“Brands spend inordinate amounts of money in ensuring that they are communicating with their consumers in the correct way, spreading the right message and encouraging those customers to think about the brand in a positive way and transacting with them.
Conversely, affiliates are not necessarily worried too much about what the consumer thinks of the brand, as long as they still buy something from them.
Brands wish to control the messaging that goes out and affiliates wish to adapt it to suit their own means.”
So, how to keep these two from working at cross purposes? Here’s what they conclude:
Brands should set guidelines but give affiliates latitude.
While they shouldn’t be allowed to lie about products or services, affiliates must be given flexibility to adapt the message, within reason, in order to produce sales. Brands should set a rough set of guidelines for affiliates to use and then allow them freedom.
Brands should create a plan to manage their image when working with certain types of affiliates.
Working with some affiliates, particularly those known for discounting, many brands fear that they lose control of discounting themselves and their messaging. Whatever positive image is created by the discount, the credit goes to the affiliate, not the brand. The danger in removing yourself is lost revenue and sales volume.
Like the author, I believe that the question should not be whether to appear with these affiliates, but how best to manage your appearance on these sites. Creating an affiliate strategy is at the heart of it.
So does affiliate marketing damage your brand? It can. But like all marketing and sales initiatives, the answer lies in actively managing your campaign, asserting your objectives and seeking to work in partnership.