All Posts By

Nigel Hickey

This is not a shock to read; COVID-19 did a number on all of us

This is not a shock to read; COVID-19 did a number on all of us – but have you ever sat back to reflect on what it taught you? Both personally and professionally?

The pandemic has changed how and where we work, learn, shop and play — and even where we live.

So many different challenges have emerged. So many positives have unfolded. Almost overnight, school lessons and doctors’ appointments were online. Yoga classes, concerts and weddings were streamed via Zoom. There was a big rise in the number of people using dating apps. All of which raised the question: how do we move forward and respond from an operational and communication perspective? That’s actually not a question. Brands are no longer in control, the power has been handed over to the consumer. Their (our) worlds have changed, they (we) are smarter than ever because it’s been a fight for survival in the most uncertain times of our era. Some are living their best life. Others, their most challenging. As a brand; how can you accommodate both situations. Do consumers resent brands spending big? Yes. Do they care about you? No. It’s all about relevance and meeting their needs. Not your bottom line.

It opens up an amazing and exciting opportunity for brands today. You have the opportunity to embrace the changes put upon us and the innovations we’ve seen emerge. Some scare us, some give us butterflies, all of them are largely unexplored and/or uncertain. But that’s ok.

With an innovation mindset, brands that relied on long-established behaviour patterns for exposure need to look at ways to become more visible. Relevance, transparency and determination are essential to reaching, communicating and delivering a new generation of experiences. Brands that fully understand that will be most successful at achieving visibility.


What does this mean? We need to be brave, take risks and be measurable. A new way of thinking. I guess we ask the question to marketers today – what will you change? Internal operations? Decade old practises? Your ability to react regardless of outcome? Your brand relevance today, not tomorrow? Future proofing for what tomorrow may look like against all odds?

We can help. Get in touch.

The Australian Influencer Marketing Council (AIMCO) has today released the industry’s first set of working practices to support brands, agencies and creators.

It’s been a pleasure to work as a member of the Guiding Council with leaders in the industry to create AIMCO Australian Influencer Marketing Council and release the first industry code of practice for the influencer marketing category here in Australia.

AIMCO was established in late 2019 to drive trust, accountability and transparency in the growing sector of Australian influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing continues to grow both globally and locally, driving brand awareness and advocacy, as well as reaching new audiences. It is one of the marketing channels that did not experience a significant decline in activity even in the COVID-19 shutdown period when marketing spend in many channels experienced sharp reductions.

However, the industry recognises that for this channel to mature into a position of greater trust and continued growth, transparency is pivotal. The World Federation of Advertisers states that: “Spend will rise where influencers meet critical standards on transparency, credibility and quality of followers”.

AANA CEO, John Broome commented: “Advertisers are keen to support responsible social influencer marketing. This new code of conduct will help build trust in online advertising through transparency and disclosure. It’s an important step forward for the industry.”

The Influencer Marketing Code of Practice is AIMCO’s first major initiative and has been developed collaboratively with input from more than 50 companies including founding member companies that represent all sides of the influencer marketplace. AIMCO membership includes industry sell and buy side, measurement and also legal representation.

The Code clearly articulates the areas of responsibility and proposed requirements for all involved in the influencer marketing ecosystem. The Code spans influencer vetting, advertising disclosure, and contractual considerations including content rights usage and reporting metrics.

The Influencer Marketing Code of Practice has been specifically designed for Australia, but with global considerations, to extend confidence in influencer marketing by establishing a common language and providing clear guidance. The Influencer Marketing Code of Practice will evolve as the influencer marketing landscape continues to develop.

The AIMCO Guiding Council, comprised of 17 organisations from within the founding members of AIMCO, have elected Detch Singh, Founder & CEO, Hypetap to serve as inaugural Chair with Patrick Whitnall, Head of Content and Sport, Publicis Media and Karan White, Business Director, Pod Legal as Deputies.

AIMCO Chair, Detch Singh, Founder & CEO Hypetap commented: “It has been incredible to see the enthusiasm with which the industry has come together for this initiative. Influencer marketing is now widely recognised as a powerful channel, but we have lacked a common language or voice as an industry. AIMCO will be working hard to execute an agenda of strengthening confidence in the category for marketers, creators and the general public.”

The AIMCO Guiding Council will move forward to establish industry working groups to address continued areas of focus. AIMCO invites additional companies to join its members to participate in the working groups to improve the industry for all.

AIMCO members include: Allegiant Media/Tagger Media, Apex Sports Marketing, CHE Proximity, Co-maker, Day Management, DVM Law, Hello Social, Hyland, Hypetap, JOOC’D part of Bamboo Marketing, MediaCom, OMD Create, PHD Media, Pod Legal, Publicis Media, Q-83, Reprise Digital, Social Law Co, Social Soup, The Lifestyle Suite, TotallyAwesome, TRIBE, Vamp, Wavemaker, We Are Social and WOM Network/Mouths of Mums.

The Audited Media Association of Australia (AMAA) has launched AIMCO and has partnered with the industry to develop the Australian Influencer Marketing Code of Practice. The immediate intent is to focus on the significant adoption of these best practices and further developments will include widespread education and Industry training, continuous improvement and the implementation of accountability frameworks.