The Wax Blog

Influencer marketing works well in terms of celebrity social media partnerships. In fact the Federal Trade Commission is wary of these posts fitting in a little too seamlessly. There are enormous benefits to influencer marketing as we all know.  But like blogs there is some  regulatory framework to wade through. Several companies and dozens of influencers have come under fire in the past few months for deceptive influencer advertising. Learn what you should and shouldn't do to keep your own brand out of hot water.

A Guide to FTC influencer marketing rules and regulations

Read these 6 points to make sure  your next influencer marketing campaign doesn't catch the attention of the wrong people.
  1. Not all product reviews require disclosure. And that’s because not all product reviews are endorsements. If your campaign doesn’t involve a transfer of funds or something of value from the company to the influencer or their audience it is not a paid advertisement. From the company’s side this is the ideal scenario. But accomplishing it in reality is tough especially with anyone above the level of micro-influencer.  One case where a disclosure is often unnecessary is if it is broadly understood that someone is a spokesperson for a brand.  Stephen Curry has a shoe deal with Under Armour. If he posts about the company his followers can be reasonably expected to know about his relationship to UA. It's likely no disclosure is necessary. Now, here's a random Stephen Curry video to make this post more interesting.  Okay, now back to important but boring stuff. Keep in mind however there's no objective threshold for the definition of broad awareness so it’s smart to err on the safe side.
  2. Anything you get or give away for free qualifies as a sponsored partnership. Free has a different definition here. Anything influencers are paid to use, items that they are given for free or giveaways that influencers are paid to distribute need disclosure. It doesn’t have to be the influencer who ultimately benefits either. If anyone ends up taking home some free merchandise via sweepstakes or giveaway the influencer has to disclose the sponsor of the contest.
  3. Sponsored posts have to be easily recognizable: A large part of the FTC’s crackdown on Instagram influencer marketing boiled down to something they called deceptive marketing. All that was required of an influencer before this change to demonstrate sponsored content was to post a #ad, #sp, or a similar hashtag anywhere within the post. The meaning of a vague two-letter hashtag buried in a post - possibly among a string of other hashtags - is not entire obvious. The FTC decided to crack down on ads that deliberately muddy the paid nature of the post by trying to hide the sponsorship.  To avoid fines or worse, bad PR,  try the following:
    • Acknowledge the sponsor at the beginning of a video
    • Include a #Ad at the beginning of the post
    • Use Instagram’s custom sponsor subheading to acknowledge the sponsorship in an understated way.
    • Just note that “Brand X gave me product Y to try" as part of the text.
  4. You’re responsible for what your influencers post. Pleading ignorance won’t get you anywhere with the FTC. It’s your burden as a business to make sure that your influencers comply with FTC influencer marketing rules and regulations, because a failure to do so will land you in as much trouble as the influencer. Your influencers may not be particularly experienced with the practice of posting sponsored content. You should present them with a clear guide of what they’re supposed to convey in a post. Educate your influencers on what they have to do so that they aren’t dragged into legal trouble which could mean a crisis for your brand. And check in periodically to make sure every post is following FTC influencer marketing rules. Keep in mind that microinfluencers in particular may be new to the game and need a some education.
  5. Influencers have to actually try a product before endorsing it. [pullquote]Don't pay someone to spout a canned - or even false - statement about the usefulness of a product. [/pullquote]If an influencer hasn’t actually experienced a product, they are not allowed to make any public statement regarding it. Likewise, if an influencer ends up disliking your product you cannot continue with the partnership as if they enjoyed the product. This kind of deceitful behavior intentionally misleads consumers and is decisively illegal.
  6. There's still a long way to go until everyone follows the rules. The FTC has a lot on its plate. Noncompliance is still rampant. A recent Consumer Media study reported over 90% of sponsored posts of celebrities are not disclosed. That means there is some big money to be made on fines. The FTC will get involved when they notice a pattern of misleading content or a particularly egregious case of a concealed sponsorship.
But it doesn't matter how hard or easy it is to get caught. An FTC infraction is bad for your brand. Put in your best effort to stay within FTC influencer marketing rules and regulations. It could keep you out of big trouble.

