How my skills are changing the influencer marketing game

WHat makes our campaigns stand out?

By Esra Gurkan

Tuesday, 13th of July 2021

What makes an influencer marketing campaign stand out?

A brand that allows you the freedom to create innovative campaigns and a talented content creator to execute ideas is key, but so is an agency that pushes creative boundaries. And that is made possible by an agency that thinks outside of the box. 

There are some roles you wouldn’t ordinarily expect to see in influencer marketing. For us, it’s our special ingredient to ensure our agency and the campaigns we create not only hit KPIs but are also groundbreaking and progressive.

Here, we speak to several members of the Fifth team to hear about what they bring to the agency and how their role is revolutionising and professionalising the space.

Creative Strategy Lead Alice Thompson

Alice Thompson explains why creative strategy is important in influencer marketing: “We know that influencers bring creative flair to content and know what their audiences love. But often brands think of them as a media channel rather than as content creators and use them for pure product placement. It’s important to find a really relevant and interesting place for the brands to naturally slot into the feeds of the influencers that we work with, which is where creative strategy comes in. 

“We apply the insight gathering, audience understanding and strategic thinking that goes into creative content, then we work with influencers on the end product. The result is a great partnership that tells a deeper, more noticeable and longer lasting story”. 

Graphic Designer Patricia Ascorreta

Patricia Ascoretta says that “Having in house design and production allows us to work together with creators to elevate the content with special effects, animation, editing and design. This gives us a much wider range of content creators we can work with as we don’t have to rely on their post-production skills or access to them. It also means we can push our creative ideas further and get talent to deliver innovative content for brands that is normally reserved for ads with huge budgets or specific influencers”.

Campaign Director Oliver Bond

Oliver Bond says: “Most agencies would have Account Managers and Campaign Managers as separate roles, and so being able to almost combine the two ensures we are not only servicing the talent and their respective representatives but also the client, and means there is a full 360 service. This is a great skill set to have as your approach to different conversations has to differ depending on a whole host of factors, ranging from budgets to timelines and performance. 

“The Fifth empowers people to be a master-of-all-trades, encouraging you to add as many strings to your bow as possible in order to benefit your personal development. Obviously supporting resource is always important, but to be given the responsibility and accountability to manage campaigns 360 definitely gives us scope for professional and personal growth. 

“This is crucial at The Fifth as each campaign is so different. One minute we can be working with talent purely on Instagram to showcase a new product range, and the next we can be hosting live streams with some of the biggest YouTubers in the country to raise money for charity. The variety of campaigns means we need to have the skills to manage full circle, something some agencies might have separate roles for”.

Creative Stefan Dezou

Stefan Dezou explains: “As a Creative at The Fifth, our job is to reimagine the possibility of a social post, pushing the client brief through innovative and exciting ideas. We don’t just think about the content, we also think about the impact that it can have and the lasting impressions we can make on behalf of the brand.

“Creativity in influencer marketing is about understanding and utilising the amazing capabilities of the creators. This allows you to create truly authentic campaigns”.

Business Strategist Rob Stevenson

Rob Stevenson says: “As Business Strategist, my role involves both an art and science approach.

“I am tasked with keeping my eyes up and ahead to spot cultural trends and commercial opportunities amongst a sea of information. A little like sitting in the crow’s nest of a ship!

My role might be unusual for an influencer agency because it enables us to build and develop services, giving our clients an edge on social media and beyond! Our creative campaigns feature talent who push boundaries and have cultural resonance – I love seeing brands allow themselves to be a part of that. It always pays dividends”. 

What other roles do you see becoming a priority in influencer marketing?

Social content creators going mainstream

Who are you recognising on tv?

By Esra Gurkan

Monday, 21st of June 2021

We’re often told by the mainstream press that influencers earn too much for doing too little. Some people think they simply take photographs of themselves posing and earn hundreds of thousands of pounds a year for doing it. Whilst a lot of bigger creators do earn a good living, there is so much work that goes into being a social-first content creator that the media often miss out. 

There has, however, been a change in the tide over the last couple of years. Slowly but surely, digital creators are proving their worth and are being welcomed by traditional and established broadcasting and publishing outlets. They’re appearing on well-known TV shows, writing books and even competing in boxing matches shown around the globe. Recognising the worth of including established online talent and their influence, the mainstream media has started working with them, rather than against them. It’s about time.

But who are some of the social-first creators taking their content creation offline? And what does it mean for traditional media? Here, we look at some of the talent finally being recognised by your parents and grandparents, rather than just by you.

Munya Chawawa

Munya Chawawa is a comedian, satirist and content creator known for his sketches and many different characters. Behind the scenes, Munya has been honing his craft for years but has recently found his fame flourish. 

Munya was a writer on Charlie Brooker’s Netflix mockumentary Death to 2020, and his fictional drill rapper ‘Unknown P’ signed a deal with Atlantic Records. Now, he’s making regular appearances on primetime television shows. 

Most recently, Munya announced that he is to be a part of the BBC One Celebrity MasterChef 2021 line-up. Sharing the news with his followers on Twitter, Munya said: “Can’t believe a jerk rice parody 2 years ago has led to this! Barty Crease has a Netflix deal, Unknown P has signed to Atlantic and now Jonny Oliver is on @MasterChefUK (kind of) – the trilogy is complete.”​

Joe Sugg

Joe Sugg first became known to fans as Zoe Sugg’s little brother but soon carved out a career in his own right way back in 2012 when he began posting videos on YouTube as ThatcherJoe.

Since then, he became the first ‘social media star’ to appear on family favourite Strictly Come Dancing and even got to the final with his dancing partner and now girlfriend Dianne Buswell. He’s now gone on to portray Ogie Anhorn in the West End production of Waitress and has made his television acting debut in the fourth season of the BBC One drama, The Syndicate.

Candice Brathwaite 

Candice Brathwaite started blogging in 2016 in a bid to show that young black families weren’t just surviving but thriving, and share her experiences of motherhood. She is also the founder of online initiative Make Motherhood Diverse, which aims to ensure many more people see themselves reflected online. 

Now, Candice has a regular style segment on popular morning programme Lorraine on ITV where she has become loved by viewers for the way in which she gently encourages people to be bolder about embracing colours. She’s also now a Contributing Editor to Grazia and regularly appears on TV and radio where she talks about maternal mortality rates for black women in Britain.

Adding another string to her bow, Candice wrote her debut book I Am Not Your Baby Mother, which is about being a black British mum, last year. It has since made the Sunday Times Bestseller List.


KSI is a YouTuber, recording artist and boxer and is also part of the British YouTube group known as the Sidemen. After joining YouTube way back in 2009, KSI steadily built a following posting gaming-commentary videos of the FIFA video game series. 

Since then, it’s fair to say that KSI has diversified when it comes to creating content. He has gone on to launch a music career, with his debut studio album Dissimulation reaching number 2 on the UK Albums Chart. He’s also released singles with Craig David and Anne-Marie and Yungblud. 

KSI featured in comedy film Laid in America in 2016, has released an autobiography and been involved in boxing matches with fellow YouTubers Joe Weller and latterly Logan Paul, which was dubbed “the biggest internet event in history”. 

Not limited to online content creation, music and boxing, KSI is now a familiar face on mainstream television and has put on his apron for Celebrity Bake Off 2021 where he appeared in aid of Stand Up To Cancer.

Why are traditional formats wanting to work with social talent?

Social-first creators have built such large and engaged followings online that it was only a matter of time before traditional outlets started taking notice. Though some of them might still get negative press (the influencer-Dubai travel scandal, anyone?), traditional media is recognising the impact, and influence, that creators have – and their potential for multiple industries. 

After all, a lot of creators are multifaceted and can not only create engaging content but shoot, edit and produce it themselves. Social creators can also often have bigger and most importantly younger audiences than most traditional celebrities and TV personalities. 

By introducing social-first creators to traditional formats like television, the deal is mutually beneficial: not only will the digital creator gain an even greater fanbase, bigger career and earn money, the primetime TV shows will be able to tap into their lucrative younger audiences. An influencers’ audience is often highly engaged and incredibly loyal and more often than not, they will go to where that creator does, thus flocking in their droves to whichever mainstream programme they are appearing on. 

What does this mean for the future of traditional outlets?

The internet has completely transformed the way in which younger audiences consume content and as they are no longer familiar with traditional TV shows and formats, it is up to social-first creators who built their audiences online to bring their attention offline. 

