Thought Leadership

Gravity Thinking

How brands can mitigate risk

Michaela McIntyre, Gravity Thinking

Head of Social


Gravity Thinking - How brands can mitigate risk
The YouTube influencer Logan Paul

What a year 2017 was for influencer marketing! 87% of marketers allocated more budget to influencers last year (up 26% YoY) and it’s not difficult to understand why. With ad-blocking up at an all time high and trust in advertising at an all time low, it stands to reason that brands are clambering to reach their consumers with content they want through the people they trust most.

But it all still feels a little like the Wild West out there. Following recent fiascos such as Logan Paul filming a victim in Japan’s suicide forest, PewDiePie’s anti-Semitic comments and racist slurs in live streams and Belle Gibson faking brain cancer to grow a following, brands are naturally thinking more about how to manage the risk that can be involved when working with them.

Brands, understandably, don’t want their reputation or brand health damaged by proxy if an influencer they are working with becomes a PR disaster and brands don’t want their ads appearing on their content either. Platforms like YouTube, in my opinion, have not done enough to promote brand safety and indeed, the length of time it took YouTube to respond to Logan Paul's disaster really surprised me.

It’s clear that risk mitigation is up to us and brand owners should work with their agencies, legal teams and internal teams to ensure that they’re doing everything they can to manage risk effectively.

Key take outs:

  • Qualification during selection. Use a reputable selection tool to assess whether or not the influencer's audience is appropriate for you to work with. There is no point in a tequila brand working with a fashion blogger whose audience is mostly under age. Check their history beyond a quick Google and look at their content & partnership pipeline for at least the next 3-6 months.
  • Contractual rigour. Morality clauses. We put them into celebrity contracts, why aren’t we doing it for influencers? Consider adding a time clause too stating a date when the influencer needs to take the content down. Don’t forget to negotiate copyright of the content too. As a minimum, ensure the brand has copyright during the campaign period and that it is handed back after to you afterwards.
  • Crisis planning. Have a documented process developed with your social and PR agencies. Make sure the influencer is aware of how you will handle a crisis and what you expect from them if the worst happens.
  • Live monitoring. Don’t leave this entirely to someone else after you’ve seen the content go live. Ensure you make time to monitor the influencer, the content and the community reaction to it, even if you’re just checking in once a day.


    Read the report here


    Michaela MacIntyre, Head of Social, Gravity Thinking,                                              

    Guest Author

    Michaela McIntyre, Gravity Thinking

    Head of Social,


    Michaela has been working in digital & social for 10 years and oversees all projects ranging from social strategy, content planning, content creation, content distribution, community management and influencer marketing at Gravity Thinking. She has been named one of the top 100 digital marketing professionals by The British Interactive Media Association, been shortlisted for the Women In Marketing Awards and having grown a following of over 400k on Pinterest is one of Pinterest’s top contributors and part of their Pin Collective. As part of her own enrichment she recently concepted, produced and marketed her own drinks brand in order to learn more about bringing a brand to life through influencers and social.

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