“When you are well organized and structured, you can experience 90% of your status as an influencer like me”

(Agence Ecofin) – Among the 100 most influential women in Africa, according to a ranking drawn up in 2019 by Forbes magazine, Edith Brou is one of the digital headliners on the continent. Considered the greatest influencer of French-speaking Africa, she has agreed to return, for the Ecofin Agency, to her career and the current state of the African influence market.

Agence Ecofin: At the beginning of your career, the media didn’t know which category to rank you in. How would you describe your own words today?

Edith Brou: I would describe myself as a web content creator, in addition to my role as a TV columnist and radio host.

AE: You are now considered one of the most important influencers in French-speaking Africa. How did you build what we can now call the Edith Brou brand?

EB: I didn’t try to be an influencer. It happened in spite of me over the years. My passion for promoting the good uses of new technologies, my availability for my community, my passion for a more aware and self-confident African and female youth and my social activism with my fellow citizens in difficulty at a certain point must have certainly weighed on the balance. date of my trip. I think it was since March 2017 that I realized this during the first edition of Adicomdays in Paris. A list of 53 African influencers spontaneously cited by agencies had been unveiled. And I was part of it. This is a study conducted by the French agency BVA Limelight. From there, I became aware of my true influence and started to really structure myself as a brand with a personal brand well thought out and a vision for the next 10 years. Everything I do on social media is part of my strategy. The same for most of my actions in real life.

In 2009, Edith Brou co-founded with friends the NGO Akendewa, a non-profit association that carries out social actions through technology. Two years later, she participated in the creation of Ayana, the first women’s webzine in the Ivory Coast. In 2015, she Edith Brou heads the Ivory Coast Bloggers Association. You still remain one of the main African figures in digital communication today.

Was this career choice considered or was the influencer business just imposed on you?

I saw myself rather at the head of a large media. But, in general, I like to go where people don’t go. Between 2004 and 2005, when I left college, I did an internship in my older sister’s company, which deals with audiovisual production, my first love. During my off hours, I browsed blogs on the Internet and that’s how I discovered this whole universe of influence marketing. It was interesting and innovative and I like to go where it is innovative. I like to position myself in areas where there is no one yet. I tell myself in 5 or 10 years, it will be the gold rush, so be there at the beginning and be a pioneer. This is what draws me to all things cryptocurrency, blockchain and NFT now and is what drew me to influencer marketing.

In 2012 I managed the establishment of the Ivorian branch of the People Input communication agency. Our first client was Orange Côte d’Ivoire and they didn’t have a Facebook page at the time. They trusted us. With the other customers, a company of this size, such a reference, was needed. Telecommunications operators, banks, giants of the agri-food sector… the customers naturally followed. Maybe having a person like me active on social media, with a community that follows him, has had an impact.

From your point of view, what is an influencer?

An influencer is a character who has the attention of a community of people who admire him and appreciate his content and actions. A community that also trusts its tastes and recommendations.

So can you say based on your experience that the influencer profession is viable in French-speaking Africa?

Yes, when you are well organized and structured, you can experience 90% of your influencer status like me. I think that with the various upheavals our world has been experiencing over the past 10 years and the need for freedom and well-being of the millennial generation and Generation Z, the job of a web content creator will allow many people to quickly become financially independent.

We often see many studies on the profession in other territories, but in Africa, especially in the French-speaking one, it is rather complicated to measure the market value. Why do you think?

Digital communications agencies should simply do their job by collecting this data from the influencers they work with. To really get started, the industry needs more data and structure.

Can we therefore say that influence marketing is still embryonic in French-speaking Africa?

Absolutely no. Influencer marketing is now one of the priority actions of companies from B to C and even from B to B.

We see more and more social networks trying to get out of the like dictatorship. What difference would it make to influencer marketing if, for example, Instagram stopped showing the number of likes?

This would allow brands and influencers to focus solely on the reach and quality of engagement.

Interview by Servan Ahougnon

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