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10! EST. 2009


WE B THIS IND

Ten years ago, we starte Influencer Marketing has

Influencer Image by Pink Wings for Famous Footwear 2 REALCLEVER.COM


BUILT DUSTRY

ed something CLEVER. s never been the same.


Influencer Image by Live Love Simple for Angel Soft

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WE BELIEVED WE COULD, SO WE DID! Ten years ago no one knew how to find and properly vet influencers, let alone work with them. We built a highly curated influencer network and, in parallel, an agency designed to support and promote their stunning work. Ten years ago, no one knew you could measure influencer programs, let alone how. We engineered the first sponsored content program wrap reports, with metrics and analytics methodologies that have become industry standards. Ten years ago, Twitter and Facebook were uncharted territories, YouTube was up-and-coming, and Pinterest, Instagram and TikTok didn’t even exist. We built a model to support sponsored social content on any and every platform. And we measured it. Ten years ago, no one believed that Influencer Marketing was real, let alone positioned to become a $40B industry. But we did.


TEN YEARS AGO, INFLUENCER MARKETING WASN’T EVEN CALLED INFLUENCER MARKETING. WE ARE PROUD TO HAVE SPENT A DECADE CREATING, DEVELOPING, AND LEADING THE INDUSTRY AS WE KNOW IT.” STEFANIA POMPONI, CLEVER Founder

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Stefania Pomponi, CLEVER Founder


Influencer Image by @tiffanyish for Moose Toys

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WE’VE REMAINED TRUE TO OUR VISION & VALUES We’ve come a long way, but we’ve never strayed from our original vision: Real people tell the best brand stories. And belief in this core vision is why we’re still standing… while other influencer agencies and platforms have come and gone. We’ve delivered more influencer programs to more satisfied clients than anyone else in the business. We wrote the book on the subject. Literally! It’s called Influencer Marketing For Dummies (Wiley). We were the social team behind #BatKid. We have the most relationship equity with influencers, the most sophisticated agency-modeled platform, and the most robust influencer metrics on the market. Most importantly, we have a near 90% return-client rate. We’re here because we love our partners, we love our influencers, and we absolutely love what we do.


ALL OF OUR SUCCESS CAN BE TRACED TO THE DECISION, 10 YEARS AGO, TO ONLY WORK WITH PEOPLE WHO SHARE OUR VALUES.” CAT LINCOLN, CLEVER Founder

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Cat Lincoln, CLEVER Founder


Influencer Image by @missmoorestyle for Foster Grant

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WE ARE DIFFERENT AND ALWAYS HAVE BEEN We started ten years ago with the belief that real people tell the best brand stories. But that’s not all. We also believed — and still do — that Influencer Marketing is about authentic engagement (bigger isn’t always better), influencers should be carefully vetted (check out our white paper on how we identify fake followers), Influencer Marketing has KPIs that can and should always be measured, and sponsored content should always be disclosed. Our culture is unique. We value authenticity and exceptionalism. We hire the people who are the best at what they do — no matter where they live — and we take the time to understand individual work styles and communications preferences. We place a high priority on being experts in Influencer Marketing, and we proudly share that expertise with our clients. We built CLEVER on these principles ten years ago, and they still hold true today.


NO ONE CAN MAKE A BRAND MORE COMPELLING THAN A TRUE PRODUCT ADVOCATE. INFLUENCER RESONATES BETTER THAN ANYTHING A BRAND ALONE CAN PRODUCE.” KRISTY SAMMIS, CLEVER Founder

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Kristy Sammis, CLEVER Founder


WHAT WE BELIEVE HASN’T CHANGED OVER THE PAST TEN YEARS AND WON’T CHANGE FOR THE NEXT TEN, AND BEYOND.

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Influencer Image by For When She Roams for Expedia


THE #GLOWUP We’ve been through some big changes over the past decade — including a brand shift from Clever Girls Collective to CLEVER — but what hasn’t changed is our commitment to moving the influencer industry forward.

