Unilever has called on companies in the food and beverage industry to follow ethical marketing practices by encouraging greater transparency from digital influencers.
Influencers are becoming increasingly important for companies who are trying to reach new consumers through social media platforms, but Unilever has raised concerns about bad practices in the industry such as fake followers, bots or other dishonest business models that “erode trust in the whole ecosystem.”
Unilever says it will work with social media platforms to increase transparency in the marketing space to create more authentic and honest experiences for consumers and “combat fraud in the digital ecosystem.”
To meet this goal, Unilever has made three commitments: The company will not work with influencers who buy followers; its brands will never buy followers; and will prioritise partners who are transparent and honest about their marketing practices.
Keith Weed, Unilever’s chief marketing officer said: “In February, I said we needed to rebuild trust back into our digital ecosystems and wider society. One of the ways we can do that is to increase integrity and transparency in the influencer space. We need to address this through responsible content, responsible platforms and responsible infrastructure.
“At Unilever, we believe influencers are an important way to reach consumers and grow our brands. Their power comes from a deep, authentic and direct connection with people, but certain practices like buying followers can easily undermine these relationships.
“Today we are announcing clear commitments to support and maintain the authenticity and trust of influencer marketing.
“The key to improving the situation is three-fold: cleaning up the influencer ecosystem by removing misleading engagement; making brands and influencers more aware of the use of dishonest practices, and improving transparency from social platforms to help brands measure impact.
“We need to take urgent action now to rebuild trust before it’s gone forever.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019