Dr. Thomas Schwenke isn’t only the owner of the Dr. Schwenke chancery, he is also speaker, blogger, podcaster and moreover one of the most popular marketing lawyers in Germany. As a certified data protection officer he is also concerned about the current developments regarding the new GDPR law (General Data Protection Regulation). He will discuss what that exactly means for influencer marketing branch during a FAQ session at the CEBIT!signals. In the interview series “Meet the Speaker” we already asked him some questions about influencer marketing and the GDPR.
You’re one of the most reputable experts on the GDPR law changes in Germany and will also talk about this topic at CEBIT!signals in June. What does the new GDPR law mean for influencer marketing in 2018?
Schwenke: Well, as soon as influencers profesionalize themselves and earn money or reach broad audiences they are automatically fully bound by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The operation of websites and online profiles is then accompanied by data processing, that again often requires legal permissions. Even photographing people, although they are just in the background of the picture, becomes a form of data processing, which illegality can be sanctioned.
Is there anything influencers should do to ensure they comply with these data privacy laws?
If you were to leave brands with one piece of influencer marketing advice, what would it be?
Schwenke: My advice: educate your influencers! In the case of brands, I see an obligation to support the influencers regarding legal regulations and complying them, e.g. with instructions and examples. I think it is more effective to talk to the influencers and to help them rather than put some clauses in contracts, to be legally ensured.
What three mistakes should advertisers be aware of as they explore influencer marketing?
Schwenke: Firstly, advertisers think they can completely pass on the liability to influencers – what in fact they can’t to. Secondly, they assume that the influencers already know the law although even lawyers often do not know what’s exactly right or wrong – how should influencers know? Thirdly, advertisers believe they do automatically receive all rights to all works of the influencers. But these rights can’t be taken that easily.
What are three changes you would like to see happen in the Influencer Marketing Industry in 2018?
Schwenke: I would like to see endorsement disclosures established and that influencers do not have to worry that suddenly less fans will like them just because they stick to the law by tagging their post as paid ad for example. If you ask me, I don’t like pictures, videos or reports from my favourite blogger any less when I know they are sponsored by a certain brand.
What’s the biggest misconception you’ve seen brands have about influencer marketing and what do you think Influencer Marketing will look like in 2020?
Schwenke: Some people think that influencer marketing costs less time and effort than conventional marketing – which definitely isn’t the case. I think that influencer marketing will be a strong part in every company’s marketing-mix in the future and that it will be acknowledged as an effective marketing tool. Which doesn’t mean it won’t be interesting law wise.
What’s more to come and which answers Thomas Schwenke can give as well, we will find out at the FAQ session about GDPR at the CEBIT!signals on 15 June 2018. There he Schwenke will answer the ten mostly asked questions of the community. So don’t hesitate and start asking your questions rightaway by using the hashtag #askdrschwenke on your social media platforms!