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Brands Tap Into Trusted Relationships Working With Influencers: Video

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Troy Dreier: Hi everyone, this is Troy Dreier of StreamingMedia.com coming to you from Streaming Media East 2016 where we're having short conversations with some of the thought leaders of our industry. Joining me here is Ryan Daume of Studio71, he's the vice president of sales and brand strategy. Thank you for joining me.

Ryan Daume: Thank you for having me.

Troy Dreier: You were talking about about branded entertainment and advertisers getting into the online video space. and I understand your company is very big in connecting online video influencers with brands that want to reach that kind of audience, right?

Ryan Daume: Yeah, absolutely. Online video influencers, online Instagram, Snapchat, whatever the platform is. People have exhibited that they have an audience that is passionate about what they do and they have a relationship back with that audience in a way that's a little different than a traditional Hollywood star.

Troy Dreier: How many of these influencers are you in contact with?

Ryan Daume: We have exclusive relationships with 1,200.

Troy Dreier: Wow. Give us a few big names that everyone would have heard of.

Ryan Daume: Rhett and Link are the internet's favorite morning show among other things. Logan Paul is one of the biggest personalities that we work with. Lilly Singh was the keynote at BrandCast this year. We work with a lot of the biggest creators, we try and find those who not only have large audiences but again, a relationship with that audience that is unique to a traditional world.

Troy Dreier: Why does it make sense for a brand to hire and online video star rather than just doing a traditional commercial designed to appeal to a certain audience?

Ryan Daume: People are already tuning in to watch these guys. That relationship that they have with their audience allows them to be more of a peer or trusted advisor. They're in the same friend group, they may be the alpha of that friend group but as that person, when they find a brand they can do an authentic partnership with, the message hits home much better and really sinks in. That influence is leveraged back on hopefully some type of sales or brand goal.

Troy Dreier: The names you gave us are sort of designed to appeal to a younger viewer. Are there influencers who appeal to other demographics as well?

Ryan Daume: Absolutely, it's across the board. There is a whole world of mommy bloggers that are all very influential, some bigger than others. There are wood workers on YouTube who appeal to certainly a unique demographic. There's just about everything out there. Our content crosses a pretty wide breadth. I would say that millennial audience is probably the sweet spot, but if there's a passion point out there, there's somebody who's working on that at an influencer capacity somewhere in the social realm.

Troy Dreier: What does a brand need to know going into this? It's probably a scary area for them, giving up control and working with an influencer.

Ryan Daume: I would say that main thing is remember you're stepping into someone else's house if you will. This person has given up in many cases, years of their time to build that audience and build that relationship they have with that audience and the trust that's there. If you step in and try to do something that's going to step on that trust or otherwise put you in kind of a weird light with the audience, you're probably not doing yourself a good service. If you come to the party and you dampen the experience, nobody is going to want you to come back, but if you come to the party and you make the party better, everybody is going to want you to come back and they're probably going to remember you. Those are the cases when we have fans saying, "Hey, where's the Geico sponsorship? Where's that segment that's been there for the past few weeks?" Those are the big wins for us because you know that the audience really appreciated what Geico brought to the table.

Troy Dreier: Give me a few specific things that a brand can do that are completely right when working with an influencer.

Ryan Daume: A few things that are completely right. Main thing would be remember that you're using somebody else's voice and you have to in some way make sure they can maintain their vernacular and authenticity. I think the authenticity is key but remember that the audience has a reason they tune in to this person. The person or the group of people who are that influential group, they have needs of their own, often times a brand will forget what it took for them to get there and say, "Well I'm paying them a lot of money, why aren't they willing to do X, Y, or Z?" They need to maintain that authenticity. If that goes away, then they devalue themselves.

Troy Dreier: That's how a brand would go completely wrong is by not honoring that authenticity.

Ryan Daume: Yes.

Troy Dreier: Okay, very good. Thank you, Ryan. Thank you for joining us here at Streaming Media East.

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