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Having the right influencers positively engaging with your brand allows product discovery outside of your own audience as well as places a stamp of approval of cultural relevance on that product to your target audience.

Victoria Malisani

Influencer Communications Coordinator

MLSE

× The interview with Victoria Malisani was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

1Tell us about your role as Influencer Communications Coordinator at MLSE.

Like many positions in the sports and entertainment industry, my role continues to evolve to fit the changing media and influencer landscapes.

Overall, my role supports MLSE’s corporate communications strategy through media relations and particularly influencer relations.

This includes building and managing relationships with local influencers as well as developing and executing influencer programs for all of MLSE’s sports teams and business units.

2Utilizing influencers is a huge priority to most businesses these days. What is the biggest benefit of influencer marketing and what’s your approach to using this method?

There are several benefits to integrating influencers into communication and marketing plans, but a standout advantage is influencers’ unique ability to heighten the desirability of a product or service.

Having the right influencers positively engaging with your brand allows product discovery outside of your own audience as well as places a stamp of approval of cultural relevance on that product to your target audience.

My approach to maximizing this benefit begins with carefully vetting the influencers to ensure they are aligned with the goals of the project and the target audience.

Next, I allow as much room for creativity and personalization as possible to the influencer while creating their content.

Guidelines and key messages are provided, but it’s important that content is authentic to the influencer, avoiding scripting or too firmly directing the creative.

After all, influencers know what works best for their audience and, in turn, audiences can detect insincerity.

3Brand identity and recognition is huge. How do you go about finding influencers that fit MLSE’s core values? Once you’ve found them, how do you measure the success of the collaboration?

Over the years, our team has built an extensive roster of local influencers that continues to grow.

Based on the needs of the specific project, we vet this list based on different criteria such as primary affinities, demographics, engagement rates, genuine connection to our team or business unit, and more.

Continuous research is also conducted to ensure the list stays up-to-date as new influencers and creators are emerging every day.

While measuring influencers’ ability to create desirability or cultural relevance is not as straightforward as other marketing tactics, there are some metric available to benchmark success against previous programs such as impressions and engagements (available on the backend of an influencer’s social media post).

4Before you joined MLSE, you worked with Strategic Objectives as a senior consultant. Tell us a little about your process when strategizing new ideas.

While my process for strategy development differs based on the project, one consistent element I always include is brainstorming.

Whether it be with team members in my department or with a colleague with an outside perspective, I find strong value in bouncing ideas together and inviting new perspectives to avoid the fatigue of using the same turnkey tactics.

5I’m sure your job requires lots of innovative thinking! With influencer marketing being still relatively new, where do you see it heading and what do you hope to see in the near future?

One thing I see slowly emerging and I hope continues to rise is brands more closely integrating these influential personalities and creators into the fabric of their strategy.

Instead of viewing influencer marketing solely as an amplification tactic after the development of a campaign, brands are now involving influencers into the creative process, which makes their endorsement even more authentic and meaningful as they have a real stake in the content they are sharing with their audience.

6Lastly, our readers love hearing advice from sport professionals. What advice do you have for people looking to break into the sport industry?

Make connections!

This can be as simple as attending sports-related community events and speaking engagements or seeking out internships and volunteer opportunities in the sports industry.

Also, don’t focus only on staying up-to-date with what’s happening on the court, field or ice, but stay informed on trends happening in the sports industry from a business and creative standpoint - you may just find an avenue where your specific expertise, combined with a passion for sports, makes the perfect career fit.

Emma Greer Emma's Final Thoughts

Connect With Victoria Malisani


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