Steph Chaplin is the Global Head of Campaigns at Instagram influencer marketing service Takumi.
She spoke to Econsultancy about how she came to work in influencer marketing, innovative campaigns that have caught her eye, and her advice for a new marketer starting out.
Please describe your job: What do you do?
As Global Head of Campaigns, it’s my job to ensure Takumi’s influencer marketing campaigns are carried out to a consistently high level across our worldwide markets and to develop and improve internal campaign processes. What’s great about my job is the opportunity to work closely with various teams across the business. Alongside product, finance and marketing, I work on providing the best end-to-end client journey possible, working with brands in almost every sector.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
I have recently been promoted to manage the global campaign teams across our three offices in London, Berlin and New York. We’ve just moved to a brand-new office in central London and we hotdesk, which means I get the opportunity to sit with different team members on a daily basis. I report to CEO, Adam Williams, who joined Takumi from Spotify two years ago. He has more than 18 years’ experience in the media, so is a fantastic mentor!
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
My role is fairly new and every day I feel like I’m building on skills from my time when I first started as campaign manager through to UK Head of Campaigns. Overseeing a number of campaigns in multiple markets requires me to be organised and solutions-driven, but the bulk of my responsibility includes managing other members of the team, so being empathetic and having strong interpersonal communication skills really helps!
Tell us about a typical working day…
A typical working day for me starts at around 8:30am. I like to be one of the first people in the office and I have my breakfast while checking any new campaigns or content that has gone live overnight.
I work with a close-knit team of 10 campaign managers, so I’ll make sure to catch up with them one-on-one at least once a week to discuss any campaigns they’re working on.
I always try and get out of the office at lunch – I’m a big believer in taking the full hour and always encourage the team to do the same. I always bring a book with me and am currently reading ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ by John Steinbeck. Now we’ve moved to Holborn, I need to find a new reading spot!
No matter where in the world I’m working, I make time for face-to-face meetings with our influencers, as it’s a good chance to get direct feedback from those using the platform.
I’m mindful of the time difference with our New York team, but most days I try and get out of the office by 6.30pm.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
Since starting my role as Global Head of Campaigns and moving away from direct campaign management, I’ve learnt a lot about people management. It’s been a rollercoaster journey working out how to manage the teams across our three offices and getting to know them on a more personal level. I really enjoy the nuances of learning about my colleagues’ individual needs and working out how to bring out their best qualities in the work they’re doing.
One of the other aspects of my job I love is watching our briefs come to life and seeing our influencers produce such remarkable content. We feel very strongly that influencers should be their own creative director, so I love seeing what original campaign ideas they come up with.
Something that sucks about my job is the prevalence of influencer fraud and inflated metrics plaguing the industry, such as fake followers. It’s a shame to see the issue has negatively influenced public perception of influencer marketing, but there is still extraordinarily effective, creative talent pushing the industry forward. We’re fighting hard against fraud and greater awareness of it can only be a good thing.
At Takumi, we have a very stringent 11-stage vetting process to verify the influencers we work with, and we identify and tackle influencers with fake followers using a combination of AI and manual assessment. An important part of this is keeping up to date with the industry’s latest tech innovations – whether that’s to do with the evolution of bots and how they’re becoming more advanced or how to fight them.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
My goals are focused on the business’ international growth and nurturing the best talent within my team and with our influencers. In terms of company goals, we want to be the leader in influencer marketing and to provide the best experience possible for our clients and influencers across the industry.
Regarding campaign measurement, since Instagram trialled removing likes from posts, measuring campaign success has shifted away from vanity metrics towards genuine engagement, such as comments, impressions and direct messages. These metrics vary from client to client, depending on their campaign objectives, so we always make sure we align our campaign measurement with the appropriate metrics for accurate evaluation. As the industry evolves, I think the value of sentiment will become increasingly important for brands.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
As a team, we communicate a lot via Slack. It’s really easy to use and allows us to keep track of and manage our international campaigns. I also use Trello to keep track of my to-do list – there’s lots on the go, so it’s really helpful keeping everything in one place.
How did you end up at Takumi, and where might you go from here?
I joined Takumi after I graduated from university in 2015. I applied for the role after seeing it on a graduate job site. Influencer marketing had always interested me and the opportunity to work in a start up from its infancy sounded like a great challenge to try out!
The company hadn’t officially launched at that point, so my role was mostly focused on building our influencer database. Since then I’ve grown with the company, working my way up to my current position as Global Head of Campaigns.
In terms of where I might go next, I don’t have any plans to leave Takumi soon – my aim is to help grow and cultivate our new markets and develop our reputation and influencer database internationally. We’ve made real strides this year expanding our global reach – and at a healthy, sustainable pace. 2020 is about cementing this progress and educating brands and marketers as the influencer industry continues to mature.
Which campaigns have impressed you lately?
A great project I worked on recently was the ‘1 minute make up heroes’ campaign with Clarins. In a bold move, we explored video formats across Instagram rather than the more traditional avenue of YouTube. We recruited Instagram influencers to create authentic, luxury video content, in keeping with the tone of the brand. We demonstrated that Instagram video content can deliver better results in terms of engagement and positive sentiment.
A wider marketing push that caught my eye is HSBC’s ‘We Are Not an Island’ campaign, which celebrates how British culture has been shaped by global influences. It successfully raises awareness that we ‘thrive best when open and connected’, which I think is a powerful and compelling message.
What advice would you give a marketer just starting out?
Never be afraid to ask questions and always educate yourself outside of your role. The industry is constantly developing and evolving at such a rapid rate that you need to be responsive to any platform updates and new features. Keep an eye out for seminars to attend and books to read, and make sure you’re constantly immersing yourself in the industry, mapping its trends and innovations.