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2009

2012

2015

2016


10 FUN FACTS ABOUT CLEVER Our very FIRST TWO EMPLOYEES are still with CLEVER.

Our FIRST CLIENT went on to be Real Housewife of New York: Heather Thomson of Yummie Tummie!

Our first platform was named “FANNY” because it was our back-end. (We know it means something different in Britain.)

WE ONCE HAD AN OFFICE, but we closed it after we realized remote team-building was possible (and our office flooded — it was a sign). 20 REALCLEVER.COM

GIG

We came VERY CLOSE to launching as “Get It Girls.”


R

Founders Cat and Stefania were BFFs (AND BLOGGERS) even before launching CLEVER; since then, we’ve hired partners, spouses, siblings, neighbors… even one of our dance teachers! We work with people we love!

We once hosted a giant party called “I’M WITH THE BRAND.” We dressed as rockstars.

BRI

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We use Slack for work and play: Our favorite NON-WORK channels are #butmakeitfashun #murdersandmysteries, and #whatsforlunch

FOUR MEMBERS of our staff have been named Bri.

EVERY PHOTO we use in our materials comes from our influencer programs.


WE'VE PAID INDEPENDENT INFLUENCERS $9.8 MILLION 22 REALCLEVER.COM


Influencer Image by KO Tuttle for PayPal


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WHO WE WORK WITH

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Since 2009, we’ve worked with many different kinds of clients from non-profits to Fortune 100 brands. We've also hired influencers across a variety of verticals like, beauty, fashion, food, lifestyle, professional athletes, and pets! Our specialty is connecting consumer packaged goods brands and services with dynamic and diverse women-focused audiences.

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Influencer Images by 1 Being Summer Shore for NFL 2 Fare Isle for Prairie Organic Vodka · 3 @chelseehood for Play-Doh 4 Bird's Party for Brawny · 5 @nelson_yong for Amazon 6 Friday We're In Love for Dixie

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WE'VE RUN OVER 10,000 INFLUENCER PROGRAM ACTIVATIONS 26 REALCLEVER.COM


Influencer Image by Global Munchkins for Sport Court


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THE CLEVER PROCESS The processes we created ten years ago have become the de facto operating standards for our industry — and we couldn’t be prouder! If you’ve ever: • Consulted with an Influencer Marketing expert on how to achieve the best results for your programs •

Had your content creation programs broken down into specific actions that match your KPIs

Approved influencers from a vetted list

Created a scope of work for influencers to follow

Had influencers sign a contract

Asked an influencer to install a tracking pixel on their site

It’s because of the work CLEVER pioneered a decade ago. Influencer Images by 1 Cameron Proffitt for Wilson Creek Winery 2 Cute & Little for PG&E · 3 @charleneizere for Tillamook 4 Liv Loves Leo for Vacasa · 5 Ready To Stare for PayPal 6 Elisabeth McKnight for Office Depot · 7 @nextwithnita for NFL

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#BATKID: CLEVER POWERED TH NON-POLITICAL EVENT TO UNF ON TWITTER...EVER! 30 REALCLEVER.COM


HE BIGGEST FOLD LIVE


ONE CLEVER TEAM OUR TEAM. OUR CLIENTS. OUR NETWORK MEMBERS. They are all integral parts of our business. Relationships inside and outside of CLEVER establish our reputation and contribute to our success. We believe we are in service of three constituents: our employees, our clients, and our network. That all begins with the people who show up to work at CLEVER every day.

CLEVER is a distributed company, which means we all work from home, all over the country!

