It is undeniable that influencer marketing plays a distinctive role in the world of social media and advertising; in particular, the value and impact of micro-influencers have been highlighted in recent years. Throughout the years, we have always seen creative agencies play the middleman role by connecting influencers with brands for collaboration, but as influencers develop a more entrepreneurial and autonomous mindset with how they manage their content creation, it became natural for brands and influencers to collaborate with each other directly, which affects the position creative agencies used to hold in between. This research hopes to explore and analyze the mind behind autonomous influencers, how it affects the relationship between influencer and creative agencies, and attempts to predict the future influencer marketing trend of a new collaboration model between micro-influencers and creative agencies through collected data. The research utilizes secondary data found in research journals, interviews with industry professionals and various influencers around the world, to explore the inner thoughts and perspectives. The case study will document the process of a growing micro-influencer through content analysis of their social media posts and engagements, observation at influencer events such as VIDCON, as well as interviews with 8 micro influencers. All datas combined will showcase how influencers choose this path of career, how they wish to own their brand and content for full creative autonomy, and how creative agencies pivoted to collaborating with celebrity-status influencers as an alternative, which ultimately still leaves space for collaboration between micro-influencers and agencies.
Zoei Ma, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan