American Express, the payments company, has revealed it uses a “4As” framework – based around audience, ability, association and accountability – to select influencers best suited to its brand.

Walter Frye, VP/Global Brand Engagement at American Express, discussed the framework at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2019 Digital and Social Media Conference.

Ensuring an influencer’s audience aligns with the brand’s seems obvious, Frye said, but isn’t always so. For instance, a men’s shaving brand might think a male style guru would be a good choice, but their followers can often be women.

A better choice, Frye argued, might be a married female supermodel who could talk about how much she likes her husband’s close shave, and who is likely to have a substantial male following.

The second element of AMEX's influencer formula is ability. “We want to know that they have a history of organically and authentically integrating brands into their content,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How American Express develops and measures and influencer marketing.)

“We don’t want to be just another sponsored post. So we look very closely at what other brands [the] influencers we’re considering have worked with.”

The influencer’s reputation also creates an association, the third of the “4As” for AMEX. When looking at who an influencer has previously worked with, “you want to ask yourself, ‘Does this influencer partner with like-minded brands?’” Frye said.

“In our case, we want to know that they’re working with other premium brands. Nobody wants to work with an influencer who has a reputation just for shilling product.’

“We want our content to live alongside content that’s entertaining, and engaging, and that was designed to build the audience that we’re trying to reach.”

The final element for AMEX's formula is accountability, Frye asserted, and comes down to being professional and able to work well with others.

“You want to make sure your influencers are flexible, professional and that they’re willing to dedicate the time to your program’s success,” he noted. “We want to know throughout the contracting process whether they’re easy to work with.”

Sourced from WARC