Original article: Online Personal Stylist
This week we interviewed Eric Dahan, the CEO and Co-Founder of Open Influence. Eric is a top influencer marketing expert and so we were really keen to hear more about his thoughts on influencer marketing, how he has managed to secure partnerships with so many high profile brands, as well as his predictions for the future of the industry.
Eric Dahan is a Los Angeles native and serial entrepreneur, launching his first start up in the e-commerce space from his college dorm room. He is the CEO & Co-Founder of Open Influence (established 2013), and a key authority in the influencer marketing space, helping shape the industry since its inception. Dahan has established Open Influence as the premiere influencer marketing company, operating across multiple verticals, platforms, and regions. With an international scope and background, Dahan has successfully piloted its global expansion throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Online Personal Stylist: Eric, your work is very interesting. How did you get started in your career?
Eric Dahan: I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I enjoy solving problems, and working with teams of smart people to do so. I never thought I would be working in a talent related industry, but the opportunity emerged and I was at the right place at the right time.
OPS: Your business, Open Influence, has been hired by so many of the world’s leading brands, including: Disney, Google, Amazon, Facebook and more. How did you come to set up your business?
ED: We started small. Just working with small brands that happened to be in our personal network. From there, we grew the business. Word of mouth amongst brand marketers really helped us get into the right doors, and our work and client-dedication really spoke for itself helping solidify our relationships.
OPS: The influencer industry is growing all the time and evolving. What do you feel are the benefits for a brand using influencer marketing?
ED: We are living in a trust deficit. There’s so much information out there and people use trust as means to decide what’s worth paying attention to and what is worth ignoring. The fact is that people trust people. So much so that in today’s world, ⅔ of your communication as a brand is being done through other people. That’s why influencer marketing is so important. It is a way of establishing trust and building meaningful connections with your audience.
OPS: When you think about the future of influencer marketing, how do you see the industry growing or changing over the next few years?
ED: There will continue to be more influencers in more places. I think that we are going to see way more opportunities for brands to partner with influencers and for influencers to monetize their followings. The biggest trend will be influencers being able to more directly drive sales and for them to monetize their content directly.
OPS: There’s a lot of mixed opinions on influencer marketing. Some say it’s the future of digital marketing for brands. Others predict that it will phase out in time. What do you think?
ED: What people should understand is that the world is becoming more social. There are more social platforms emerging everyday and conventional platforms that were not social are becoming social. Social economies work because people are exchanging the content they create for attention from other users. Great content creators get rewarded by growing their audience and becoming influencers. Influencer marketing is just a by-product of a digital social world.
OPS: What can influencers do to ensure a stable future for this market?
ED: Influencers just need to focus on creating amazing content that is relevant to their audience. That is it. It’s important that influencers really respect the trust that their audiences put in them.
OPS: What has been the most interesting thing you’ve learned so far during your work in influencer marketing?
ED: The space is so dynamic and always evolving. I think the biggest realization that I had early on is that influencer is about trust, not popularity- meaning that in essence everyone is an influencer.