We are thrilled Takumi is sponsoring the brand-new Best Use of a Small Budget category at this year’s Influencer Marketing Awards taking place on March 25. We spoke with Adam Williams, CEO of Takumi about how to make a big impact with a small influencer marketing budget, how brand budgets differ across borders and the benefits of working within tight budget restraints.

Can you tell us a bit about what Takumi does and what you are planning to do in the space this year?

Takumi is a leading influencer marketing service that works with big brands to deliver impactful and award-winning campaigns using the top influencers on Instagram in the UK, North America, and Western Europe. Since 2015, Takumi has grown a strong community of quality, the authentic creative talent on its books, falling in both micro and macro-categories, and is trusted to manage influencer relationships. Takumi champions authenticity in influencer marketing and is committed to brand safety and creative talent. It creates real relationships between brands, influencers, and consumers and has built its business to reflect those unique values. It was also the first influencer marketing businesses in the UK to take serious action against fraud.This year, Takumi will continue to act repeatedly ahead of the rest of the industry in proactively tackling fraudulent activity. Everyone involved in the industry has a huge opportunity to dispel any negative perceptions and take the steps needed to make influencer marketing more responsible, balanced and trustworthy.

You had a successful year last year – what were some of the highlights?

2019 was a year of rapid growth and global expansion which saw Takumi expand into five new European markets and secure stable partnerships, namely as Ogilvy UK’s global influencer marketing partner of choice

enabling significant but organic internal growth. Supporting the expansion, Takumi strengthened its management team with the appointment of ex-Spotify MD Adam Williams as CEO and hired a new chief revenue officer – Carla Faria. Towards the end of the year, to propel the company’s vision and global expansion Takumi welcomed three hugely experienced new board members to its non-executive board of directors; Mary Keane-Dawson, Sarah Speake and Rob Forshaw to support the global management team. Last year, Takumi also ran a multi-market study into the perspectives of consumers, brand marketers, and influencers entitled ‘Trust, transactions and trend-setters: The realities of influencer marketing’. This gives the business an unparalleled insight into the state of the industry and its future. No other agency has taken such a nuanced look at the state of the industry.

We’re pleased to have you involved in the awards ceremony this year. What do you think events like the Influencer Marketing Awards 2020 add to the industry?

The Influencer Marketing Awards is a great platform for the industry to showcase the strong influencer campaigns and celebrate all of the work being done in an exciting fast-maturing industry. 

You are sponsoring one of the new categories

the Best Use of a Small Budget. In your opinion, what ways can brands make a big impact with a small influencer budget?

For brands with a small budget, the key is ensuring there is an effective strategy that adapts to current trends in order to best reach consumers and have them engage with your brand that feels authentic and relevant. Leveraging micro-influencers (1k-10k followers) is a tactical approach as these influencers have a niche passion point or industry. These influencers have a high engagement rate and have faithful followers though their more personal interactions with their followers. Brands can also leverage the micro-influencers and their other platforms to create an effect of scattering posts rather than working with one or two macro influencers for a single post. 

What are you hoping to see from the winning entry?

We are hoping to see a smartly executed campaign that demonstrates how influencers have been used efficiently within a tight budget that doesn’t compromise the creative content. 

This is a global category

how do brand’s budgets differ across borders? Are you noticing any trends when it comes to budgets and cross-border campaigns?

Brands are starting to change the way they work with influencers for the better. They’re no longer just dipping their toes into influencer marketing as one-off projects and this applies across the globe. With the industry maturing, budgets are no longer coming from global; local regions have their own allocated budgets which allow brands to execute hyperlocal influencer marketing campaigns. 

With budgets for influencer marketing set to increase, what are some of the benefits of working within tight budget restraints, if any?

With tighter budgets, sometimes the opportunity to use a variety of influencers can be a restraint but work in favour of the brand. Adopting a long-term mindset for influencer marketing campaigns will help boost the sustainability and authenticity of the sector. Brands should consider exclusive long term partnerships with the micro-influencer relationships they have formed to build brand advocates. If consumers see influencers they trust posting about products in paid-for campaign content, it re-enforces the idea that the influencer has a genuine affinity for the product and their brand endorsement can be trusted.

Lastly, what are your hopes for the influencer marketing space this year?

As the industry continues to mature at a rapid pace, trust needs to be upheld as we’ve seen it being eroded over the last year. Brands must go the extra mile to embark on authentic and legitimate influencer collaborations that help make the sector a more sustainable business. Brands and influencers will need to stop operating as two separate entities and start working more collaboratively. There needs to be more trust between the two parties, which will allow influencers to create more creative, authentic and unique content. If this happens then we can look to 2020 as the year it all changes.

This year’s shortlist will be revealed tomorrow so keep your eyes peeled to see who could be taking home gold on the night.

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