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HOW AND WHO WE HIRE The CLEVER team is made up of high-performing, values-driven badasses. What do we have in common? We love a challenge. We have each others’ backs. We take initiative. We speak up. We strive to be exceptional. We believe diversity makes us a stronger, better company. We hire people who are encouraged to show up as their authentic selves every single day, and who have the courage to be extraordinary. At CLEVER, we treat our team members like adults. There’s no PTO; take time off if you need it. No 360º reviews; feedback is given 24/7. No waiting a year for a raise or bonus; we encourage spot bonuses and promotions when warranted, not according to an arbitrary timeline.

We encourage working together whenever possible, and we do! We gather in co-working spaces, cafes, and at each others' homes.

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CLEVER CORPORATE VALUES � EMPOWER WOMEN � BE AUTHENTIC � BE EXCEPTIONAL

Slack connects our virtual office, but there is nothing like being together in person!

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1

10 YEA BEING C

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We have learned a lot in 10 year pioneers and leaders. We’ve had h learning, alwa

We asked our core teams to refle about what they’ve learned. The fol of those reflections, and in true CL those results

5

Influencer Images by 1 Essentially Erika for CLIF · 2 The Traveling Child fo 4 Sensible Stylista for BB&T · 5 @matthew_nadu for Decoy Wines · 6 Tyno

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ARS OF CLEVER

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rs of being Influencer Marketing hits and misses, but we’re always ays growing.

ect on our past decade and think llowing seven pages are the results LEVER fashion, we’d like to share s with YOU!

or Smile Generation · 3 Darling in the City for Dove ology for creditrepair.com

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10!

TOP 10 BIGGES MARKETING IN

The WHY of Influencer Marketing hasn’t c story. Here are the biggest changes we’ve

1

There is no more debate about compens a must. You get what you pay for, and no cheap content. Influencers know their wo hard to grow their value.

2

We started by sponsoring long-form blog had a photo. Now everything is visual, an everyone’s favorite medium. (How many your friends today?)

3

Brands have to be platform-agnostic. Pla users in waves, and their user demograph Marketing strategies need to stay nimble audiences because audiences are fickle.

4

For years, influencers have raced to be th perfect. But we’re seeing the pendulum s with more “amateur” content gaining trac always like pretty things, but they relate

5

We’ve moved away from celebrities! Bra can get so much more authentic content audiences from engaging mid-level and m

Influencer Image by 30A Mama for Bibigo

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ST CHANGES IN INFLUENCER N THE PAST 10 YEARS

changed much over the past decade. But the who, how, and where is a different e seen since the industry took off:

sating influencers — it’s o one benefits from worth today, and work

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Engagement matters more than size. Brands used to give a minimum follower count for influencers, and that was that. Now we’re measuring the impact of content by what people DO with it, instead of how many people might have seen it.

g posts that maybe nd short-form video is y GIFs have you sent

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We’re finally talking about fraud! This has always been an issue among influencers; many well known bloggers back in the day paid “click farms” to boost their audience numbers and drive their ad revenue. But as Influencer Marketing has grown in legitimacy, brands are taking a fresh look at fake followers, bad engagement ratios, bots, pods, and what constitutes bad behavior overall.

8

A few years ago, “technology” decided to get into the influencer game, and suddenly hundreds of Influencer Marketing platforms appeared. Everyone was in a mad dash to automate the client-influencer process.

9

No matter how hard you try, you CAN’T fully automate the Influencer Marketing process. We’ve happily arrived at a juncture where the biggest, baddest influencer programs require a complex mix of tech and human program management.

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Budgets have changed. Even as an agency, our compensation for our first programs included lipstick and candles. In 2020, influencer will be a $40B industry.

atforms gain and lose hics shift. Influencer e to reach the right

he MOST visually starting to swing back, ction. Audiences will to REAL most of all.

ands understand you t across a breadth of micro-level influencers.


10!

TOP 10 WAYS T CHANNELS TO

Over the past ten years, we’ve learned wh elements achieve different objectives:

1

Imagery: Visual imagery is reusable, share working with microinfluencers, affordable content for your investment.