Traditional and established broadcasting and publishing outlets are increasing their audience sizes, viewing ratings and their online engagement through social-first creators and so it doesn’t seem as though this method of incorporating creators into their formats will be coming to an end anytime soon. Why would they want to stop trying to bring in and attract crucial 16-34 year old audiences that they are severely lacking? 

As long as it is mutually beneficial to both parties, then the trend of seeing online talent moving more into the traditional media space will continue – and they might just be the ones to bring younger audiences back.

Books to add to your reading list from content creators and first time authors

that will make you think

By Esra Gurkan

Thursday, 17th of June 2021

When social-first content creators aren’t creating content online, they’re busy writing books about issues important to them and the world in which they are navigating.  

With growing audiences online, some creators have decided to take their content creation offline and have written memoirs, survival guides, works of fiction and self-help manuals. 

This year, the Sunday Times Bestseller charts have been packed with influencers sharing their stories and giving their new and long standing followers a different way in which to consume content. 

Here, we want to share with you a few books that dive deep into topics like race and identity, mindfulness, university and more. Proving their talents are far reaching, these creators have gone old school and put down their cameras and pen to paper. 

Nicole Ocran and Emma Slade Edmondson – The Half of It 

Published: 09/06/2022

Hosts of the critically acclaimed podcast Mixed Up, Nicole Ocran and Emma Slade Edmondson will discuss what it truly means to be mixed-raced and all the different layers that fall into this in their upcoming debut book. The pair delve into everything from culture and identity, to interracial relationships, adoption, and understanding the historical context of mixed-race people which culminates in a rounder and deeper appreciation for the mixed-identity.

In The Half of It, which is out next year, Emma and Nicole will explore race and identity through the lens of the mixed race experience, creating a space for discussion and illuminating the true nuances of the mixed-raced identity and what this really means. If their podcast is anything to go by then we know this will be a roaring success!

Grace Victory – How To Calm It 

Available now

Award-winning digital-first creator Grace Victory has written a book unlike any other on mindfulness. Her second book, How To Calm It, was published early this year by #Merky Books, Stormzy’s imprint within Penguin Random House.

This non-fiction book, which has a foreword by Black Minds Matter UK, is an insight into how we can learn to process what’s going on inside our minds, heal our bodies for the better and learn to love ourselves. Filled with tangible tools, creative exercises and tailored tips, How To Heal It is the perfect accompaniment on your journey to detangling what’s going on in your head, and making a commitment to value yourself each and every day.

Candice Brathwaite – I Am Not Your Baby Mother⁣ 

Available now

Founder of Make Motherhood Diverse, Candice Brathwaite is the author of I Am Not Your Baby Mother, a book about the problematically homogenous portrayal of maternity in British media. Described as ‘urgent and eye-opening’, Candice’s book is an inspirational guide to life as a black mother.

I Am Not Your Baby Mother explores the various stages in between pregnancy and your child’s first day at school, while facing hurdles such as white privilege, racial micro-aggressions and unconscious bias along the way. Written in her trademark sense of humour and refreshing straight-talking style, the result is a call-to-arms that will allow mums to take control and make them want to scrap the parenting rulebook to mother in their own way.

Florence Given – Women Don’t Owe You Pretty

Available now

Artist and feminist social activist Florence Given covers everything from body image, toxic beauty standards, and identity-building in her debut novel Women Don’t Owe You Pretty.

Described as an ‘incredible mouthpiece for modern intersectional feminism’, Florence will help you to tackle and challenge the limiting narrative you have been bombarded with your whole life, and determine feminism on your own terms.

Through Florence’s story you will learn how to protect your energy, discover that you are the love of your own life, and realise that today ‘is a wonderful day to dump him’.

Candice Carty-Williams – ⁣Queenie 

Available now

Everyone has been talking about Queenie, the debut novel from Candice Carty-Williams. 

The book is described as a ‘luminous debut’ and a ‘joy-filled, painfully funny coming-of-age story set in modern Britain’. Candice brings to life the fabulously flawed, defiant but vulnerable Queenie Jenkins who is classed by many as one of the stand out fictional creations of the twenty-first century. 

