During the pandemic it has been vital for businesses to pivot and remain viable and relevant. In the retail sector there have been examples of online fashion retailers engaging third parties (such as social media influencers) to model their products and create digital content for use on the retailer's website. While the retail sector has recognised the value of influencer-marketing for a number of years, use of influencer-generated content is typically reserved for social media platforms. Use of influencer-generated content on a retailer's product pages, in place of traditional commercial photo shoots, is less common and has undoubtedly been driven by the fact that commercial photo shoots were shut down due to lockdown restrictions.

This is a great example of how existing marketing activities can be used for dual purposes, and to bridge gaps that arise during these challenging times. However, before going down this route, it is important to ensure that you have agreements in place with any third party content creators, to ensure you own the rights in any content created, and to retain control over how your goods or services are being advertised. This will help to ensure all parties are on the same page and aims to avoid any disputes arising in the future.

It will be particularly interesting to see whether influencer-generated content will continue to be used by retailers in this way when lockdown restrictions are eased entirely, and the impact such content has on sales figures.

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Advertisers are also discovering that the influencer-marketing business model could be particularly well-suited to a time in which DIY ad content filmed at home remains viable while commercial photo shoots are shut down.