — our work starts with thorough research, ensuring we align with influencers whose messages resonate with their audience and whose values are aligned with our client’s expectations."

“We’ve learned to avoid key pitfalls, like choosing influencers based solely on aesthetics rather than fully vetting genuine audience interest."

"An example is a beauty brand selecting an attractive female influencer to market its products to women, without noting that her highly engaged audience is largely comprised of young males who enjoy pictures of the model but will be unlikely to purchase the lipstick.”

Beyond this, the significance of proactive crisis management is in maintaining brand trust and integrity.

Businesses need to monitor social media channels and implement strategic response plans to effectively mitigate reputational risks.

“Recognizing the unpredictable nature of crises underscores the necessity for a well-crafted plan to facilitate a swift and professional response that minimizes reputational damage."

“A combination of experience and preparation are the cornerstones of an effective crisis response. Experienced professionals who have managed crises glean a lot from lived experiences and can apply those lessons to the formation of a crisis action plan."

"That way, when disaster hits, your organization is ready — and instead of scrambling, teams can move together in lockstep.”

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

“It’s true what they say about the ‘best-laid plans,’ so crisis response strategies must be designed for flexibility."

"The best plans deliver clear best-practice-based guidelines and processes for making and aligning on game-day decisions, but no plan can account for the endless possibilities of real-world crises – so staying nimble and well-informed is key.”

The ongoing evolution in marketing and PR emphasizes the need for adaptability and innovation.

Businesses should prioritize genuine engagement, strategic partnerships, and a customer-centric approach to thrive in an ever-changing environment.

“As we look ahead to the future of public relations, we expect to see change in the industry, especially with the rise of AI and shifting marketing landscape.”

“AI tools are enhancing the content creation process, data analysis capabilities, and strategic decision-making."

"This rise of AI will continue to make processes all the easier, allowing publicists and marketers across the board more efficient and data-driven. Because AI is not going away, we will need to harness the power of AI carefully and responsibly.”

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“Now more than ever, the emphasis on authenticity is crucial for a public relations program to be successful."

“Publicists are going to have to focus more on online strategies to be successful – including social media, influencer marketing, and online reputation management.”

“The increased emphasis on digital PR stems from the various channels that consumers consume their news. Being nimble and accessible across multiple channels increases the accessibility and visibility of your brand to a wider net of individuals.”

“Publicists are going to have to focus more on online strategies to be successful.”

“Navigating the continuous evolution of the digital world, including the downsizing of newsrooms and the prevalent adoption of GenAI, places an unprecedented emphasis on the inventive strategies employed by PR experts during the pitching process.”

“Now, with online publishing and advertising looming as substantial challenges, the need for PR professionals to engage with journalists has never been more crucial.”

Licano's insights shed light on the importance of adopting a holistic approach to marketing and PR for fostering sustainable brand growth.

By prioritizing authenticity, genuine engagement, and strategic partnerships, businesses can build lasting connections with their audience and achieve long-term success in today's marketplace.

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