Its name is The&Collective and its parent is WPP’s communications group, The&Partnership.
The new talent agency will partner brands with influencers on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
It kicks off with Unilever as one of its clients and aims to answer the growing demand from marketers to with authentic social talent.
Recent studies show 75% of marketers are now investing in influencer marketing (Augur). 60% of brands say they will increase the amount they spend on it in 2015-16 (Adweek).
Research into the profitability of influencer marketing reveals that businesses make an average of AU$13 for every AU$2 spent on influencer marketing (Tomoson). That customers acquired through social influencers have a 37% higher retention rate. And that brands using the power of social influencers are seeing up to a 10x increase in conversion rates (McKinsey).
The&Collective will be the only end-to-end service agency in the industry, from scouting and managing talent through to working with brands on the final output of their campaigns. This sets it apart from existing talent agencies, which represent up-and-coming YouTubers, but not brands.
Jenny Halpern Prince, founder of PR agency Halpern, who will head up The&Collective, said: “It’s no secret – the world is shifting to social media. And consequently there has been an increase in brands wanting to invest in influencer marketing – they are realising that digital influencers can reach and influence millions of engaged followers. The&Collective is more than matching digital influencers with brands, though – we will use our creative and brand storytelling expertise to help craft the ideas. Unlike a traditional ‘talent management’ operation, we are not a middle man – we are the catalyst for creative brand communications.”
Halpern’s recent Lady Garden Campaign in association with The Gynaecological Cancer Fund and Topshop brought together influencers, Alexa Chung, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Cara Delevingne, on Instagram to raise awareness of the symptoms of gynaecological cancer. The campaign reached over 40m people on Instagram within 24 hours – more than the combined circulations of the UK’s ten biggest print publications.
The&Partnership founder Johnny Hornby commented, “There are agents and there are traditional talent management companies out there, but I can’t see anyone else doing this. Jenny and her team are already signing up an unfair share of the influencer talent, and the brands we’re working with across The&Partnership can see the scale of reach and engagement offered by digital influencers who are already admired and trusted by thousands of followers.”
The&Collective’s influencer roster already includes Maddie Bruce, Lucy Flight, Blake Steven, Charlotte Hole, Sarah Ashcroft, Tia Ward, Jodie Porteous. The agency will offer them rewards such as a data-driven rewards programme, remunerating them on a commission basis for sales driven directly by their content.