Talent Village is a Gold Sponsor of this year’s Influencer Marketing Show, which is just around the corner. We caught up with William Soulier, CEO of Talent Village to chat about his upcoming session on finding true talent, and why we need talent-generated content in order to help professionalise the industry and rebuild trust.

Talent Village is a gold sponsor of the Influencer Marketing Show. What sessions on this year’s agenda have caught your eye?

I am intrigued by the session, Creators and Branded Content: The Big Debate to see how the rest of the industry is perceiving this evolution. 

What are you hoping to get out of the show this year?

Most of all we’re looking forward to networking with likeminded people and hearing some of the keynote sessions. The lineup looks great this year – it’s set to be a great show. 

You are also presenting a session in the case study theatre all about finding true talent. Tell us a little more about what you’ll be covering in your session?

That’s right, we’re really looking forward to our session this year. We’re going to talk all about the search for true talent, emphasising the need for talent over and above that of influence. Ultimately, over the past few years, many marketers have been burnt in their search for effective influencer solutions due to low quality branded content, inauthentic and unengaged influencers and highly commercially driven companies attempting to capitalise on a huge revenue opportunity. I think we’re all aware of the vociferous headlines and editorial pieces forecasting the demise of influencer marketing in the press and something has to change. There is now an urgent need to rebuild trust in the industry, and we believe this change starts by working with true talent. And when we talk about ‘true talent’, we are referring primarily to an individual who has professional representation, be it an agency or manager who helps guide their career and image. These individuals benefit from a particular skillset in a creative field, which in turn gives them the expertise and authority to talk about a specific topic, thus supplying brands with a credible voice in their space.We will look at the increasing need to professionalise the industry, how working with the right talent and using the right tactics can increase brand impact, and the growing need for co-created talent generated content. 

How do you think brands can connect with the right kind of talent?

Certainly, the influence market is incredibly buoyant. For instance, over 80% of brands today see influencer marketing as an effective digital strategy for increasing brand awareness, and nearly two-thirds of marketers are increasing their budgets in 2019. The industry is also set to swell to over $10 billion within the next five years. However, 61% of marketers still struggle to find the right talent on Instagram and this is causing an issue. In our session, we’ll be talking about how a balance between ground-breaking technology and human expertise will be key to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to finding the right talent to represent a brand.In terms of finding the right kind of talent, we have three key tips for brands right now:
  • Define your objectives: Know what you will be using the talent for. Discuss and agree on what your ideal content, social post, video or blog will look like and ensure you know what your key message is. You need to know, before anything else, what you want to achieve before you can start looking for a content creator. Remember that the talent you work with will be dependent on this. Certainly, it has become very fashionable to have Instagram celebs and YouTubers discuss and promote certain products, but there needs to be a real reason why that brand should work with the influencer, otherwise, brands may struggle to reach or resonate with their desired audience.
  • Relevance: To choose the right talent for your brand you must make sure that their ethos, personality and morals align with your brand. Read through the content creator’s archived posts to get a sense of what kind of person they are. It’s not as simple as: they post about books, you’re trying to sell books, so you should work with them. If the talent doesn’t have a passion for your product and brand, an audience will see through it. They need to have something to say about your brand or product that will engage an audience and need to genuinely care. Again, this takes time and research but with the right technology and advice, this needn’t be all-consuming.
  • Reach and demographic: This will be one of the key aspects you will need to consider when searching for social media talent. It is one of the easiest ways to definitively compare potential talent too. What is their follower count on all of their different social channels? What is the demographic of their audience, does it match with your target audience? How many likes and comments does their sponsored post get? This is a great way to see if a person is the right fit for your brand. 

Inauthentic and unengaged influencers are one of the reasons marketers are tired of searching for effective influencer solutions. How is Talent Village helping solve this issue?

We work hand in hand with talent agencies that represent and manage talent on a daily basis to enhance this experience. These agents have invaluable knowledge of the talent’s personalities, values and what their personal brand entails. The agents help professionalise the whole experience by making the talent themselves accountable, standardising pricing and managing exclusivities through some groundbreaking technology (our dashboard) that we have developed for them.  

Do you think influencer marketing should be seen as a standalone tactic and if not, how does it fit into the wider marketing mix?

We believe that the influencer marketing industry is at a tipping point – brands are starting to wake up to the fact that they need to put talent over influence as part of a multi-channel strategy. The key here is using agency-signed talent who have real credibility and authentic value in their space and can align with a brand’s audience in a way like no other and provide a credible voice. The most important thing isthat talent generated content needs to be seen holistically. Brands that consider influencer marketing as a single channel will lose out. Those that build engaging influence with talent generated content and then amplify it to all the other channels (be that organic, mobile display, paid social, digital out of home etc) will find themselves at the forefront of the industry and bringing some truly engaged customers with them. 

What ways can creatives and platforms work better together to provide brands with high-quality content?

We believe that the key here is the co-creation of social content. As such, we regularly work as a mediator between the talent and the brand to ensure the content is right. The talent is professionally guided through their content creation and the brand can rest easy knowing that the content will match their requirements. We have found co-creation to increase post-approval by up to 85%. 

What’s next for Talent Village?

It’s been a really exciting few months for Talent Village and we have just launched our new website and rebranded. We are currently preparing to launch in South East Asia and expect to grow the team to 50 collaborators by the end of the year.We look forward to doing some ground-breaking work in 2020 and beyond, and work where talent will be in the driving seat and used holistically as part of a multichannel strategy to drive up advocacy for the consumers across all brand touchpoints. 

Lastly, where can attendees find you at the show and what can they expect from you?

You’ll find us at Stand 87 so do pop along to the stand and see us. Likewise, do try to catch my session at 3:40pm on 22nd in the case study theatre.

It’s not too late to get your ticket to the Influencer Marketing Show and attend the influencer marketing event of the year – see the various ticket options here.

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