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Welcome to The Stream: Allison+Partners’ content hub that features the latest news and trends making the biggest waves in media and marketing.

JUNE 27, 2017 //  

How Tapping Authentic Influencers Can Create Impact for Causes

www.adcouncil.orgBy: Scott Pansky

 “You are a mistake and you should never have been born”

-- Brittani Louise Taylor, 1.3 million YouTube subscribers

As a father of three girls, hearing a statement like this taken from the Ad Council’s “#IAmAWitness” anti-bullying campaign hits me right in the heart. My daughters follow several of the people in the video, which features YouTubers who have been cyberbullied, and it hurts to think my kids might be exposed to online bullying. However, I have come to appreciate the authenticity of the campaign, as it was directly targeted to an audience of 11-17-year-old teens. I don’t know if all my girls were ready to hear the messages, but it came from sources they trusted, created dialogue and empowered them to tackle the issue.


Having served in the social impact space for more than 25 years, I have seen how the industry has evolved from putting a charity logo on a product and calling it cause marketing to developing very strategic and impactful campaigns. Digital influencers like Brittani now drive interaction between brands and the issues they champion, allowing them to reach their target audiences more directly and in a more authentic and powerful way.

The key to the effectiveness of this relationship is authenticity. In Allison+Partners’ latest Influence Impact Report released this week, we note that 60 percent of those who follow digital influencers are more likely to trust information from a digital influencer if that influencer has an authentic connection to the issue. This could mean that they or someone they know have been personally affected by the issue, or that they donate time or money to the organization.

But today’s consumers aren’t waiting for information from brands to be pushed to them, as they are constantly bombarded by marketing, publicity and advertising campaigns. Instead, as we addressed in our inaugural Influence Impact Report, consumers have flipped the old marketing model and pull information from sources that they follow and trust. This is the “magic sauce” and a huge opportunity for brands to identify and select the right influencers to speak directly to their target audiences. The influencer does not have to be a celebrity with a large reach, but someone who connects with audiences in their own voice.

That’s what made the #IAmAWitness campaign so powerful. By featuring influencers like Brittani that had been cyberbullied and had an authentic connection to a large audience of teens, the campaign generated more than 30 million video views and won a 2016 Cannes Lions Award, among several other accolades.  

Over the next few weeks, we’ll share more insights from our “Powerful Connections: How Influence, Empathy and Engagement Have Transformed Cause in the Digital Era.”

Scott Pansky is a co-founder and partner at Allison+Partners, who leads the agency’s Social Impact group.

AGENCY NEWS // JUNE 26, 2017 //  

The not-so-secret weapon in cause marketing: engaged influencers


Consumers who follow digital influencers are more likely to share information about and engage with a cause, according to Allison+Partners’ Influence Impact Report, released on Monday.

Of users who follow digital influencers, 35% engaged with a cause due to an influencer’s recommendation and 31% were open to the idea of doing so due to an influencer’s vouching, according to the report.

AGENCY NEWS // JUNE 26, 2017 //  

Allison+Partners' New Influence Impact Study Shows Digital Influencers Drive Donations and Engagement with Causes

Followers are Inspired to Commit Time, Money and Loyalty

Consumers who follow digital influencers are more likely to share information about and engage with a cause, according to the third Allison+Partners’ Influence Impact Report. The findings illustrate a growing audience that is both digitally connected and deeply invested in charitable issues, signaling influencers as an increasingly important consideration for cause marketers.


A review of the data reveals that insight-driven use of influencers in a cause campaign can drive awareness, as well as drive donations and volunteer engagement. Of those who follow digital influencers:

  • 35 percent engaged with a cause due to an influencer’s recommendation
  • 31 percent were open to the idea of engaging with a cause due to an influencer’s recommendation

Of the 35 percent who engaged with a cause due to an influencer’s recommendation, 52 percent shared awareness about the cause and 51 percent made a financial donation. Thirty seven percent actually volunteered with the organization in question.

The study revealed that an influencer’s personal connection to the cause is critically important in determining whether their recommendation will drive consumer action. When asked about what inspires trust in an influencer’s recommendation about a cause:

  • 63 percent said “if the influencer personally volunteers with the organization”
  • 61 percent said ‘if the influencer shares stories of others who have been helped or impacted by the charity or cause”
  • 60 percent said “if the influencer was personally impacted by the cause”

“Brands and nonprofits are investing heavily in influencer programs with the hope of shaping beliefs and inspiring action for their initiatives,” said Scott Pansky, co-founder and head of the social impact practice at Allison+Partners. “The data shows that working with digital influencers is making an impact, but that impact is dependent on finding the right influencers who can tell your story in a way that is authentic to them and their followers.”

Finding those select influencers takes real rigor and a proven process for identification and evaluation. To that end, Allison+Partners introduced its Influence Impact Score last year, based on proprietary data and two years of studying the changing landscape of influence. The scoring system helps define the correct blend of influencers for a brand by quantifying the complex variables that determine potential impact, particularly useful for brands and nonprofits looking to engage.

