The recent incident in which Samsung asked its guest bloggers to wear their uniform or be sent back home is appalling. It shows how some people think they can buy influencers with tickets and free passes. In the course of my PR and digital marketing career, I have dealt with dozens of media persons, bloggers, and influencers. In every instance of engagement, we have always strived to treat them as our guests. We try to remember that they are doing us a favour not the other way round.
Expecting influencers to become your brand ambassadors is a threat to their credibility and in the long term does no benefit to either the bloggers or your organisation. We need to acknowledge the fact that the influencers are what they are because of their independence.
I have mentioned before that digital engagement teams need to adhere to WOMMA ethics. ArHowever, here the case is not just about not adhering to these ethics. It is also about being plain rude and having a lack of common sense, if those emails and phone calls actually happened. And knowing fully well that there is no copy desk editor and bloggers can tweet, write, post whatever they want.
Even the WOMMA guidelines are just common sense. The key guidelines say that we must disclose our identities and any payment being done. Also, to add to this, we can ask a blogger to review our product but cant dictate what is being written.
All the more reason for organisations to have strong digital managers and agencies who can stand up for what is right and wrong and not yield to pressure from above.
Maybe if the briefing document and invitation have been clearer, or if discussions were held prior with expectations agreed, it could have saved this mess.