Floral Dress + Moto Jacket // How To Deal With A Micro-Managing Brand
I recently had a miserable experience with a brand. They tried to micro-manage me every step of the way. I went through with the collaboration because I had signed a contract, but I was very close to breaking the contract and simply returning the package. First they wanted me to send over my Instagram Stories for approval. Instagram Stories are supposed to be raw and in the moment. They’re 15 seconds long and only last 24 hours. They’re not supposed to be structured and scripted, but the brand sent over talking points. They asked my friend, who worked with them as well, to redo her Instagram Story because she didn’t explain WHY the brand was better than its competitors. That was the first red flag.
The brand also requested that I send over my Instagram photo for approval. It’s annoying, but understandable. In my four years of blogging; however, I have never been asked to reshoot until now. I work hard creating beautiful content and I shot their product in a flatlay. Their response: You need to reshoot because these pieces aren’t cute together. A flatlay is a compilation of a bunch of different objects styled into one shot. They’re very time consuming to create and they’re not always supposed to “make sense.” It’s very common to see a laptop, a candle, a hat, a phone, and a book thrown together for the photo. The point of a flatlay is to make a great picture, not necessarily tell a story.
As a creator, it’s important to set boundaries and not let brands take complete creative control. Here are a few ways to make sure that doesn’t happen.
- Be more specific with the terms beforehand.
Don’t leave room for misinterpretations or skewed expectations.
- Find out if the brand is looking for anything in particular.
i.e. If a beauty brand sends you lipstick, are they okay with you shooting it in a flatlay or are they expecting you to wear it for the photo?
- Understand what the approval process entails.
If the brand asks for approval, determine the max rounds of edits you’ll allow. To avoid having to reshoot, ask the company if they have any guidelines.
- Read your contract very carefully.
Ask for clarification if you have any questions and let the brand know if you require any changes in the terms.
- Look at the brand’s Instagram page to get an idea of their style.
While staying true to your own aesthetic, try to create an image in line with what the brand is already posting. This will keep the brand happy and pretty much guarantee that they won’t ask you to reshoot.
In the case that you already signed a contract and are in the midst of dealing with a brand-zilla, here’s what you do.
- Be extra polite in your email responses.
Even though you probably want to curse the brand out, don’t give them a reason to be even more difficult.
- Push back.
If the brand is requesting additional terms, be direct about what you had previously agreed upon and renegotiate if necessary.
- Suck it up.
If the brand is acting in accordance with the contract, just suck it up and complete the collab.
- Ask for guidelines.
If the brand asks you to reshoot, as frustrating as it is, simply respond with a request for more specific guidelines so you can make sure to get it right the second time around.
- Don’t work with them again.
Send the brand a thank you email along with your invoice and then make a note to politely decline if they ever reach out again.
Black and White Floral Dress: Ivanka Trump (c/o)
Black Leather Moto Jacket: Luvit (c/o)
Black Klover Sandals: Ivanka Trump (c/o)