The book tackles issues like mental health, race, class and consent and has made Candice one of the most talked-about and adored authors of her time. At the British Book Awards in June 2020, Candice became the first black woman to win the “Book of the Year” accolade.

Jack Edwards – The Ultimate University Survival Guide: The Uni-Verse

Available now

Lifestyle creator and YouTuber Jack Edwards has written a complete, unfiltered university handbook for students everywhere. From university applications to socials, The Ultimate University Survival Guide is filled with helpful tips and tricks, real advice and fun anecdotes, and is perfect to turn to for any questions you have about university – and we had a lot. 

When he first enrolled as a student at Durham University, Jack took his camera along and documented his experiences on YouTube. Since then, he’s graduated university and continues to make the university experience a little less terrifying for those currently applying – and hopes to increase the accessibility and inclusivity of higher education for all.

Niran Vinod and Damola Timeyin – How To Build It: Grow Your Brand

⁣Available now

So many of us are trying to monetise our side hustles these days, and the usual 9-5 is no longer the norm for everyone. In come Niran Vinod and Damola Timeyin with How To Build It: Grow Your Brand, their debut book on why building your brand is a necessity – and how you can make it relevant in the digital age and give it longevity. 

Their useful guide, published by Stormzy’s #Merky Books, helps you through all the key areas you should know about as you build solid foundations for your brand to thrive and grow. The step-by-step book is packed full of creative tasks and personal insight from creative strategists Niran and Damola who have worked with some of the world’s most renowned brands, and will set you on the road from nowhere to everywhere.

Ashley ‘Dotty’ Charles – Outraged: Why Everyone is Shouting and No One is Talking

Available now

BBC presenter and DJ Ashley ‘Dotty’ Charles explores the ‘insatiable taste for outrage in today’s world’ and calls for a return to civility in her debut book Outraged: Why Everyone is Shouting and No One is Talking. 

Described as ‘the powerful new voice of her generation’, Dotty provides us with the essential guide to living through the age of outrage and looks at how in order to enact change and make a difference online, we need to learn to channel our responses. In a world where cancel culture is thriving, Dotty’s debut non-fiction book is timely, relevant and candid.

This Morning’s Influencer in Dubai  Interview

my reaction

By Hayley Harrison

Friday, 29th of January 2021

By definition, influencers have influence; and with influence comes responsibility. 

I’m sure by now most of us have seen the infamous This Morning influencer in Dubai interview. And I’m sure me and my colleagues aren’t the only ones left feeling sad and a little sickened by it. Needless to say, the camel ride didn’t deliver on the motivational content she was aiming for. 

Like many industries, influencer marketing has adapted and evolved over this time. From the moment the first lockdown was announced, we saw many examples of talent using their influence for good. They stepped up; promoting correct hand washing techniques, supporting charities, launching loneliness initiatives, encouraging us to shop small and driving the conversation about mental health forward. 

Content has developed to be more raw, more honest and more authentic. We’ve seen a new wave of talent coming to the fore; they’re positive, inclusive, thought provoking and progressive. It’s encouraging to see and exciting to be a part of it. 

It’s for this reason that it feels so disheartening to scroll through Instagram and see people branded as influencers, along with celebrities and reality TV stars taking advantage of a loophole that sees them flocking to sunnier climes to carry out work that they deem as essential. 

We’ve seen members of various reality TV shows head to Dubai and other holiday destinations during lockdown. Away from the tragic picture of the UK, they’ve been posting content on their social feeds, occasionally sponsored, and even in some examples ironically encouraging their audiences to be safe and promoting coronavirus testing companies at the same time! 

Following This Morning’s interview, we’ve seen the media ramp up the attention on these stars seemingly flouting their privilege, leading to Dubai being added to the UK’s Red List, stopping flights from the UAE to the UK from today. But even before the infamous interview, we were seeing the sentiment shift towards the negative for those who were on holiday and documenting it. Interestingly though, when you look at the comments on the individuals’ posts, it’s hard to spot a comment criticizing them. Either negative comments are being deleted or comments are being temporarily restricted. 

Finally, ex-Love Islander Olivia Attwood broke the silence and spoke out about the tone deaf approach; ‘Some things I’ve seen legit over the past 24 hours are people on their stories saying how “hard” it is,’ she told her followers via her Instagram Stories. ‘People are losing their family members daily. They can’t pay rent and their businesses they’ve worked their f*****g b******s off for are crumbling around them and you’re on the beach telling us “you don’t know how hard it is”.’

Meanwhile, back in the UK, Dr Alex, a former Love Island season 4 contestant has been working tirelessly in the A&E department at a South London hospital. He’s been documenting his experience of working on the frontline during the pandemic on his social media and using his platform to encourage his followers to adhere to government guidelines in order to protect the NHS. But if you ever wanted an example of a person using their influence for good, you only have to look at Marcus Rashford. 

In a world where we’re spending more time than ever on social media, cases of mental health on a steep incline and the air thick with cancel culture, perhaps it’s time for us all involved in this industry to take responsibility and shift our focus to celebrate the personalities like Dr Alex or Marcus Rashford who should be held up as examples of people with influence using it for good?

How will we consume content differently after the coronavirus crisis

and will influencers be affected?

By Esra Gurkan

Wednesday, 13th of May 2020

Nobody can predict what will happen when we are all out of lockdown. Content creators have had to change their approach in order to stay relevant and sensitive to the ongoing situation. They still need to make an income, and are having to be smart about the ways in which they do, in fear of looking like they are making money out of a tragedy, but what will the landscape look like for creators when all of this is over?

I thought I’d share some of the trends I’ve spotted on my feed and my predictions for how content will change in the future. 

Cooking content

People are spending more time in the kitchen. Research shows two fifths are enjoying cooking more now, with 89% vowing to continue making food from scratch once the restrictions are lifted. This means we can probably expect to see less restaurant-perfect food covering our Instagram feeds, and more home-cooked dishes – perhaps even made using home-grown vegetables. Vegan chef Brett Cobley has been a champion of this trend, launching his #creativecupboardchallenge where followers share three ingredients they have that they don’t know how to use and he invents a recipe.

Homes over holidays

Travel content creators will undoubtedly have suffered during COVID-19. They’re no longer able to collaborate with a brand or luxury hotel in a far-flung destination at a moments’ notice. With less money spent on long-haul holidays, there will be more cash to spend on homes. After all, we’ve realised the importance of having a nice living space. Interior influencers could help people redesign their homes to be more in-keeping with a post-coronavirus world. Instead of everything being open-plan, we might well go back to wanting rooms and spaces to be separate. Having been confined to our homes, we want to make sure we’re utilising any indoor – and outdoor – space we have.

Less disposable income

In the last fortnight, nearly a quarter of British employees have been furloughed. There are also going to be redundancies and a rise in unemployment. There’s no denying that money will be tight for many. 

Meanwhile, the effort to stay at home has led to a surge in social media usage. Influencer agency Obviously has seen a whopping 22% increase in Instagram campaign impressions, meaning we are far more likely to see and interact with ads, which is good for content creators and brands that rely on audience engagement. That being said, there will be more eyes on ads, but to gain cut through, those ads will need to be even more relevant to a savvy audience with a highly selective approach to how they spend their money. Equally, influencers will need to be as considerate about how they approach advertising going forward, ensuring they’re adding value to their audience through highly selective partnerships and purpose driven content, as opposed to straightforward product promotion. 

TV-quality production

Before the pandemic, TV advertising spends were dropping and advertisers were having to look elsewhere to connect with millennials and Gen-Z audiences. This, combined with the lockdown measures, means that they now also have limited access to crew and production facilities. It feels as if content created by talent themselves provides the perfect solution. An example of this is award-winning spoken word poet and basketball player Asma Elbadawi’s TV-quality video content which was created for just £250. Granted that didn’t include fees for anyone involved, but the video showed that talent-generated content can be turned around quickly, is low-cost and the standard doesn’t have to be compromised. We were already seeing a rise in social media talent moving into mainstream media, but could the current circumstances catapult this trend forward? I believe so. 

What does this all mean?

The aftermath of the pandemic will continue for a long time, maybe even for years. Nobody can predict what will happen, but influencers will need to adapt to the ‘new normal’ for the foreseeable. It feels to me that we can expect less aspiration and more of a focus on family and friends, staying fit and healthy and going back to basics. 

Some content creators will struggle with this, while new ones will arise with a new form of content we didn’t know we needed before.