Talent Agencies: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Founder & Managing Director
Blue Chip Talent
About this episode [listen below]
Ryan Chipperfield is the Founder and Managing Director of Blue Chip Talent, a talent agency that specialises in representing professional athletes and influencers. We take a deep dive into the world of talent agencies and chat to Ryan about what, when, how and why an influencer should look at being represented and how it can change their career.
"Your level of inquiries would really dictate whether you need management. And we really need to see that they've gotten to the point of exponential growth. So really growth that is exploding. It's growing so fast that they can't manage it anymore."
"There's a common misconception that people are discovered by talent agents but if you're looking to take that next step, the best way to be discovered is by putting yourself forward."
- Kareena Mitsios
- Ryan Chipperfield
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GUESTS ON THIS EPISODE
Ryan Chipperfield is the Founder and Managing Director of talent agency, Blue Chip Talent. With a love for all things sport, Ryan specialises in representing professional athletes and influencers and honing this business skills to represent talent and enable them to build long-standing careers in their chosen fields.
[Instagram] Stories are probably the biggest killer because talents are just..really flippant with stories because it doesn't last forever.
The Internet lasts forever! It has a really long memory. So, people are screenshotting, people are lurking in the shadows, all that kind of stuff. All I'm trying to say is..you're going to get found out. The Internet never forgets. So, you've got to have a really clean track record.
- Ryan Chipperfield
Ryan: [00:00:00] I'll give you a story for this one and I can't mention the name because he told me after a few beers at a launch party the other week. It was Spring Racing Carnival last year. One of the reality TV stars was booked to go down to the Melbourne Cup and his manager had agreed on a ten-thousand-dollar fee for an appearance for two days down at the Melbourne Cup. But before that had agreed with the person that he was only going to charge about a thousand dollars a day for his time.
Ryan: [00:00:25] So they've got two grand, no worries, free flights, down the Melbourne Cup, Happy Days! The manager's margin was eight thousand dollars.
Kareena: [00:00:34] So tune in to find out what happened with the reality star found out about his manager's outrageous fee on this episode of In The Loop.
Kareena: [00:00:44] Hey there Loopers! Welcome back to another episode of In The Loop. I'm your host Kareena. And today we'll be chatting to you at that talent agencies. That is, having an agent or a manager that represents you as an influencer. So, agents help you acquire and negotiate brand deals. They also strategize your future and ensure that you are getting what you deserve. So, we'll also touch on the things that you, kind of, need to look out for when you're scouting for an agent yourself. We've brought in an expert on the matter. Someone that specializes in managing talented influencers like yourself. So, let me introduce you to our guest today. Ryan Chipperfield. Ryan is the founder of a talent agency, "Blue Chip Talent" and works closely with professional athletes and influencers to help them build their brand. We asked Ryan all the questions that you, as an influencer, would like to know. So, let's get straight into the interview.
Kareena: [00:01:36] Welcome Ryan!
Ryan: [00:01:37] Yeah, great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Kareena: [00:01:38] Well, we're very excited to have you because you get to talk to us about the other side of what it is to be a talent agent for influencers these days.
Ryan: [00:01:46] Yeah, it's very interesting. Obviously, we've had a talent of ours on your show previously, which is fantastic, in Nicole. So, hello to Nicole, I'm sure she's going to check in and see what her boss is up to. Look it's going to be an interesting perspective because obviously, you guys told the story from the influencers. We can give you a little bit of behind the scenes as to what those guys get up to in their own lives.
Kareena: [00:02:05] Yes perfect. Well to start us off, why don't you just tell us about yourself and how you started Blue Chip Talent.
Ryan: [00:02:10] Sure. I knew. I'd always heard actors talk about it and then make a movie for the people and then they make a movie for themselves. Well Blue Chip's that movie for me. It was that one that, I always wanted to do this business. I played a lot of sports when I was growing up and loved athletes, loved sport, worshipped sport, that was my world and I wanted to be involved in it in some capacity. But I didn't want to be one of those, "woulda, shoulda, coulda" types that always hoped that they were going to keep playing or be involved or hang around and linger. So, I sort of had this idea in the back of my mind for really 10-15 years, that I'd love to manage and help athletes with their transition into life outside of sport but also during their process of sport. So Blue Chip came about just, it was an opportunity for me to do something that I love. But I knew that it going to be very expensive to do that. I've done many businesses before this that have given me the opportunity to now have that business for myself. If I have done this five or ten years ago I would have failed miserably. It's a very expensive business to get into. And we'll get into that in a sec. But yeah, it's the one that I knew that I had to get right if I was going to do it. And I had to be really patient with it. But I knew that, ultimately, it was going to fulfil me the most.
