Hustle or hype: which word would you use to describe the career of an influencer?Most would choose the second option for a simple reason: the job of an influencer seems easy.
Free products, luxurious brand trips, and the potential for 6-figure-payouts are certainly attractive. Still, according to Karim Leduc, the founder of Dulcedo Management, who represents talent such as influencers, content creation is not just fun and games.
“People think influencers have one job: to post pictures, but it’s more than that. They work quite hard for their money, and there are many layers of complexity to it. It’s basically starting a small company.”
Back in 2015, Dulcedo Management was among the first agencies to formally represent and manage influencers, which was considered a risk at the time.
Ultimately, Leduc’s gamble paid off. According to the most recent data, today’s influencer marketing industry is estimated to be worth $13.8 billion, and by 2023, brands are expected to spend $4 billion on creator partnerships.
But why are brands investing so much money into influencer marketing and partnerships?
Leduc hypothesizes that today’s generations are simply less susceptible to traditional advertising.
“Generation Z is born with natural immunity to ad banners. Influencers testifying on behalf of a product or brand is infinitely more effective, especially if it’s organic.”
As more brands seek paid partnerships, influencers, especially ones with larger followings, opt to hire agents, like those on Leduc’s team at Dulcedo Management, to represent the business side of these deals, like invoicing, project management, and deal negotiations.
But over the years, Leduc and his team observed a major pain point: managing deals between influencers, brands, and agents was an administrative nightmare.
This problem inspired Leduc to spin off a new business venture called KickFlo, an influencer management tool that, unlike similar solutions, looks out for the creator's best interest.
Leduc and his team mandated HalfSerious to build the app.
“KickFlo protects the influencer, whereas the other existing tools protect their clients. We’re coming from a radical point of view,” says Leduc.
Protecting influencers from financial risk is also a big motivator to the team at KickFlo.
“Sometimes influencers do the work and the brands never pay and suddenly vanish.”
Ultimately, KickFlo seeks to legitimize, protect, and empower the influencer to manage their business, whether it’s independent or in collaboration with an agent.
As for where the creator economy is headed, Leduc says it will become ultra-competitive to become a well-paid and authoritative influencer as the creator market has become overly saturated.
This will mean that while brands continue to do business with influencers, deals will need to be more systematic, which ultimately calls for management tools like KickFlo.
Fortunately, HalfSerious is working hard to deliver KickFlo’s MVP, which will most likely start as an invitation-only innovation software.