MSL, Publicis Groupe's leading global public relations and influencer marketing agency, made four measurable commitments to address the lack of diversity and other inequalities affecting influencers who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) by the end of 2020. Through its proprietary influencer marketing platform Fluency, MSL has embraced human intelligence, machine learning and a scalable tech stack to create the most sophisticated influencer engagement and management platform in the world. MSL is now using that platform to implement diversity, inclusion and equal pay measures to create a more diverse and inclusive industry.
Influencers are among the most visible, creative and impactful media platforms today. The influencer marketing industry is projected to be valued at $15 billion by 20221 cementing its place as a core communications channel for brands. With the most expansive database of influencers in the United States and most sophisticated influencer management and engagement platform, MSL, through Fluency, is in a unique position to take tangible and measurable steps towards improving diversity, inclusion and equity in the influencer marketing industry at large.
"We believe it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to make Fluency the most inclusive, diverse, fair and transparent influencer marketing platform in the industry," said Bryan Pedersen, Chief Innovation Officer at MSL. "We want to lift up influencers of color because not only is it the right thing to do, it is also what is best for brands as consumers expect better representation and voices resembling their own."
Creating and promoting more diverse influencers presents an opportunity for brands to reach new audiences. A survey2 by Influencer Marketing Hub found that 82% of consumers would take the recommendation of an influencer. But a lack of diversity within influencer platforms means companies are missing large potential audiences. A 2018 Nielsen report3 states African Americans make up 14% of the U.S. population with a spending power of $1.54 trillion and are 44% more likely than white peers to engage with brands or support them in social media.
As part of the commitments, MSL is partnering with The Influencer League, a community dedicated to educating, equipping and empowering influencers to reach their full potential, from growing followers to monetizing content.
"We are excited to partner with MSL and support their ongoing efforts to reverse the lack of equality and limited access that BIPOC influencers have within the industry," said Brittany Bright, founder of The Influencer League. "Together, we'll help empower them through top-tier education, community and opportunity."
MSL is focused on executing four critical commitments immediately, including the following:
Increase the discoverability and the number of diverse influencers within the Fluency platform and improve how we measure and optimize diversity in influencer engagement through true tracking metrics.
- In 2020, introduce new technology within Fluency to include secure, opt-in collection of influencer demographic data that is not provided through the social platforms tracking diversity data and improving discoverability of diverse influencers in planning and execution
- Continually add diverse influencers to the Fluency database in the United States – through 2021 add at least 10,000 vetted BIPOC influencers to Fluency through ongoing community engagement, including a new partnership with The Influencer League, an organization focused on empowering diverse influencers
Actively support equal access to opportunities for diverse influencers by recommending – as a matter of course – more diverse and reflective influencer representation in our clients' marketing efforts.
- Prioritize demographic and psychographic analytics in the planning processes to make data driven decisions about diversity-based influencer inclusion and goals
- Incorporate education on the value-add and impact of influencer diversity – across race, gender, sexual orientation and experience – in all client and internal Fluency and influencer marketing channel training
Create the best practice approach to drive pay parity in the influencer marketing industry.
- In 2020, partner with The Influencer League to conduct and announce the results of study examining BIPOC influencer pay comparisons, as well as their industry experience
- Recent data from a survey conducted by The Influencer League in 2020 shows that 94% of Black influencers felt they were compensated below average market rates
- In 2021, establish first-of-its-kind benchmarks for influencer pay, integrated into Fluency for use across all programs and engagements
Give BIPOC influencers access to leading learning resources that support their career development and professional journeys
- Sponsor full 2020 tuition for 1000 BIPOC influencers to attend The Influencer League's six-week Masterclass covering influencer branding and core value, social media growth, working with brands and monetization strategies
- Provide individualized support around data analytics to all influencers of color who seek it; formalize the offering to include open-access online resources by 2021