Kareena: [00:03:12] How do you start your business? You obviously have to source talent so let’s go from there.
Ryan: [00:03:15] That that's the most expensive parts. And the guys listening can smile at that one. We have a team of 21 talents and we also have three staff that support those guys. So, you can't really go in half-arsed with a talent agency, you've got to be really ready to go from the get-go. First, talent needs to believe that you're the ticket to the promised land. So, for us we wanted to have a structure that was ready made. We had a vision of what we were going to do and we knew what kind of athletes that we wanted to have. I've had to learn a lot through this. I didn't think we're going to have an influencer division, to be honest. So that's sort of the backstory behind all this this is that's been really new to me. It's something that I didn't think we were going to have to do or need to do but it had become very important part of our business and we're really grateful we've got that part now. And I've kind of fallen in love with that section of the business. But yeah, acquiring talent is super expensive because really, until we've got them, we can't earn any revenue, there's no commercial opportunities. If you're a talentless talent agency, you're not going to get paid and to prove to those guys that we're good we've got to fly around countries, we've got to go to dinners, we go to lunches, we've got to meet families. It's a real process to get someone on board so yeah, it was an interesting process and that's really how it started.
Kareena: [00:04:19] There's a common misconception that people are discovered by talent agents but if you're looking to take that next step, the best way to be discovered is by putting yourself forward.
Kareena: [00:04:28] What do you look for when you're looking for talent?
Ryan: [00:04:32] Yeah, that's a really good one. And this is the thing that I'm most proud of. My rule with talent is that they have to be more impressive in person than they are on social media. So, we sit down with every single talent. It's super frustrating to the talent that applies because a lot of time we say no. We really have strict rules in what we're looking for. So, the key elements are: yeah impressive in person and the second one is really having a vision of what we think they can do. And we have to have an alignment of visions as well. So, if you and I were sitting down for a talent meeting, we would discuss what you think you are, then we'd tell you what we think you are and then we decide what the best way to commercialize you is and try and grow your brand over a period of time.
Ryan: [00:05:10] We have a "no dickheads" policy so they've got to be really, really good people. And it's interesting because like, in an interview, everyone sort of sells their best version of themselves. We spend a lot more time than that with them and sort of do our due diligence to make sure that there's not a history of other things that we're not too sure about or whatever because we call ourselves a Blue Chip family. If they don't kind of fit that family ethos or there is not quite the right sort of style there, then that's really important to us that they've got to fit our ecosystem. And then the last one is probably the most unique thing that you don't hear from a lot of talent agencies and that is we don't take two of the same. So, my rule when I watch sport is if I had tennis players and one was at one end of the court and I was the other. Who would cheer for? Well I know I'm all in with the talent that I have. So, we try to represent specific talent in specific fields and then not have any crossover.
Kareena: [00:05:57] So when someone, I guess, is applying to Blue Chip Talent. What piece of advice was you had to them what they should put in their application to help them stand?
Ryan: [00:06:03] The ones that stand out to us, know what they are. They're really self-aware and they have a really good idea as to what they want to do and how they want to do it. I'm still open to people being a bit more molded, in that they want to learn and how we should do that and this is what we can do in this space. Then let us bring some of those skills to them as well. We don't always need ready-made projects but it really does help us, sort of, speed things up if they have a really good, clear idea of where they're going. And then they can show us the pathway of, sort of, exponential growth that they're facing because what we want to do, and this is speaking as a business owner now, I want to strap myself to as many rocket ships as I can.
Kareena: [00:06:36] Absolutely!
Ryan: [00:06:37] And yes just hold on to the side and see what happens. I see these guys as a rocket ship. So, if I feel like they're literally sitting on the bay, ready to explode, ready to go up, then I want to try and jump in for that ride as well. Now some of them are really humble and they're not going to be able to articulate that they are a rocket ship and they probably said that maybe you wouldn't pick them as well. I mean it's a balance, humility and again ecosystem, family, all that kind of stuff. Yeah, I want to see that they've got huge potential into what they can do and that they're self-aware enough to know what they're doing right now and how they're having an impact on people.