2

Video: Videos can make brand messages taining, but high-quality videos come at a

3

Long-Form: Long-form content is best fo rytelling, recipes, listicles, how-to’s, and e

4

Short-Form: Short-form posts are quick a encers can share a coupon, promote a co engaging piece of content.

5

Instagram: The perfect channel for drivin the price climbs quickly with follower cou

Influencer Image by Liz Morrow for Decoy Wines

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TO COMBINE CONTENT AND ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS

hat content works where. Here’s a quick-hits guide to how different program

reable, and if you are e; you can get more

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Twitter: The best channel to achieve mass reach, tapping into the power of social sharing — every time someone Retweets, a whole new audience sees your brand message.

s emotional and entera premium.

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Facebook: The generalist — a good mix of clicks, reach, and engagement, as long as you are targeting millennials and older audiences.

8

Pinterest: Pins are searchable and have longevity; particularly effective for food, fashion, or DIY content.

9

Blogs: Blogs reach dedicated audiences now, and on an ongoing basis through search engines.

or more in-depth stoeducation.

and snappy — influontest, or amplify an

ng engagement, but unt.

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Youtube: YouTube is the platform for long-form video, but depending on the production value and number of subscribers, it is the most expensive channel.


10!

TOP 10 WAYS T INFLUENCER M All of our secrets for managing influencer

1

Always have the kickoff. Can you make it Even better.

2

Determine your top 2–3 priority paramet influencer partners. The longer the list, th

3

Be clear about your expectations. That m and documenting every detail for your in

4 5

Pay your influencers, and be fair about it.

Create a contract, and have the influence helps keep everyone accountable.

Influencer Image by Eleventh & Sixteenth for Cottonelle

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TO ENSURE A SUCCESSFUL MARKETING CAMPAIGN programs, brought to you on a silver platter. And the last one is by far the best.

t happen in person?

ters when vetting he smaller the pool.

means communicating nfluencers.

.

ers sign off on it. This

e

6

Tap your influencers’ creativity. They have amazing ideas, and if you give them the space to do so, they’ll bring your product/ service to life.

7

If your influencer ask is a little out of the ordinary, use a creative brief in addition to your instructions, and have a meeting to iron out the details.

8

Secure content usage rights from your influencers and share the content across your brand channels.

9

You get what you measure. Set qualitative goals for your program from the start.

10

Hire CLEVER.


10!

TOP 10 THINGS MANAGER WAN

We’ve seen it all and then we’ve seen it ag

1

Influencers are creative, but they aren’t y scale production team. Let go of your urg trol, and let authenticity shine.

2

We are your matchmakers. As long as the find the best influencers for the job.

3

The aggregate is more important than the waste your time tracking individual UTM and measure your results as a whole.

4

No one likes warm deli meat. It’s best not food items, even with all the dry ice in th sive, and we’ve seen enough warm deli m yogurt to scar us for life.

5

Influencer Marketing is not the same as d shouldn’t, and can’t, be treated or measu

Influencer Image by Mommy Diary for JCPenney Optica

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S YOUR ACCOUNT NTS YOU TO KNOW

gain. Here are 10 golden nuggets that all of our clients should know.

your traditional, fullge for complete con-

ey’re out there, we’ll

e individual. Don’t Ms — set overall goals

t to ship perishable he world. It’s expenmeat and curdled

digital advertising. It ured the same.

al

6

The best fit influencer isn’t always the one with the highest reach. Depending on your goals, remember to focus on other factors like who can tell an authentic story or who can produce high-quality content for your brand.

7

When it comes to audience authenticity, there’s no perfect formula, but a combination of human touch and technology is always a safe bet.

8

To best take advantage of influencer and word of mouth marketing, target lightly. Don’t limit the potential success of a program by putting up walls.

9

The results in your wrap report aren’t the end of your Influencer Marketing story. Content continues to live on and influence potential buyers.

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We are the OGs of the Influencer Marketing world. Trust us, and we’ll make magic.


