For most brands, having an influencer get into an unexpected controversy is one of the worst possible situations imaginable. Crafting a campaign requires months of planning, coordination, and negotiation. Even if your brand has properly vetted an influencer, there is always the risk of them falling from grace regardless of how squeaky-clean their reputation. Further, the controversy surrounding YouTube’s biggest star demonstrated that no one is impermeable to scandal, regardless of the veracity of the allegations. As such, when a brand finds itself in this situation, the first instinct may be to quickly sever ties with the influencer however this tactic could actually do more damage to your reputation. Before making any decisions, take a pause, then ensure your brand’s response is measured and swift.
- Context: If the scandal involves an issue from the influencer’s distant past, your brand must evaluate the severity of the accusations. For example, it is discovered your influencer has an unpaid speeding ticket from five years ago. For most brands, this would not be a cause for alarm however if your brand sells car insurance, it may be a larger issue.
- History with the Influencer: Has your brand worked with this influencer numerous times and had all good experiences? Perhaps standing by them is an easier decision than if it’s a one-off partnership with an influencer whom you’ve never worked previously.
- Trolls: Nearly every social media influencer has a small handful of “haters” that go around creating rumors and stirring up drama. Some even go so far as to send inflammatory messages to influencers’ sponsors to try to get them in trouble. Be very wary of the credibility of these “trolls” because chances are that their claims are baseless.
- Lay Low: Sometimes the best course of action is to wait it out. Acknowledge the situation by suspending all campaign activities with the influencer to see if things blow over. It’s possible the controversy is the result of a miscommunication that can be resolved by a simple explanation from the influencer.
- Apologize: When CoverGirl’s first male ambassador James Charles tweeted an offensive joke to his 180,000 followers on Twitter, CoverGirl immediately released a statement condemning the tweet and emphasized it was not reflective of their message. Rather than releasing him as a representative, CoverGirl stood by Charles which reinforced their relationship and served as a learning opportunity.
Even if your brand or agency has never been involved directly with an influencer embroiled in a scandal, it’s crucial to consider a plan of action just in case.
Trending Family focuses exclusively on launching campaigns with “family-friendly” influencers for clients in need of non-controversial content and partnerships. If your brand or agency is considering launching an influencer marketing campaign for an upcoming project, contact us today!