first written in February 2016 by Dudley Nevill-Spencer

first written in February 2016 by Dudley Nevill-Spencer



Firstly, thanks very much for visiting my Influencer marketing manifesto. The purpose of the manifesto is to provide a resource that helps the industry to engage in "best practice" Influencer marketing and deliver effective  campaigns with clear ROI. I will keep adding to this over time - I've made a commitment to publish something every month - so please come back and check it out.

My belief is that over time, Influencer marketing will become a central component of all marketing campaigns. As data becomes ubiquitous and A.I becomes able to sift through that data, I believe we will all become "influencers" and this will be a component of all marketing campaigns.


Influencer marketing has gone through a turbulent and exciting decade, I first started using the term back in 2008 to describe the "new" kind of work my consultancy was doing - but it took a long time to get any traction. To me however, it wasn't just a new way of marketing, it was much more personal. I am lucky to have had the privilege to work with some of the greatest cultural icons of our time in film, fashion, music and art, and this had given me an acute understanding that there was more power and persuasion in the story and words of an everyday human, the stories these people told, than there was in a manufactured story - in fact the best kind of advertising often used real stories and real people to inspire and aspire. My feeling, was that in an increasingly cynical world, effective marketing would focus on finding individuals who were trusted by consumers, who had the ability to focus their attention and affect their choices and engage and create marketing campaigns around them. This, I believed, would eventually eclipse traditional advertising.

I now can see a future when all marketing activity is driven (at least in part) by Influencer marketing. Given the amount of negativity in the current market about Influencer marketing and suggestions that the "bubble is bursting" (I even had a CEO of a top five global ad agency tell me that Influencer marketing is a "fad"),  my belief might seem a stretch. 

If you take the time to read the below my hope is that I can persuade you that Strategic Influencer marketing  is a lot more than getting a blogger to use a hashtag, that its the most targeted, powerful and honest means of creating awareness, authority and sales of any medium, and its just getting started.


"An Influencer is an individual who has the ability to focus the attention or affect the PURCHASE opinions of consumers".

Note there is no mention of social media in my definition. Influencer marketing is not about only working with those who have strong social media followings, that is an incorrect assumption. The power at the centre of Influencer marketing is related to finding those who affect the opinion of consumers and working with them - wherever they. This could be a blogger, or it could be a Mother in the P.T.A, a business person, someone respected in a trade, a boy at the checkout in Walmart, a "Gatekeeper" to an Ultra High Net worth or a school teacher and their Social following might be large of relatively insignificant.

Social Media and  "data" are the tools we use to find these individuals of "influence" and engage with them on.  Most key mistakes and issues related to the efficacy of Influencer marketing can be traced back to focusing on the Social Media scale of an Influencer instead of focusing on the Influence of individuals. Its easy to see how this happened - surely if the SM following is large then they are an "Influencer" and we want to work with them? And as Influencer marketing tools and platform developed, promising marketers the ability to be able to find and communicate with Influencers they bamboozled with large Reach numbers and focussed on scale as the key metric. When you add in compelling stories where the media "revealed" Influencers with ultra-large followings, charging massive fees, it was understandable that the definition of an Influencer came to focus on their Social Media scale - but that is an incorrect assumption.


"A marketing plan that utilises individuals who have the ability to focus the attention and affect the decisions of a target market, achieving long term brand goals that CAN include AWARENESS, ASPIRATION, CONSIDERATION, positioning OR sales”.

Strategic Influencer marketing has never been about scale,  its about "Influence", and "more scale" does not necessarily equal greater Influence. The key is finding the individuals who your consumer either trusts, respects or aspires too . And those people must align - at least partially - with your brands purpose,  if your campaign is going to seem authentic to your audience.  But not all Influencers are the same, there are multiple categories and each have the ability to play a different role and achieve a different goal for brands.

INFLUENCER roles & categories

Below are definitions of the three different kinds of Influencers I have created to help brands determine who they should be working with. Each Influencer has a different effect on their audience, broken down into the following areas;

TRUST:  The amount an influencer trusted by their followers

AUTHORITY: The authority the Influencer has over their particular subject

SCALE & AWARENESS: The awareness the Influencer generate for a brand

Katerina Bramley @katerinarayne

Katerina Bramley @katerinarayne


A "Local hero" is someone who has zero to circa 5000 followers.  They are the cool kid at School, or the local football Captain, whatever wine she orders her friends follow suit. They are not S.M professionals & you TRUST what they say. They are rarely approached by brands so when they do talk about one you listen - & respond.