10!

TOP 10 WAYS I METRICS CAN

We’ve always said, “You get what you mea goals and KPIs, and show both quantitativ

1

Reach: Reach helps you understand how encer has on a specific channel.

2

Potential Impressions: This tells you how members could see your content in their reach of your influencers the number of

3

Views: View data is available on videos a and shows you how many audience mem certain number of seconds (as set by the

4

Likes: Likes showcase that audiences are tent, but that it resonates with them.

5

Comments: In the comments, audience m interest in content, as well as their sentim encer or brand.

Marie Kondo, Image by Airyka Rockefeller for California

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INFLUENCER MARKETING MEASURE GOALS AND KPIs

asure.” There are myriad ways Influencer Marketing metrics can support your program ve and qualitative results. Set these program metrics and see what you get!

w many eyes an influ-

w many audience r feeds, based on the posts they share.

across social channels, mbers watched for a channel).

e not only seeing con-

members express ment about the influ-

a Closets

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Shares: A share shows that someone is giving a vote of confidence that content is valuable. Shares also expose your content to new audiences outside your original influencers’ feeds (secondary impressions).

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Saves: Saves show that the audience member wants to refer back to the content at a later time, which means the brand will come to mind again when they look or are ready to purchase.

8

Clicks: Clicks suggest the audience’s interest in learning more or intent to follow through on offers.

9

New Brand Followers: If you gain new followers during a program, you now have their ear. They are coming to you directly for content, product launches, and offers! Keep your social channels full with more authentic influencer content.

10

Coupon/Offer Usage: These metrics show a direct line from an influencer campaign to a point of purchase. Just keep in mind that they won’t capture all or even most of the influenced purchases, as many happen later, offline, or after additional research.


10!

TOP 10 WAYS C #AGENCYLIFE D

We set out to build a different kind of com what feels right according to our personal that’s how we like it!

1

We have a 100% remote workplace. A di means we can hire the best team membe be, and we can work in a way that makes ductive.

2

We value and support people being both employee concurrently. Working from ho can be there for their kids. That’s one les worry about, and that makes CLEVER be

3

We practice radical transparency. At CLE valued currency, trust is. By being authen we undergird our culture of trust and res

4

We’re committed to consistent feedback feedback in real time rather than waiting review because knowing better means do want to be better ASAP.

5

Our culture is based on “Office Astrology of assessments, like Myers-Briggs, Streng horoscopes, to learn about our different cation preferences. Knowing more about to work better and smarter together.

Influencer Image by Fool Proof Living for Decoy Wines

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CLEVER DEFINES DIFFERENTLY

mpany since the day we started. We break rules. We trust our intuition. We do l values. Here are some of the ways CLEVER is not like any other company — and

istributed workforce ers wherever they may s us happy and pro-

h a parent and a great ome means parents ss thing for parents to etter.

EVER, secrets aren’t ntic and transparent, spect.

k in real time. We give g for a once-a-year oing better — and we

y.” We use a variety gthsFinder, and even work and communit each other allows us

6

We run our business by trusting our employees. We’re adults and A-players. We don’t have PTO. We take time when we need it to refresh and refocus.

7

We have an intensive in-person onboarding program. Because we are a virtual workforce, we spend a lot of time getting to know new staffers. Our comprehensive onboarding is part of that process.

8

We don’t believe in reviews. We rely on timely and thoughtful feedback on an ongoing basis, so we’ve thrown out the traditional anxiety-provoking annual reviews. On our team, honest but helpful feedback and support is crucial to our morale, and both managers and staff are encouraged to communicate on the regular about their performance and ideas.

9

We offer a clear path to career growth. CLEVER hires smart and competent folks who we trust to hit the ground running from Day 1. We encourage our staff to constantly hit new goals, including dreaming up new projects and cross-functionally supporting other teams.