Kareena: [00:07:09] So then I guess at what stage should they apply to be part of your team? Or part of your family?
Ryan: [00:07:14] Your level of inquiries and influencer would really dictate whether you need management. And we really need to see that they've gotten to the point of exponential growth. So really growth that is exploding. It's growing so fast that they can't manage it anymore.
Kareena: [00:07:27] Interesting. I always thought it might be, you know, you have to have "X" number of followers to grant having a manager or no but it's the actual inquiries themselves.
Ryan: [00:07:35] Totally. It's really, it's dependent on in every industry. So, there's not a metric, and that's the hardest part. It's very qualitative, not quantitative. So, we tend to look at the aspects of personality. We look at their ability. Nicole is a great example because when she first came to us, she had less than 20,000 followers but she had, what we call the "special sauce". She had something really unique about how she operates, in terms of her personality, and that her audience connects directly with her. So, people empathize, relate, understand the way that she portrays her content even though there's influencers out there with triple her following. We see her as someone that's more scalable. And she had over commercialized herself, which is really important too. So, if we're a brand and we're trying to grow their relationships with brands, if they've been with 50 other brands before it's going to be really hard for us to come in and bring in an impact. Yes, so if it's a lesser, we call it "pollution". If there's less "pollution", then we're able to kind of bring more things in and be more delicate with who we choose to partner them up with.
Kareena: [00:08:38] It's about finding that delicate balance between demonstrating that you're open to working with brands and making sure you haven't diluted your personal brand at the same time. We've always thought that having a decent portfolio speaks to your ability to work with brands. For example, it says that, a) you're easy to work will and b). you know what you're doing. Acting as a form of social proof, given that other brands have worked with you before. But as a talent agent, Ryan looks beyond this and demonstrates what it means to commercialize your personal brand.
Ryan: [00:09:09] It's important that they haven't overrepresented themselves in the spaces that they're in and we'll come back to it in a sec. But we do really try to choose the silos of their life in how we structure the deals that we do for them.
Ryan: [00:09:21] I see a talent and we're talking about fitness influencers here. So, if I saw a fitness influencer. There's sort of 10 things that we can commercialize for them. The hair, their skin, their accessories, the equipment that they use, the food that they eat, the supplements that they take, vitamins, all this sort, so there's sort of ten really clear silos.
Ryan: [00:09:38] So it's up to me as a manager to not go past 10 brands because then I give a better opportunity to those brands to get full leverage out of what's available to that talent. We try to look at deals that are longer than, you know, we call them one night stands, but three posts or six posts. We want more meaningful relationships and therefore we encourage brands to lock out the talent for a period of time 3, 6, 12 months. And then if you're the talent, you get familiar already with the brand, you get better at representing it. Your followers actually know what you're trying to do because it's genuine because that's the other thing too, like you've seen all the time on Instagram where you're like "aww that feels paid."
Kareena: [00:10:12] Yeah, #ad.
Ryan: [00:10:17] Yes, #ad! And look that's going to be there but it's going to be "she does that one a lot, she must actually like e it." And it's almost that real referral and people are forever skeptical. So, it's a way for us to sort of be broken down.
Kareena: [00:10:27] For example?
Ryan: [00:10:27] If it's a hair company. There's obviously multiple features and benefits of that. Now what they do if they buy three posts, they want all of those features and benefits in three posts. The captions are this long. It's never authentic because they're rushing and they're trying to get it out.
Ryan: [00:10:40] But if you've got 12 months, you could do one feature and benefit every month and spread it out and get your message right over a period of time. And yeah that's the biggest thing is if they've got sort of exclusivities locks out and what it makes a lot easier for us to go, two things! Negotiate higher for the year after. "OK. Well she's locked out for twelve months but come and see us here and we'll be able to work out a deal" and then we go back to the original company and say "first right of refusal do you want to sign up for another 12 months, kind of create competitiveness for the real estate. And then the other thing is that they also get the opportunity to grow with the talent as well. So, you know, because they're on the inside, they can then use it, maybe the talent's only and influencer at the start but then they start looking at them for TVC's, kind of almost growing and recruiting their own future talent.
Kareena: [00:11:19] Absolutely, as they evolve!
Ryan: [00:11:21] And they become familiar speaking about the brand. So then, as you know, with sort of shirts and things like this if the person comes in fumbling around for an hour and a half, it's very expensive.
Ryan: [00:11:30] So we can send in a ready-made knows the brand inside. Now it's not going to be so nervous because I don't know anything about it yet and gone deliver content for them, straight up.
Kareena: [00:11:38] So when it comes to brand pollution is that something that you evaluate when acquiring talent for the agency? Or is it more a brand consideration when booking talent?
Ryan: [00:11:46] It's both. Yeah, so, I'm really lucky, I've sat on both sides before. I've hired talent and I now represent talent. When I would hire a talent for campaigns we would look at, have they been on other TV commercials before? That was really important to us because familiar faces sometimes work against you.
Ryan: [00:12:01] I don't know if you remember when the AAMI ads were on but Rhonda did a couple of ads, you know, and it was the Katut thing and then every time you'd see it, you'd be like "It's Rhonda for AAMI" and it was essentially like free advertising for the other businesses because the conversation continued about AAMI, despite being in another ad. So, brands are kind of the same. If you become synonymous with a brand, that's your identity.
Kareena: [00:12:22] And what an influencers Instagram profile? What's the tactic that you use to determine whether their brand is a good representation of them and hasn't been overly diluted?
Ryan: [00:12:32] Look back at your tile. What do the last six or nine pictures tell your follower about you? Because, the first thing when you meet someone, you click on their Instagram profile, you don't click on a picture. You sort of zoom and you do a little bit of a flip. So, alright we know that. So, if I look at your profile does it tell me that you love food? That you love friends? That you love family? That you're really passionate about fitness through your image spec? And that's what we say to the people. Because if your 6-image tile, or your 9-image tile doesn't have true messaging for who you are, then you'll lose followers. But if you're imaging is true to who you are, it'll engage with them, they'll tell other people, so and so forth. So yeah, zoom back at your tile and say "Is this me? Is this who I really am?"
Kareena: [00:13:16] And is that what brands are looking at as well? That 9 image, 6 image feed? Before they make a connection with you to work with your talent?
Ryan: [00:13:23] Look we get a little bit of inquiry from brands direct. We do a lot of pitching as well. You know most of the time they come to me and ask for a fit. For example, we had a brand only recently. They wanted to do a pretty edgy campaign. They needed someone that was a little bit unknown but a very renowned sportsperson. So that was really easy because it was like we got the perfect one. Away we go! And then all I needed for them was, here's here tile, here's what she can do. Here's her previous imagery. Is that a fit for you? Yeah. Absolutely. No worries. So, really there's a couple things there. It's like is the brand relationship between us and the brand then we can kind of recruit our own talent through it. We also want to let the brand sort of pick as well so we'll also narrow the field down. Here's what we think will do well in that space and then I'll even throw out "If you look at something a bit different, instead of getting the same eyeballs all the time. This one gets this kind of engagement and stuff like that."
Kareena: [00:14:11] So what other criterion do they look at?
Ryan: [00:14:12] They want to know that your engagement rate. That's the obvious stuff. They really look at your engagement and its comments, likes, per photo and that's getting harder and harder because algorithms and stuff like that.
Ryan: [00:14:21] To give an example to a lot of our talent, we try to stop from doing quotes. If you put a quote up, in a lot of cases and you put a face picture up, you'll get, like, triple the likes on your face picture. A quote will bring your overall average per like photo, per number down. Yeah. So, this is a really simple one. Most of our talent, a picture of their face, big smile, always is going to get the most like. So, the more that they do have those, the more likely to lift those engagement rates in the process. So that's a little, sort of, simple trick. You can still do quotes but just not as easy as often. You know how people do the tile with the quotes through the middle? They lose so much engagement rate. Unless those quotes are like ballistically good.
Kareena: [00:14:56] Yeah and everyone's re-sharing it.
