Influencer marketing has become the cornerstone of marketing strategy in Indonesia. A survey with senior marketers in Indonesia conducted by R3 revealed that 84% currently spend up to 40% of their overall digital budget on KOL marketing.

The increase in influencer marketing budget and complexity in the social media ecosystem calls for greater accountability on the part of marketers. Frameworks need to be in place that can drive effectiveness in spend and performance, and deliver on KPIs.

Source: R3, August 2023

Shared Values for a Strong Foundation

Brands who wish to work effectively with influencers and creators should first focus on finding an authentic alignment on values. The greatest currency in the creator economy is the trust of followers. Influencers are becoming more selective about the brands with which they choose to partner, with 37% of creators prioritizing an affiliation with the brand’s values and purpose.

Inversely, brands must also carefully curate partnerships with influencers whose ethos resonates with their own. This synergy, when genuine, will permeate through every piece of content and cultivate an aura of authenticity that strikes a chord with consumers. Today’s discerning audiences readily spot inauthenticity, and any semblance of deception risks tarnishing both creator and brand credibility. Authenticity is the linchpin, and maintaining it is paramount for fostering trust with audiences.

Creative freedom is a value that signposts successful brand partnerships. Brands who can prioritize storytelling over salesmanship will reap the rewards of creator content that evokes emotion, ignites curiosity, and invites engagement, This is content that delivers on ROI, and goes beyond simple product placements. However, before creators can use a brand’s platform to infuse their unique artistic touch and tell their individual stories, a level of trust must be achieved that can only come from shared values.

Building Creator Partnership Programs

Establishing a brand-creator partnership with various considerations across creativity, engagement, and measurement can be a challenge. Using R3’s Creator Partnership Program framework, we explore aspects that will support your brand in driving business growth and marketing effectiveness.

  1. Define the Best Model

There are generally two differentiated models when it comes to working with creators. These are underpinned by how a brand values its creator partnerships. Is the value in the volume of content and engagement? Or the quality of the content?

  • Establishing owned-platforms or partnering with external vendors to service a large number of influencers/creators. This can be viewed as a kind of talent management system.
  • Establishing self-service platforms to manage the long-tail of influencer/creator engagement with minimal human touch and automation.
  1. Decide on Level of Brand Contribution
  • Collaboration: Brands work in partnership with creators to develop products or experiences. Some formats include sponsored content, brand partnerships or co-creation initiatives.
  • Empowerment: Brands provide creators with opportunities and resources to grow their personal brands. This includes access to events, mentorship, training,
  • Monetization: Brands monetize creations through sponsorship deals, product placements, or revenue-sharing models. This is one of the key factors for greater long-term sustainability in creator partnerships.
  1. Agree on Criteria for Success

Depending on your business goals and partnership objectives, criteria will defer. Two things that should always be considered are:

  • Creator Target Fit: Percentage of a creator’s audience that overlaps with your target audience.
  • Creator Market Fit: The ability of your product to solve a creator’s pain point and retain that creator on your platform as an engaged user.

Case Study

L’Oréal Insider Program

L’Oréal is focused on building long-term partnerships with influencers and creators who are driven by the shared passion for beauty. They believe that influencers will help their brands connect with consumers in a more personalized method, paving the way to closer brand-consumer relationships.

True to L’Oréal commitment of respect towards all people and celebrating beauty in all its diversity, they collaborate with influencers and creators of all genders, backgrounds, skin types and walks of life. The nature of L’Oréal’s vast range of products also means that their audience spans generations, culture, and interests. Each creator is selected based on criteria such as target fit, market fit, brand values, and influence.

L’Oréal has a team of in-house influencer managers who work closely with agency partners to manage the large quantity of influencers across the various regions.

They provide many opportunities for collaboration and empowerment, including access to beauty-related workshops and training sessions conducted by L’Oréal’s beauty experts, exclusive industry events and launches, and the latest in beauty innovations. While they may not provide direct remuneration, L’Oréal covers travel, accommodation, and related costs when they invite influencers to their events. There is also the possibility of being featured in L’Oréal marketing campaigns or ads.


R3 Best Practice for Creator Marketing

The demand for content in a platform world has led to a greater need for strategy and accountability in influencer/creator marketing. Budgets reflect this importance. To help marketers face the challenge of this new domain, here are three best practices to affect real change.

  1. Ensure your teams have a comprehensive understanding of the creator landscape, and any evolutions in that space. Hold annual landscape studies of the entire ecosystem, including agencies and their influencers, platforms and changes in technology, cultural shifts and buying habits.
  1. Establish a 360 Creator Performance Management Process. This covers a review and alignment of your influencer/creator model with overall business goals; an assessment of internal and external ways of working; validation of creator governance, and development of clear evaluation frameworks.
  1. Review your creator marketing ecosystem. This includes your in-house talent, external agency partners, platforms and tools utilized, agency compensation models and creator remuneration system.

By Shufen Goh, Co-founder & Principal, R3