10

We celebrate our wins as a group. Because we are a virtual office, we take every opportunity we can get to come together and congratulate each other. Birthdays, babies, closing deals — we celebrate it all.


10!

TOP 10 REASO SALES & MARK

A decade into leading this industry, here is way to reach your target audience. Influen plan from the get-go. Here are some ways

1

Real recommendations from friends are w to buy YOUR product. This is exactly how works.

2

Influencer Marketing gets the right audie through high quality content creation. Yo geting and mirroring to push the right co

3

Ad blocking: Consumers either use techn traditional ads or simply ignore them. Infl tent avoids ad blockers.

4

Influencer Marketing allows influencers t brand in a way that resonates with the va authentic and real way. Get niche and sp target audience and message.

5

Influencer content shows up where cons looking for input around their purchases. make purchasing decisions via social con the right recommendation, at the right tim

Influencer Image by This Gal Cooks for Edwards Desser

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ONS TO INCLUDE IM IN YOUR KETING PLAN

s what we know: Influencer Marketing works, and it works because it is a highly trusted ncer Marketing works best when it’s an intentional part of your sales and marketing s to weave Influencer Marketing seamlessly into your efforts.

what influences anyone w Influencer Marketing

ence in your funnel ou can then use retaronsumer to purchase.

nology to block your fluencer Marketing con-

to tell the story of your arious consumers in an pecificity within your

sumers are actually . 76% of consumers ntent. Influencer makes me, in the right place.

rts

6

Create programs that showcase real results for your consumer brand — and the retailer with which your sales team needs additional traction — to help create new conversations for your key account teams. Store reset? Feature in the 4th of July circular? Use influencer activations to support your sales team.

7

The days of Don Draper are long gone. Influencers are an extension of your creative team. Influencer marketers can bring a fully fleshed message to life in unique and beautiful ways, AND come up with new uses, audiences and even ideas for existing messaging.

8

Everyone wants to impact purchase at the moment when a consumer is deciding between you or your competitor. Influencer Marketing is a fantastic means of digitally impacting consumer purchase but it is equally impactful in a brick and mortar location. Repurpose content for maximum impact online and IRL.

9

Discovery: Use influencers' audiences to give credibility to links you are sharing or products you are promoting to your target audience.

10

Search: In the world of search, more is more. Influencers build brand awareness in the consumer space, but also with SEO.


Influencer Image by For Mommy’s Dragons for Brawny

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LOOKING AHEAD TO THE NEXT 10 YEARS ...AND BEYOND! What’s next for us? This is the year we roll out open-source solutions for combating fraud, industry-wide. This is the year we help launch the Influencer Marketing Association to ensure that all brand marketers have shared vision and values, code of ethics, metrics and reporting, and industry standards and benchmarks. This is the year we take “standard” programs to fully integrated programs with exciting results and ROI. What’s next for influencer? Stunning, engaging content and beyond! Influencers will be activated at every level of the marketing funnel — think research, reviews, shopper, home-sales, in-app click-to-buy, and pop-up shops. We’re watching TikTok, and how freestyled content is gaining popularity. Twitter’s not dead, but Facebook is teetering. Instagram video will be the demise of Snap. And — most poetically of all — Instagram photo captions have started taking on the role of long-form storytelling… just like the blog posts that inspired us to build CLEVER. Ten years ago. Our next CLEVER chapter is about to begin. We hope you’ll be right there with us!


Influencer Image by Short Presents for Expedia

REAL PEOPLE TELL THE BEST BRAND STORIES REALCLEVER.COM 56 REALCLEVER.COM

Profile for CLEVER

Ten Years of CLEVER  

Pioneering, award-winning influencer marketing agency, CLEVER, celebrates 10 years of real people telling the best brand stories. #clever10

Ten Years of CLEVER  

Pioneering, award-winning influencer marketing agency, CLEVER, celebrates 10 years of real people telling the best brand stories. #clever10