When influencers promote a brand, it can be great for business, but legal and reputational damage can result if the relationship goes awry. Shepherd and Wedderburn is hosting a series of webinars to help businesses avoid potential pitfalls.
Carly Duckett, Counsel on Shepherd and Wedderburn’s Commercial Disputes team, will be on the Expert Panel for the first webinar on October 6th.
She says that attitudes towards marketing and advertising have changed in the wake of the digital age. Where businesses once relied on traditional forms of advertising, they are now turning to social media.
This also includes the use of influencers. But without a contractual agreement covering their relationship, it can be a risky move. Carly says, “If someone was sent a brand’s product to try, the influencer might create a positive post about that product, and the brand might want to repost that image. However, there is a risk that an influencer might later object to reposting, or a brand might object to the influencer continuing to promote their products.”
The reasons why a relationship fails can be complex, but brands and influencers can mitigate this risk with a formalized agreement laid out right at the start of any relationship.
Carly says, “The influencer might start collaborating with other brands that don’t want the influencer promoting a competitor, or the brand itself might decide that the influencer is no longer right for them. For this reason, we would recommend establishing a contractual relationship and setting limits on what can be shared, reposted or reused so that everyone involved understands their rights.”
It might seem like this is limited to the world of celebrities on reality TV shows, but it can encompass big tech companies, gardening, and even home improvement.
And Carly warns that while social media posts are readily available and easy to repost, there is a real risk that brands will get into trouble. “It’s very easy to post a picture of a person and not all brands are aware of the risks. For example, a marketing team may not take everything to legal advice. If there is no written agreement, the legal situation can be less clear and there is a risk of becoming involved in a legal dispute.
“In addition to the serious potential legal consequences, a dispute can also cause reputational damage.”
Resharing images is the biggest risk, but there are also potential issues with reusing words that have described a brand’s products. Carly adds: “Both sides have an image to protect, and short-term thinking when you repost can have a long-lasting effect. That is why our team of experts is there to advise you right from the start.”
Carly and her team are experts in this fast-growing field and are hosting a two-part webinar series to help brands work with online platforms.
In the first session you will cover:
– Copyright infringement on social media
– How to manage influencer relationships
– How to avoid disputes in product promotion
In the second session the topics are:
– Legal Grounds to Dispute or Object to Offensive Online Content
– Regulating fraudulent online advertising
– How best to deal with objectionable online content
Readers can register their interest in the first part, which takes place on Thursday, October 6 at 10 a.m., here: https://shepwedd.com/event/online-platforms-working-influencers-part-1