Ryan: [00:14:59] Then the other things that they ask us is, what kind of audience do they drive us to? Again, if I've got a shoe company, I need people that are active, that are between 20 and 35 for the type of shoe I'm trying to sell. They want to know your, sort of, analytics in a lot of ways. We don't always have to, sort of, take a screenshot and send that data. A lot of time, we've kind of got a trust with those brands to say, look just trust us that that'll work. That's exactly the audience that got. Other brands are getting more demanding and wanting to "alright, show us the numbers, show us the proof." Fair enough. They're allowed to do that. We're there to serve them. So, they want to know what that advertising can get them, what the market will push them to.
Kareena: [00:15:36] Beyond metrics, what are some of the other considerations?
Ryan: [00:15:38] They can't be offensive. They've obviously got to have no history of bad behavior through social media. And I know that sounds really simple but stories are probably the biggest killer because talents are just, not our talents, but talent, people out there are really flippant with stories because it doesn't last forever. The Internet lasts forever. Breaking news! The Internet last forever! It has a really long memory. So, people are screenshotting, people are lurking in the shadows, all that kind of stuff. All I'm trying to say is, like, if you've ever put a swear word or if you've ever, I don't know, silly things, ever done in a boy's nude day at the bar? All this sort of other stuff, you're going to get found out. The Internet never forgets. So, you've got to have a really clean track record.
Ryan: [00:16:17] Yeah, keeping yourself, again, commercializable, that alright, I haven't, like, sort of pigeon-holed myself so much into one thing. They want to know that you can be a bit more flexible than just doing that one thing really well.
Kareena: [00:16:27] What advice do you have them for people doing stories that you've seen? The ones doing it probably not so well, and the ones doing it better?
Ryan: [00:16:32] That's a good really good point. They need to understand that, in some cases, 10,000 people are watching. And I like to challenge them to think about a stadium. And that 10,000 people were in that stadium and you're standing in the middle of it.
Kareena: [00:16:45] Would you do it then? [laughs].
Ryan: [00:16:45] And it makes that kind of forced accountability. But not only that, those people are able to completely zoom in and screenshot, and capture you, doing what you're doing. So, at any stage, someone can capture, forever, what you've portrayed. It's very accountable. Right? Very accountable. So, you know, some of our, Katie Stevens, one of our big clients, she always talks about "Would my mum feel good seeing this?" And that's such a really good rule. And that works for her. Some people are a little bit cheeky. But In her entrepreneurial world, where she's created the brand, she's women helping women. That's such a good rule for her and everyone needs to have their own kind of rule.
Ryan: [00:17:23] So if you've got a process and a system, then that becomes your brand. You know, again, we'll talk about Nicole. Every time she goes on camera, I know it's going to be fun, I know it's going to be upbeat. She's going to be a little bit cheeky and she's going to make you laugh. Perfect. If that's her formula, then fantastic. Don't try and change the recipe all the time. And I would take a person that's seven out of 10 every day, than a person that's two or 10 on some days. You know what I mean? Like you just want to be consistent. What's your message? Consistently.
Kareena: [00:17:51] So you know what brands are looking for. And you know what an agent is looking for. But what about you? What criteria should you be using to identify whether an agency is good for you and your brand.
Ryan: [00:18:03] For us, it's a super different approach but I'll zoom out on the industry and answer that question better. If you're looking for an agency, this part is the most important. So, if you and I were sitting here, not getting along, you're asking the question, I was answering a different one. You know pretty straight away if it's going to work out. That feel is really important. So if you're not feeling it when you having that face to face conversation, never sign up remotely, you need to get face to face with your manager.
Kareena: [00:18:28] Right, Good point. Face-to-face.
Ryan: [00:18:28] And the person that looks after you because ultimately, what will happen in a bigger agency too, you'll move around and sort of jump into different divisions, different parts of the business, all that kind of stuff. And generally the agencies turn over quite a few staff because they all want to start their own or they want to do something else. So, the person that looks after you should be the person you spend the most time with. Keyboard, you know, isn't the way to build rapport. You've got to have that face to face time. And I think, from the talent's perspective, you get a better relationship from your manager if you've put yourself in front of them as well because I know when I'm with my I talent, I feel accountability to them. So, from the reverse it would totally make sense to get as much face time as you can. I'm constantly going to be thinking of you for the opportunities that present themselves and come through.
Kareena: [00:19:09] That's a very good point too. Front of mind.
