Bord Bia’s Brand Forum

Bord Bia’s Brand Forum held an ‘Influencer Marketing Workshop’ recently and to follow is a synopsis of the learnings from the day.

Social Media & Influencer Trends 2019

  • 2.3million people in Ireland are on social media, with 9/10 accessing platforms on smartphone
  • Irish consumers are still very interested in ‘traditional’ media i..e print & radio and trust these sources most, but influencer marketing is on the rise
  • Search engine results trusted the least – influencers in the midpoint.
  • Instagram is king – but Facebook has not vanished with the highest number of active users still on this platform.
  • Micro-influencers favoured – more authentic, affordable, highly engaged audiences
  • Longer-term relationships between brands and influencers – No more single posts, look to integrate over a long period of time, grow relationship and audience trust.
  • Brand values not influencer reach is what is important – look for shared values
  • Product extensions – rise in Influencers releasing product ranges e.g. food, technology
  • Rise of Audio – episodic content, podcasting

Evolution of Influencer Marketing

  • Trust, authenticity and transparency are key
  • Trust has been eroded in recent years – brands need to choose collaborators wisely and clearly mark collaboration as advertising (see ASAI guidelines).
  • Irish brands spending more on influencers than ever but traditional media still the most popular method and most trusted among the public (Print, Radio)
  • Events are not mandatory – direct collaboration can be more effective & yield better results
  • Consider how you can use employees as ambassadors

Incorporating Influencer Marketing into a Communications Strategy

Top tips:

  1. Always start with the communications strategy. Know your audience and what you are trying to achieve and only at that point consider if influencer marketing should be included as a tactic.
  2. If influencer marketing is deemed appropriate, research and understand the influencers who can best connect with your audience and best represent your brand in an authentic way.
  3. Do not base your decision on reach alone. Micro influencers with niche, engaged audiences can be way more effective in communicating about your brand than macro influencers with very large followings.
  4. Decide whether paid-for (sponsored posts) or earned (product drops, press trips or events) is the best approach. Know the difference and assess which is most relevant within the budget you have available.
  5. Online audiences are incredibly savvy and expect full transparency and disclosure in brand collaborations.
  6. Familiarise yourself with ASAI guidelines and ensure all influencer engagement uses the appropriate hashtags – #ad #spon etc. and has copy clear approval if relating to a drinks brand.
  7. Prepare a detailed brief in advance of any collaboration which clearly outlines the campaign messaging, timelines, social media handles and hashtags.
  8. Ensure terms of engagement are clear and contracts are signed in advance including reference to sign-off procedures and exclusivity clauses.
  9. Discuss measurement tactics in advance with the influencer to understand how the campaign will be assessed on conclusion.
  10. Protect your brand against an over-reliance on Instagram – the social channel of the moment – by also hosting content on an owned website or blog. This will ensure that the content created for the campaign has longevity and is owned by your brand, rather than the social media channel.
  11. Influencers do not need to be external. Assess how your brand can encourage your own employees to become ambassadors, and ultimately influencers for your brand. Their voice will be the most authentic.
  12. Make sure you are always monitoring and evaluating content to ensure the correct tone of voice is being used and that any collaboration is fully transparent.
  13. Remember that no one size fits all. You know your brand and you are best placed to decide the best people to represent that brand on your behalf.

Sourcing influencers

How to contact:

  • Directly – many prefer direct communication – email rather than DM’s on social recommended
  • Through influencer agencies e.g. Andrea Roche, The Collaborations Agency


  • Must be the right fit for the brand
  • Creativity & variety are key
  • Selected influencers need to believe in your product
  • Brands must stay engaged and get the influencer engaged in the process
  • Be clear about expectations
  • Be flexible!
  • For product drops – contact influencers in advance of any formal approach to gauge their interest (& to coordinate logistics where necessary e.g. product drops)

Two main ways of working with influencers:


  • Product drops and gifting, events, press trips
  • A low-cost and effective way to reach out to potential influencers
  • No control – recipients may or may not post about a product
  • Make sure to personalise (reference Lir Chocolates case study)
  • Consider if an event is necessary – if so ensure it contains an experiential element

Paid Collaborations

  • Make sure they are the right fit for the brand
  • Ensure your content is relevant to influencer’s audience
  • Leverage all social channels available and any other associations e.g. print articles
  • Trust the creator – they know best

Terms of Engagement

  • Background check – ensure you have done your research in advance
  • Prepare a detailed brief and contractual agreement
  • Transparency and disclosure, per ASAI guidelines – Influencers ‘acting as publisher’ when contractually working on behalf of a brand so need to disclose clearly.
  • Post-activity evaluation
  • Terms of payment
  • Irish Food Writers’ Guild, Guide to Best Practice

Measurement & Evaluation

Set KPI’s from beginning which can include:

  • Visibility – impressions, reach
  • Engagement – reactions, comments
  • Content – Quality of content, dwell time
  • Revenue – Direct link to visitors
  • Ask to see full metrics report post-influencer activity

Join industry colleagues at the next Brand Forum event on the evening of Wed. 22nd May to be informed and inspired on ‘Building Enduring Brands’……..perspectives on purpose, capability, sustainability and growth; with presentations from Kelly Rafferty, Kellogg; VP Global Marketing Capability, Centre of Excellence & Tom Stancliffe, TRIBE Performance Nutrition; Co-Founder

Influencer Marketing References & contributions

  • Core Media
  • WHPR
  • Patrick Hanlon & Russell Halford, The Gastro Gays
  • Sooby Lynch, Standing By The Wall
  • Sinead Delahunty, Delicious Food
  • Gemma Smyth Public relations
  • Caroline Hennessy, Secretary, Irish Food Writers Guild
  • Colin Harmon, 3FE
  • Simon Broderick, McGargles/Rye River