BEST UTILISED TO ACHIEVE the following brand goals;

  1. Trust

  2. Consideration

  3. Belief

WHAT COMPANIES should use L.H's?

  1. Insurance

  2. Banking

  3. Home building

Natalie Migliarini @beautifulbooze

Natalie Migliarini @beautifulbooze


Niche Influencer have authority on ONE SUBJECT. Their follows trust them, but only about photography, or cooking, or whatever their subject of expertise is . They tend to sit in the 5 k - 100 k following area and are often approached by brands. They can can also be trade experts who validate & endorse brands to the consumer & Industry.

BEST UTILISED TO ACHIEVE the following brand goals;

  1. Validation

  2. Brand Authority

  3. Brand features

what companies should use N.I's

  1. Technology

  2. Alcohol

  3. Skincare

Adam Gallagher @iamgallla

Adam Gallagher @iamgallla


Power influencer have the ability to affect culture and groups en mass. They demonstrate a lifestyle that their followers or fans aspire to have in some small or greater part. Their lives tend to become more of a focus as do their beliefs , and they aim to have their fans age with them. They are best used for awareness and positioning.

BEST UTILISED TO ACHIEVE the following brand goals;

  1. Distribution

  2. Awareness

  3. Aspiration

what companies should use p.i's

  1. Clothing

  2. Jewellery

  3. Accesories

The above are of course generalisations - but they stand as strong guidelines and definitions to help guide marketing strategies and also to provide the industry a nomenclature and framework to explain what we do. If at the end of this you look at the above and think;

"well actually my brand needs some Local Heros to push sales, some Niche Influencers to get some brand authority and we need Power to get the message out there"..., then excellent - that is indeed the point and where we started, strategic Influencer marketing is about using ALL of the above to achieve your long term brand goals. This is explained in infographic form below, and is encapsulated in what I have coined "The Influencer trust Continuum", which shows how "scale is (often) inverse to response and trust".

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The influencer match tool

Understanding the type of Influencer you want and the business goals you are trying to achieve with each kind of Influencer is the start of your campaign. Choosing the specific Influencers is the next job at hand. This is best determined by understanding what kind of an audience (or audiences) you are trying to appeal to, and splitting your budget between the various categories of influencer.

Counterintuitively, this does not mean looking for an Influencer who matches your targets demo and psychographics - it means looking for an Influencer whose audience matches your target. consumer.  You might still need someone who is an expert in a particular area but the next stage is to ensure their followers are the kind of people you want to reach.

There are lots of tools to help you to do this but the best search by audience and followers  like  - they give you all the "quantitative" data.

Once you have achieved a shortlist you then need to consider if they represent your brands values. - the "qualitative" data. To enable this I created "The Influencer match Tool TM"  back in 2014, and used it for multiple global brands. I built it out of the need for global brand teams to guide their markets correctly and save time choosing the right kind of Influencers.

The process starts by a Brand filling out a "brand values map", listing the values that are most important to it on a scale of 1 to 10.

The Influencer Match Tool Brand values map

The "Brand Values Map"

Once the brand has filled this out the Influencers are evaluated on the same set of criteria and are "overlaid", creating a percentage value match .


The "Brand values overlay"

The process gives Brands and their markets a guide to follow before recommending Influencers . This "thins the herd" and reduces the amount of "off-brand" influencer recommendations from marketing teams. it also aids internal alignment between the Executive, Marketing and Sales teams.

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The reality is that we are all going to become data sets in the not to distant future. and as this data becomes ubiquitous and accessible, Machine learning and A.I will be enable us to sift through the information and understand who everyone is influenced by, who gets my attention, who I trust, who I respect, and as this happens it will mean that strategic Influencer marketing will become a central component of every marketing campaign. AI and Machine Learning tech tools.will guide our decision making process every step of the way.

We are well on our way through this process, and it is the brands and companies that are prepared and make the best use of the available technology to inform their insight, social, paid and Brand strategy, that will help them to maintain their cultural relevance and thrive,  those that don't will see themselves becoming less and less relevant.

Dudley Nevill-Spencer

All words, definition and Infographics by Dudley Nevill-Spencer - © 2016, Dudley Nevill-Spencer, all rights reserved

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