Ryan: [00:19:10] Yeah. Absolutely. So, then the other things you consider are their ethics. I'll give you a story for this one and I can't mention the name because he told me after a few beers at a launch party the other week. You've got to really trust us, as your talent manager, because we handle your finances essentially. So, let's say you were a book a talent and you and I can agree on the amount. But then I separately agree on that amount with the talent. The amount that they are willing to accept maybe much less than what you paid. It's up to me to be able to prove to them what their value is to you and then vice versa. But also, it's up to me to pay them exactly what they're worth. So, you're going to be signing agreements, you're going to be doing all that sort of stuff, you've got to trust they've got your best interests at heart. And again face to face, you'll feel warmth. You'll feel all the right sort of things that you won't get from an e-mail or a text message.
Ryan: [00:19:57] So these stories that I'll tell you is...It was Spring Racing Carnival last year. One of the reality TV stars had just come out of a house and I'll leave it at that. Had just come out of the house and was booked to go down to the Melbourne Cup and his manager had agreed on a ten thousand dollar fee for an appearance, for two days, down at the Melbourne Cup. But before that he'd agreed with the person, that he was only going to charge about a thousand dollars a day for his time. So, they've gone, oh two grand, no worries, free flights, down the Melbourne Cup, happy days! The manager's margin was eight thousand dollars.
Kareena: [00:20:29] That's quite steep...
Ryan: [00:20:30] It's disgusting. Yeah, 80 percent, 80 percent! In an industry that's between 15 and 25 percent, usually. So, it was like double jeopardy. It was like this two way, their client's happy, their client's happy but the beautiful thing in all this is that kind of angle gives you a triangle and the booker met the talent. And they said thanks for the two grand and they went "and the rest!" And then, yeah, it was all found out. So ultimately what happened was, you know, went back to the talent agency and sort of said "Where's the rest? Happy to take this public if you'd like?" They quickly paid the money, they had a very amicable break up after that. But yeah. Not great.
Ryan: [00:21:07] You know, we invoice on behalf of the talent. We then pay the talent directly. But then what we do every year is we'll give them, essentially, like a PAYG statement at the end of the year, a tax return document they can submit, they can claim our fees. It will be really transparent as to what we've made yet. It's all done by our accountants. All very above board.
Kareena: [00:21:27] When involving an agent or a third party of any kind into a transaction, there's often a cost involved. The fees vary but the benefits in having that party there far outweigh the costs. An agent, for example, might be able to negotiate a higher fee than you could have on your own. They may have existing relationships or partnerships with brands that they can reach out to on your behalf. Again, options that you may not have had available to you. But the question then becomes, what's a fair split between an influencer and their agent?
Ryan: [00:21:59] Yes so get the industry standard is about 15 to 25 percent. It will be a flat rate from the majority of talent. Sometimes I'll charge you a PR retainer. If you’re a media person or if you're an athlete there's generally some sort of housekeeping that goes on. Booking you into the Today Show, booking and the Courier Mail or whatever the roles are that come up, it's almost like a retainer and costs. We eat those costs because it's good for us to get you in the paper, in our perspective. But yes, some other companies will also charge a PR retainer that's $200, $600, $800 a month, whatever it is, just to sort of service your needs based on the size of the talent that we're talking about. What the big difference that we try to do, and again, this is sort of the industry perspective and then as our perspective, this is how we operate.
Ryan: [00:22:39] If I don't do any work, and you send me a lead and then I convert that lead. And on your behalf, book you in for a deal. I haven't had to go to them, I must jump into their office, I haven't had to send them flyers or whatever it is, should I be paid the same if I generated the lead, did all the work, created all that sort of stuff? So, the instinct probably "no". But the industry says, "same right, flat fee".
Kareena: [00:23:02] They do, yep.
Ryan: [00:23:02] So with ours, we scale. If you’re our Instagram influencer, you've made all this all these people impressed, they want to work with you. And then all of a sudden you start sending us your inquiries to manage. We charge a third, five percent, instead of 15 percent, for our time because all we do is really facilitate the negotiation. For us, it's a third of the work. So, we pass those savings on to the talent.
