Forbes España, the Spanish branch of Forbes Magazine, held yesterday in Madrid its first Business and Influencers Summit. The event was conceived to explore the idea of influencers as entrepreneurs and to better understand how the influencer and finance industries interact.
The summit fell just a few weeks after another sector publicly recognized the power of influencers. Back in August, the Spanish Ministry of Health asked influencers to help fight coronavirus.
Andrés Rodríguez, the president, director and editor of Forbes España, gave the welcome address. He said that this summit is just the first of several that Forbes has planned for the rest of the year. Economist Manuel Conthe curated the event alongside Daniela Rodríguez, founder of influencer marketing agency Soy Olivia.
The Business and Influencers Summit consisted of several roundtable discussions, each focusing on a different topic and with opinions from different panelists.
Influencers as entrepreneurs: What financial services do they need?
Daniela Rodríguez served as the moderator for this roundtable, which brought together three participants who have made the move from influencer to entrepreneur: Inés Arroyo, founder of Barcelona-based fashion label Laagam; Sara Baceiredo, founder of accessories label It’s Lava; and Grace Villareal, founder of fashion brand The Villa Concept and partner in American restaurant Pic&Nic Food.
Baceiredo spoke about how the money she earned as an influencer enabled her to start her brand. She also said that in business, you need to be prepared to learn from whatever sources are available, including books, videos and the people you have around you.
Arroyo and Villareal agreed on a negative aspect they encountered while starting their brands: the amount of bureaucracy required by financial institutions. Both women, who worked with investors and banks while establishing their brands, said the financial sector still lacks trust in digitalization, which could make its processes much more efficient.
The finance sector responds to influencers’ challenges
Economist Manuel Conthe hosted the second roundtable. This discussion brought together various top professionals from Spain’s financial sector.
The panel discussed how an influencer’s main strengths is their ability to reach massive audiences and truly generate KPIs. They also mentioned that influencers put a lot of hard work and dedication into maintaining their social media profiles. However, they also said that a weakness could be that companies created by influencers rely completely on their personal brand. Should the influencer be unable to provide that, the company could fail.
Ana Bolado, a board member of Unicaja Banco, said: “combining the digital and in-person worlds is one of the greatest challenges banks face today.” Bolado, like the influencers in the earlier panel, mentioned digitalization, saying that banks have a lot of work on that front.
One to One
The last event of the day was a conversation between two people, one from each of the highlighted sectors. María Pombo is the founder of online boutiques Name.The Brand and Tipi Tent and festival Suave Fest. Juan Manuel Cendoya Méndez de Vigo is Vice President and Director of Marketing at Banco Santander.
Pombo spoke about the varied effects the coronavirus pandemic has had on her brands. While Tipi Tent has found success, her other two brands have suffered. And Cendoya said influencers have “a very important job as role models”, connecting to what the Ministry of Health touched on a few weeks ago.
The two also touched on leadership. According to Cendoya, the most important aspects of leadership are having a personality and creating confidence in your project. Pombo spoke about how her roles as an influencer and entrepreneur have taught her to avoid providing too much of an opinion on topics like religion and politics, as this can isolate people.
In Spain, influencers are receiving their dues from both a government organization and one of the largest voices in finance. Both examples show how influencers have become powerful forces in our modern society. The worlds of business and influencers are already intermingling and learning how to work together. And there’s no sign this will change soon. So don’t miss out: find influencers to help empower your campaigns!