Written by on . Pegasus.

Influencers: Friend or Fraud?

Senior Influencer Strategist, Simone Stevens joined the panel at this month’s globally renowned Influencer Marketing Show where the theme was ‘Influencers: Friend or Fraud?’, to discuss how the industry and influencers themselves are under more scrutiny than ever before.   

Trust between influencers, brands and consumers is critical if, as an industry, we are all going to continue to develop excellent creative work that also delivers for all parties involved.

Yet, Adam Williams, CEO of influencer marketing platform Takumi and panel host, revealed that influencers, brands, and consumers all have trust issues with influencer marketing in the UK, USA and Germany. A recent global survey by Takumi found:

  • Almost nine in ten (86%) UK marketers trust influencers in stark contrast to nearly two-thirds (61%) of German marketers who deem influencers untrustworthy.
  • Almost half of (43%) UK respondents agree that they trust brands’ transparency when they are gifting or paying influencers.
  • 56 per cent of US influencers, 46 per cent of UK influencers and 38 per cent of German influencers say they they trust brands will work with influencers fairly[i]

The panel comprised experts from the industry, including: Deborah Holloway, Clarins digital media manager, Rupa Shah, founder and director of Hashtag Ad Consulting and influencer Bushra Sidd (@bsiddlife).

The discussion centred around the shift in legislative landscape, how authentic influencers’ content is perceived to be, and how this has affected whether consumers will remain engaged with their endorsements and recommendations.  

Here are my key take-outs from the panel discussion:

  • More work needs to be done to bring compliance and regulations up to speed, especially in the health and food industry sectors. With a call to ensure that all relevant associations and governing bodies align processes and mirror each other’s guidelines
  • Long-term partnerships can help battle the authenticity issue. Brands that enabling storytelling and narrative to authentically come to life over a sustained period of time will help achieve consumer trust
  • When it comes to regulatory issues, authenticity is the biggest challenge influencers have to overcome. What steps can agencies take to prove their authenticity when recommending influencers?
  • There is a need for the whole industry to understand the guidelines and work together to strive for best practice. This should include the brands, agencies, tech platforms, agents and influencers so communication doesn’t breakdown

Overall, the discussion demonstrated that it is still a very exciting time in the influencer industry, with many areas still to be explored and navigated; it does not look like influencer marketing is going anywhere soon! 

If you would like to learn more about our approach to running successful influencer marketing campaigns, please drop Simone Stevens, our Senior Influencer Strategist a message at simone.stevens@thisispegasus.co.uk

[i] Takumi survey: ‘Trust, transactions and trend-setters: the realities of influencer marketing’ October 2019 (a survey conducted of 4,000 people)




is a Senior Influencer Strategist at Pegasus. Simone has over 10 years’ experience in consumer, health and beauty comms, influencer marketing and digital communications. Simone oversees a pan-agency team who specialise in influencer marketing.