Ryan: [00:23:24] Yeah and especially on the micro influencers because if you're only getting let's say $300, $400 a post, 15 percent a big amount of money. And on those microtransactions it does add up to a lot. Now for us, we want to be able to handle all of your messaging from a consistent perspective anyway. So, it gives you an incentive to trust us to handle all of your inquiries and the confidence that we can oversee the strategy as well. Because, again, for us coming back to the silos, if I'm all of a sudden not handling one inquiry and you're trying to fill it into that silo it's going to really upset the sort of overall vision that we have. So, we love to reward our talent when they send us those leads.
Kareena: [00:24:01] An agent can help you create a strategy around commercializing your brand. For most of you, if you're just building your following or have built it to a certain level, the next step is to understand how you can monetize it. Agents do a great job of this. They understand the commercial landscape and they can offer you advice as to how to get the most for your brand.
Kareena: [00:24:21] For an influencer that's wanting to invest their time in different activities. How do you go about recommending things and formulating that strategy with them?
Ryan: [00:24:30] Sometimes they can get really specific and they want to be really specific on one thing. Whether it be a home fitness workouts. Anytime there's sort of three words, you're sort of diving into three smaller markets. You know what I mean? Like, every one of those words personalizes. When you say "health," it's a big market. So, I really challenge our guys to still think a little bit more generic. It's easy to find a larger marketplace for them to play in if we're not diving in to specific. You know, and what's happened in the fitness industry in particular, because I know that's something you're super passionate about, is you hang upside down off a tree for a workout these days. Is it really benefiting the consumer? Not really. You know, is the circuit style work out where you flog yourself until you spew really benefiting the consumer? Like, are these activities for the trainers that were super bored and wanted to invent a program or are they for the best benefit of the person that walks in the door? So again, we challenge them to, sort of zoom out. What is the overall range of services that you can provide through your following? Because then if a vitamin company wants to work with you, again, or a skincare or whatever it is, you're a little bit more broad so that you're not getting so specific that we can't really commercialize you either.
Kareena: [00:25:42] Influences are constantly under pressure to perform with metrics such as likes, comments, shares and even engagement rates under review. Some influencers tend towards quick win tactics but it is important to understand that the overall impact that these tactics will have on achieving your long-term goals. An agent, however, can help you navigate these winding roads and keep you on the path to success.
Ryan: [00:26:05] We use "Social Blade" as a thinning tool for us, I suppose. You know, none of our talent would buy following. We wouldn't recruit a talent that's bought following. If they can't actively explain to us why their hockey stick exists on their following, then we can't work together because it's the first question that brands ask us and we have two customers, we have our talent and we have the brand, so we've got to respect both sides. If they've been on TV like our Bachie star, she went on TV last year, she had a big hockey stick but it's because she went on national television with a million viewers an episode. So that's very explainable, that's an easy one. The quick wins are never the right wins. You feel good at the time. It's like eating a donut. Feels fantastic. You pay for it an hour later. These guys pay for a month later. When the brands stop inquiring or people unfollow and then all of a sudden, the number starts dropping again. If you’re looking at a number every day and it’s not moving in the direction that you want it. I feel like that’s not the kind of life that you want to live anyway. And I feel like if you're a really smart, educated, you know, driven person, that will just happen and it’s like if you think about it all the time it won't happen. So, you do what you do on who you are and the results will follow and trust the process.
Kareena: [00:27:15] As a talent agent obviously, the strategy and the negotiating. What else does an agent bring to the Partnership for an influencer that's looking to get management?
Ryan: [00:27:24] Yep, crisis management. Yeah, we've been really lucky. We've got a very sensible team. I don’t have any NRL players that get naked at pubs. I don't have any very topical news. I'm not sure when this will be release but that joke plays now. [laughs] We don't any people that take drugs. Like all this, all these, again, really obvious things. So, our crisis management is basic but we've got some reality stars that, you know, The Daily Mail, loves. We've got some people that attract the wrong kind of attention in the wrong kind of situations.
Ryan: [00:27:58] We do a lot of counselling, I guess, in a lot of ways, when a situation happens via, you can only imagine what these people face on social media and we're very protective of our team. So if there's anything that's troubling them, we're always welcome to talk to us. And then at the end of negotiating. So, spoke about the business strategy and planning, the long term. But we're very hands on. We've partnered with an accounting firm, we help out with their superannuation.