The latest Influence Impact Report, “Powerful Connections: How Influence, Empathy and Engagement Have Transformed Cause in the Digital Era,” is available for download at http://www.allisonpr.com/what/influence-360.html and also contains a wealth of insights and actionable advice on:

  • The correlation between individuals who follow digital influencers and those who care about cause
  • How authenticity and personal stories drive engagement and impact for cause efforts
  • What brands should consider when developing a cause partnership
  • What types of content and channels are most successful at promoting brand-cause partnerships
  • The power of tapping local influencers
  • How to convert followers into advocates by creating content they are willing to share

About the Influence Impact Report

The Influence Impact Report is an ongoing series that explores the dynamic forces that shape and drive consumers in an active ecosystem of influence. This report was compiled using three studies conducted in April 2017, which included an online survey of 1,024 people in the U.S. over the age of 18 using Qualtrics; an online survey of 1,000 people in the U.S. over the age of 18 that indicated they followed a digital influencer (identified as someone they follow online solely for the value of their content and not due to any offline relationship) using Survata; and an online survey of 1,065 people in the U.S. over the age of 18 to determine the incidence rate of those who follow digital influencers (identified as someone they follow online solely for the value of their content and not due to any offline relationship) using Survata. To download the Influence Impact Reports, visit http://www.allisonpr.com/what/influence-360.html.

JUNE 21, 2017 //  

NBC Sports Jumps on the Esports Bandwagon

PSYONIXComcast Corp.’s CMCSA -0.84% NBC Sports on Wednesday said it would televise an esports tournament later this summer, the latest broadcaster turning to competitive videogaming to grow viewership at a time when many consumers are cutting the cord. READ MORE
JUNE 20, 2017 //  

The Ken Doll Got a Makeover (and a Man Bun). Here's What it Teaches Us About Buzz.

MattelMattel announced this week a new range of diverse Ken dolls -- slim Kens, husky Kens, Kens with new skin tones and corn rows and even one with a man bun. It's an overdue way to reflect size, ethnicity and the world kids live in, surely. But it's also the company's latest attempt to capture relevance and sales for an on-again-off-again legacy brand and its characters, especially Ken, who has sometimes functioned as one of Barbie's most disposable accessories.  READ MORE
JUNE 20, 2017 //  

Fox to Launch New Six-Second Ad Format for Digital Content and TV

Fox Networks Group is preparing a new six-second ad format for digital platforms and eventually traditional TV, mirroring an ad format recently adopted by Google’s YouTube, the company said.

TV ads are typically longer than 15 seconds, but as viewing shifts online, where people are skipping or blocking ads, advertisers and media companies have experimented with new ad formats and strategies.
JUNE 20, 2017 //  

China: Dealing with the rising cost of influence

CampaignBy: David Wolf

Working with influencers in China is becoming more straightforward; indeed, it is more purely transactional here than in many other markets. For companies flush with cash, this is good news, making engagement refreshingly simple. The more fiscally challenged companies – most of us – will find this driving the cost of influencer engagement all but out of reach.

This need not be the case, provided that companies approach their key opinion-leader (KOL) programmes with three insights: an acute feeling for who and what drives your audiences; a clear picture of the influencer landscape and how it is evolving; and a full kit of tools and techniques for engaging with influencers.

JUNE 19, 2017 //  

Visual content receives 94 percent more views than text-only marketing

HightailStrong visual content is key to finding success in today’s communications landscape, whether it’s social media, email marketing or content creation.

Crafting strong visual content isn’t easy, however. Nearly half of all businesses (49 percent) only have one person in their organization working on content marketing. Plus, the majority of marketers (75 percent) say they don’t have an effective creative collaboration process.

So, how are these organizations supposed to create visual content that entices consumers to view it?

JUNE 16, 2017 //  

From Data to Ta-da! These 8 Creative Data Campaigns Brought the Magic

Cannes introduced the Creative Data Lions in 2015. The overwhelming response? “Oh no, more categories!” But I have to admit that the same clever folks who were the first to celebrate the industry’s game-changing work (the Titanium Lions) and storytelling-that-doesn’t-suck (the Branded Content & Entertainment Lions, now called Lions Entertainment) also gave the industry the push it needed—to recognize data as precious fuel for creativity. READ MORE
JUNE 15, 2017 //  

Twitter Is Refreshing How the Platform Looks and Making It Easier for People to Use

Twitter’s getting ready to smooth out some of the little blue bird’s feathers.

Over the course of the “coming days and weeks,” the company said, it will begin rolling out a series of updates that will change not only the settings on people’s profiles, but also the way they engage with the platform as a whole. In a blog post published today, Grace Kim, Twitter’s vp of user research and design, described the changes, including updates to links, typography, icons and of course tweets themselves.

JUNE 12, 2017 //  

Adweek Puts a Spotlight on Chicago, the Brand Hub That’s Become a Capital of Culture

Getty Images

The best dinner of your life. Your next job. The next great startup. All could easily be waiting for you in Chicago.

To those in Chicago, all this is obvious fact. But there’s always been a sort of veil around the city that keeps the rest of the world from appreciating or even understanding the scope of what it has to offer. Perhaps it’s the region’s signature Midwestern humility, or maybe it’s simply a matter of geographic distance from other major urban markets (Chicago is 800 miles from New York and 2,000 from Los Angeles).


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