How to Make Your Presentations More Impactful By Maurice DeCastro, Mindful Presenter Creating and delivering a presentation is a key part of any career, and a challenge that many people have to face - whether they feel they are ready or not. Delivering a presentation addresses a key fear for many professionals: public speaking. When you’re interested and passionate about a topic, it’s easy to talk about it with clarity and confidence to one person or even a few people. But speaking to a room full of people in a more formal setting suddenly becomes overwhelming. It’s easy to leave preparation to the last minute and deliver a lukewarm presentation that doesn’t make a huge impact. Here are some ideas and techniques you can implement to make your presentations impactful, thought-provoking, and a breeze to deliver. Part 1: Preparing the presentation [pullquote] ‘Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.’ -Confucius [/pullquote] Luck and confidence can be on your side, and winging it may seem second nature, but nothing beats good old-fashioned preparation. It’s hard to know exactly how much preparation goes on behind the scenes, but for many events - it’s a lot. Whilst you don’t need to spend weeks perfecting your presentation, dedicating time to really think about it will make your presentation more impactful. Think about your topic and how you are going to approach it Whatever topic you’re talking about, there is a way of making it memorable and interesting. Think about your audience and the purpose of your presentation. What will they find interesting? Do they already know a lot about this topic? Answering these kinds of questions will help you form the basis of the content. Plot it out in three stages

When entrepreneurs want to learn advanced accounting techniques, they enroll in classes. When entrepreneurs are interested in boosting their knowledge about business finance, they go to school. Yet, when entrepreneurs believe their marketing strategies to be lacking, they tend to power through on their own,...

Too many brands ays have a sole focus on attracting new clients to their business. They completely overlook the customer base they already have. Remember it actually costs a lot more money to attract new clients to the business that it does to achieve repeat business. Most successful companies focus on customer retention as a major stake in their marketing efforts. 

If you want to force a change in a company’s methods of production you don’t need to organize a protest, or even march in one.  In a blog earlier this year Edelman’s Global Strategy Director David Armano described the impact of what he called “protests of the purse.” Consumer activism, Armano argues, needs to be considered as part of the customer funnel. Your demand for a product, especially when paired with the activism of like-minded people, can drive change faster than you’d expect. In competitive industries companies are always in fear of losing customers to a more consumer-friendly rival. When looking to make a purchase, don’t shy away from your values. Make companies adapt their product to you. The last few years have seen many extraordinarily tumultuous moments in the world of political and social issues. Topics ranging from animal cruelty, to protecting women and the LGBT community from abuse, to the presidency of Donald Trump, have all spurred an immense wave of activism. In such an activist society, it has never been easier to mold a company’s practices to match your convictions. The first step to achieving these goals is to realize that you have influence over even the largest companies, not the other way around. As social movements gain steam, they are often effective at forcing significant changes. The consequences of activism reach well beyond politics. Just search #boycott on Twitter and see what has sparked indignation today. These people are engineering social change from their own couches, just by vocalizing their future demand habits. [pullquote position="right"]When activism becomes powerful enough to shift consumer behavior on a large scale, brands and even entire industries can be expected to evolve to meet the expectations of their customers. [/pullquote]Demand becomes less a function of price, and more a function of the perceived social cost or benefit of the product. Consider cosmetic products, such as shampoo. Animal testing, a practice that many believe is unnecessarily cruel, is prevalent in the industry. A study conducted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) found that 61% of Americans believe a ban should be enacted against animal testing, up from just 38% in 2003. Fifty-eight percent would not buy a product from a company that engages in such methods. More than four in five expect that companies that identify as “green” or “natural” will not engage in animal testing in any form. The backlash against the testing process in Europe was strong enough for the European Union to ban animal testing entirely. Climate change has brought about a similar trend. Thirty-one percent of consumers have vocalized that they would reward a company that was committed to responsible energy practices by patronizing them. Two thirds of that subset would also punish companies that were prominent contributors to global warming. Supermarkets and food suppliers now work hard to showcase their climate-consciousness. Words like “sustainable,” “organic” and “eco-friendly” are popular terms for portraying food as socially beneficial. As climate change becomes a more pressing issue, we will see more farmers and food suppliers go green. Activists may not think that their consumption habits have much of an effect on a company’s decisions. Research from Brayden King, a professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School, reports otherwise. King, along with others, feels that boycotts and consumer activism are actually transforming entire industries.