Ryan: [00:28:18] The long-term thing for us is, and my dream for this business, is to be an incubator. So, we want to be able to fund their businesses. I haven't got any profile at all. The people at home don't know who I am. I've worked really hard to make the case and not be known and I want to use their profiles and let them be the face of the businesses that they start. They've got 20, 30, 150 thousand followers, whatever the number is, we can push product and create things together that roll out to their networks. We can do other things that will make them be their own businesses. We challenge them, don't worry about the sense, worry about the dollars. So, have a long-term vision with us, yeah, we're not really, we don't care if you get a skincare deal for three posts. We really care what you next 10 years looks like and doing that sort of stuff as well.
Ryan: [00:28:59] It's those sort of things and then, you know, a transition out of their talent. You know, some of these some of these guys know that their time in the sun is short. You know the beauty industry in particular, and fashion, fitness, all these sorts of things, you're on the clock and I hate that but that's the reality. The good thing is industries are getting a little more responsible.
Kareena: [00:29:19] So how influencers then transition into something else? A lot of people have already pigeonholed themselves into one stream of fitness, health or wellness but they want to branch out and commercialise themselves more. So, we ask Ryan how they can do just that.
Ryan: [00:29:35] Again, they've got a softly transition. You can't just, all of a sudden, never post in a bikini again because that's what your followers expect and you're going to dive off a cliff. You don't want to dive off the cliff but you don't need to look at your number for a few weeks. That's what we always recommend. You're going to sort of slowly transition into a different space. You're going to lose some followers and it's going to do the, sort of, curve out and what we hope is that it's going to balance itself out in the end with the right kind of followers. So generally, we'll come back to Bikini. If you’re in that space all the time, you’re going to have a huge following out of Brazil, India, Philippines. All these countries, are not what Australian brands are looking for. So, you’ve got to, kind of, cleanse that a little bit. So, for our girls, we talk about empowerment, supporting other women, actually having a bit of a vision of what they want women helping women to look like. We’re associated with a brand called “Minding her Business” where we send our team along to that.
So, it’s kind of putting yourself in the right environment, over a period of time, and you know, they say, you’re the sum of the average of the people you hang around with and you can do the same thing with Instagram. So just by pivoting slightly, and let’s say you’re doing a bikini photo every day, every four days, every ten days, all of a sudden then you’re really spreading out over a slower period of time to realign. And then you’ve got to pick something still that you’re passionate about because people can feel when it’s not authentic.
Kareena: [00:31:13] So Ryan, as a final sign off for our Loopers. Do you have any last pieces of advice for someone that’s looking to engage a talent agent?
Ryan: [00:31:20] Yeah just do your research. And to not play the clichés, really understand what you’re trying to do. You know, be patient with the process. Just because you got a talent agent, it doesn’t mean you’ve made it. It doesn’t mean you will make it. It’s a numbers game for us too. Like, we want everyone to be successful but data says that they won’t. Understand that you want that person to be a realist with you. You want that person to have some finesse in dealing with situations, like, I’ll give you another example. Like, if I let everyone know about every rejection they got, we’d have a really sad team. You know, it takes a long time to get deals done, it takes a long time to craft brands and relationships and build familiarity so, it’s an art form. And again, if they’re building rapport with you and making you feel warm, you can only assume, they’re doing that for the brand. Again, you can only assume that they’re going to go and represent you really well in the marketplace as well so, you know, the really basic, fundamental question is, do I want this person in my corner? And if I feel that from them and I feel like they’re the right person and me for them, then that’s usually the best sign for what they should do together and go forward. But be patient, be resilient in the process, and don’t lose your hunger as well because if you’re creating opportunity on your side, then the talent agent is going to be more motivated, it’s going to push them to be better. You want to be running at the same pace, side-by-side and try and approach different opportunities together.
Kareena: [00:32:47] Well thank you so much for joining us on the Loop App couch. We were very happy to have you on the podcast. We really appreciate it.
Ryan: [00:32:51] Thanks to the Loopers, thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
Kareena: [00:32:54] And that brings us to the end of our interview with Ryan, thank you so much for joining us Loopers. Now, if you’re keen to learn more about becoming represented by an agency like Blue Chip, visit bluechiptalent.com.au. If you liked this episode of In the Loop, please leave us a comment, we love to know what you thought and don’t forget to subscribe so you can get notified when we release a new episode every week! We will be back next week with another episode of In the Loop where we chat about the business end of being an influencer. Catch ya then!