Every influencer marketing campaign should include a contract. Long before any content is shared, a brand and an influencer need to work out the details of their pending collaboration. One of the many items that could be listed in an influencer contract is brand exclusivity. If a brand wants you to work with their company solely, you have some things to think through. To help, we’ll explain brand exclusivity’s meaning, cover the pros and cons, and offer negotiation tips to ensure your partnership benefits both parties.
What is brand exclusivity?
Brands may ask influencers to be exclusive, meaning you’ll only work with that brand for a certain period and refrain from posting about competitors. There are varying levels of exclusivity. Some are more restrictive than others, but here’s a quick rundown of the possible types that could be listed in your contract:
Full exclusivity: Influencers are restricted from working with any brands for the duration of the contract.
Category exclusivity: Influencers are restricted from working with competitors or brands in the same industry.
Geographic exclusivity: Influencers are restricted from working with other companies in a certain geographic area, like a city or state.
The pros and cons of exclusivity
As an influencer, you need to weigh the pros and cons of exclusivity. Is it worth it to work solely with this brand? Are you comfortable turning down other jobs and revenue to collaborate with this brand? To help answer some of these questions, here’s a look at the pros and cons of the situation.
Usually, if a brand asks you to be entirely exclusive, they’re also willing to offer higher compensation. Most brands acknowledge that exclusivity means you’ll likely turn down other work, so they try to offset some of that potential loss by increasing the compensation or adding perks.
It could also mean you don’t have to hustle. You can put a pin in cold-calling brands in hopes of getting work.
Pro: Brands make an investment
Brands that ask for exclusivity often plan long-term, which means it’s likely a steady gig for an influencer. Rather than working with you for a one-off campaign, brands with an exclusivity mindset often focus on partnerships.
As a result, brands will invest more time and effort into this relationship. Expect detailed content briefs, inspirational images, and a point of contact that’s invested in you and the success of the campaign.
Pro: Your audience appreciates authenticity
Collaborating with one brand keeps your content consistent and authentic. You won’t be bouncing from brand to brand and endorsing competing products, which your audience will likely appreciate.
Con: Potential loss of work
The biggest con to exclusivity is losing potential work. Not only could you lose income, but you could miss out on an opportunity to work with a brand that you’re interested in.
Con: The collaboration might not go as planned
Usually, brand exclusivity goes hand-in-hand with strong support from the brand’s marketing team. However, that’s not a guarantee. You could sign an exclusivity clause and realize you don’t have the support you expected or that your audience doesn’t engage with the product.
Negotiation suggestions regarding exclusivity
When you receive a contract that includes an exclusivity clause, there are a few things you should clarify, including:
As mentioned, brand exclusivity comes at a cost. Many brands will increase an influencer’s compensation to offset lost opportunities, but if you don’t feel you’re being compensated fairly, you can negotiate an exclusivity fee.
It’s a common talking point in this deal, so don’t be afraid to bring it up. Make sure any agreements are put in writing in your contract.
How long does the period of exclusivity last? Make sure the timeline is spelled out in the contract. Does it end 30 days after the campaign launches, or is it for six months starting on a certain date? Get specifics.
If exclusivity restricts you from working with competitors, get clarification. Does that mean you can’t work with any brand in the industry, or are there 10 competitors you’re restricted from collaborating with? If there are specific competitors you must avoid, make sure they’re listed in the contract.
As with any potential project, you, as the influencer, must weigh the pros and cons of working exclusively. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or negotiate for what’s best for you and your audience. If you proceed with the deal, ensure all details are written into your contract.