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Background Checks: Not Just For Your Employees Anymore

Background Checks: Not Just For Your Employees Anymore

If you’ve never heard of PewDiePie, odds are you don’t have a child in middle school. The YouTube star has a huge following among the tween and teen set, making him an ideal candidate as an influencer for Disney – right up until the moment when PewDiePie’s brand of ‘humor’ included virulently anti-Semitic commentary including the phrase “Death to all Jews!” being shared on videos that have at this point been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

Disney, Google and most other brands involved in sponsor-relationships with PewDiePie dropped him immediately, but the damage was done. While PewDiePie’s audience doesn’t seem overly concerned with his commentary – shocking, offensive ‘jokes’ are pretty much par for the course – the parents of that audience are asking, “Shouldn’t you have known what this guy was about before you promoted him?”

[Tweet “When working with an influencer, be fully aware of the type of content that influencer produces.”]

Due Diligence Isn’t Necessarily Easy

Influencer marketing is popular because it gives brands easy access to a ready-made audience. It’s not really hard to figure out why Disney wants to connect with a tween and teenage market: these kids are a big part of their target market. Most of Disney Channel’s original programming is aimed at children ages 9-16; the audience for most animated features is the same.

YouTube stars and other influencers are often much cheaper than full-fledged celebrities, making them attractive to budget-conscious brands. That being said, these savings come with a cost: when you’re not paying for a polished, professional celebrity, you wind up working with a personality that can be a little rough around the edges – or even capable of grossly inappropriate insults and commentary.

If you’re considering working with an influencer, it’s on you as the brand manager to be fully aware of the type of content that influencer produces. This can be a huge undertaking: PewDiePie has had multiple YouTube channels over the years, with hundreds upon hundreds of hours of content. However, brands are being held accountable for what the influencers they work with say. This means due diligence is no longer optional: you really have to do the hard work of knowing what a star’s about before you hitch your company’s name to theirs.

One strategy to avoid being blindsided by this type of situation is to work with a newer, less established influencer. As they build their audience, you gain access to a larger audience. This can take time, but you also have the ability to enter into conversations with the influencer to make sure brand expectations are clear. More established influencers may be more resistant to direction: in that case, you want to really think through whether working with that individual. The worst case scenario is for a brand to work with a very high profile individual like PewDiePie and wind up associated with their hateful rhetoric. As his name suggests, that’s a situation that stinks. Luckily, you can avoid it, by doing your homework!

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Creative Director/Senior Designer

Tom DiGrazia

With over a decade and a half of professional design experience, Tom brings his knowledge of design principles and focus on user experience to every aspect of his contribution to TTG. Paying special attention to each client’s brand, personalized needs and individual interests, he strives to create compelling concepts utilizing intuitive and highly-refined design solutions. In addition to traditional and digital design work and oversight at TTG, Tom also boasts a wide portfolio of web development projects with the company, allowing him to stretch his CSS and HTML skills across multiple platforms and disciplines. He feels that being a designer in the digital landscape of websites, eCommerce solutions, email marketing platforms and social media, it is important to understand the code that goes into these areas as it assists his ability to tailor designs specifically targeted to achieve the best end result and further builds understanding and communication with backend development teams.

In his off hours, Tom is an avid pop culture enthusiast, staying up to date on the latest shows, films, comics and games. He can also typically be found taking part in a whole host of artistic activities that help him further stretch his creative legs. Regardless of the activity, Tom is always accompanied by his dog, Eli, and his cat, Tib.

Design, Photography, Illustration, Digital Imagery Manipulation, Wesbite Development

Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, HTML/CSS, Wordpress


Courtney Dumont

As Senior Marketing Strategist & Analyst at Technology Therapy Group, Courtney is energized by the ability to flex both her left and right brain daily. Courtney discovered her passion for Marketing at Bryant University, where she spearheaded research on students’ perceptions of Social Media Marketing for her Honors Capstone Project. After graduating Bryant in 2012, she joined the Technology Therapy team, where she’s honed her skills in social media, search and social advertising, email marketing, SEO, and more.

Since joining the team, Courtney has created digital marketing strategies and managed campaigns for clients across the country, ranging from plastic surgery centers, to jewelry stores, to construction companies. With a cohesive, cross-channel approach and a focus on data-driven decision making, she has increased their leads by up to 217%. But Courtney doesn’t leave her zeal for social media at the office; she also runs a local foodie Instagram account with her husband to document their meals across Rhode Island and beyond. Check them out: @hoppilyfed.

Marketing Strategy, Data Analysis, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Social Media

Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Facebook Creator Studio, Instagram, Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Emma Mail, Google Data Studio, WordPress, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft Office