KRIS­TEN LEAMAN

Founder of Indie Col­lab­o­rates

Harper's Bazaar (Singapore) - - THE NEWS -

Af­ter mov­ing to Sin­ga­pore from Syd­ney in 2014, Kris­ten Leaman soon founded Indie Col­lab­o­rates, the city’s first cre­ative and tal­ent man­age­ment agency for the so­cial me­dia and on­line in­flu­encer in­dus­try. At that point, it wasn’t re­ally much of an in­dus­try at all. To­day, the busi­ness boasts about 20 highly bank­able lo­cal in­flu­encers with di­verse aes­thet­ics and USPs, in­clud­ing Is­abel Tan (@pret­tyfrowns), Sav­ina Chai (@sav­inachaiyj) and Christa­bel Chua (@bel­ly­welly­jelly). You could call Leaman the dig­i­tal power bro­ker, con­nect­ing the right client to the right tal­ent. Think: The time she helped Chua lever­age on her pas­sion for beauty into part­ner­ships with Guer­lain and Ben­e­fit Cos­met­ics. What were some of the chal­lenges you faced upon en­ter­ing the in­flu­encer in­dus­try? Ini­tially, I had a lot of meet­ings where peo­ple were more fas­ci­nated with find­ing out what I was do­ing in Sin­ga­pore and where I’m from (I’m Aus­tralian), as op­posed to find­ing out which in­flu­encers they should be col­lab­o­rat­ing with and why. Brands were hes­i­tant and ex­plained that their bud­gets were tied up with tra­di­tional me­dia. I faced a lot of re­jec­tion in the early days, but I didn’t let that de­ter me. I knew in­flu­encer mar­ket­ing was go­ing to stick around and I knew it was go­ing to grow. Even­tu­ally, brands couldn’t ig­nore it and they started fac­tor­ing in­flu­encer mar­ket­ing in with their strate­gies. Has en­dors­ing what­ever brand that comes along be­come a norm to­day? I per­son­ally feel that in 2017, an in­flu­encer can work for lux­ury brands and work for more com­mer­cial brands, as long as they stay true to their own style and are gen­uinely in­ter­ested in the brands or prod­ucts they choose to work with. This is where so­cial me­dia has turned tra­di­tional norms up­side down, and I love it. I feel it is a thing of the past to be purely cat­e­gorised as “lux­ury” and there­fore you can only be seen work­ing with “luxe” la­bels. This is just not the re­al­ity for most peo­ple. How has in­flu­encer mar­ket­ing evolved? In­flu­encer mar­ket­ing has be­come much more tar­geted and lo­calised. Brands are be­com­ing more strate­gic with who they are choos­ing to align them­selves with. They have dis­cov­ered it is not al­ways about large au­di­ences, it is about whether their au­di­ence is the right fit and if the in­flu­encer is aligned with their brand and their be­liefs. It can be in­cred­i­bly dis­rup­tive to the more tra­di­tional meth­ods; es­pe­cially when brands have strict guide­lines, cam­paign mes­sages and KPIs to be hit. But if they re­search their in­flu­encers and see a good fit, they need to trust that he or she will in­te­grate the mes­sage into some­thing that also feels nat­u­ral to them.

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