The American Influencer Council, Inc. (AIC) is a newly formed not-for-profit membership trade association created by influencers for influencers. The trade association is dedicated to sustaining the integrity, viability and growth of the U.S. influencer marketing industry in a globally connected world. The AIC’s mission is to advance digital marketing education as well as the art and authenticity of co-branded content as shared through social media platforms for the ultimate benefit of society. Its members are Instagrammers, TikTokers, YouTubers, bloggers, podcasters, photographers, illustrators, online personalities, creatives and custom content thought leaders.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses comprise 99.9% of all U.S. corporations. From nano to mega, social media influencers of varying reach are rarely recognized as American small business owners, even though their entrepreneurial stewardship fuels the launch of their own product lines and innovative digital ventures. Influencers are stimulating local economies and creating jobs across the country, but they are not getting the credit they deserve.

Founded by Qianna Smith Bruneteau, the 10th Annual Shorty Award winner for ‘Best Celebrity/Influencer Campaign on Snapchat,’ and 3rd Annual Social Good Shorty Award winner for ‘Best Use of Live-streaming Video,’ the AIC aims to show the world that influencers are neither a trend nor a gig, and that career influencers are leading a high-growth startup industry. AIC Members are at the forefront of their trade. The AIC’s Board of Directors consists of Founding Chairwoman Chriselle Lim, Vice President Aliza Licht, and Vice President Brittany Xavier. Founding Members are Rocky Barnes, Danielle Bernstein, Blair Breitenstein, Serena Goh, Kat Irlin, Patrick Janelle, Nicolette Mason, Pierre, and Chrissy Rutherford. The AIC and its Founding Members are committed to changing the narrative and advocating on behalf of both established and emerging creators in the U.S.

“Clickbait headlines claiming the age of influencers is over undermine the contributions of creators to the U.S. GDP. These digital media entrepreneurs are fueling the creative, storylines and success behind the influencer marketing industry projected to reach $15 billion by 2022,” says Qianna Smith Bruneteau. “Today marks the 10th anniversary of Social Media Day. The AIC and our Founding Members are right on time to usher in a new era of legitimacy for career influencers, who are American small business owners and media innovators.”

As the steward of the influencer marketing industry, the AIC aims to ensure that their members are being actively engaged in a two-way dialogue with the B2C/B2B brands, social media platforms, data/software companies and legislatures creating the opportunities, technology, research/tools and regulations in which the AIC has a vested interest today and beyond. The AIC welcomes the collaboration of organizations and professional advisor members who share an equal stake in ensuring the sustained growth of the global demand for authentic digital content.​

“Social media and influencers continue to reinvent the communication landscape for businesses not only in the U.S., but globally,” confirms Chriselle Lim, the Founding Chairwoman of AIC, a pioneer of the fashion blog movement and owner of two startups. “I am a personal brand and a product developer managing two companies. Small businesses including creators are an anchor of the U.S. economy. The mission-critical work in motion at the AIC is only going to strengthen and further legitimize the efforts of the creator community in America. I’m honored to chair this endeavor.”

To deliver on its mission, the AIC has a five-pronged approach to develop consensus-based industry solutions:

1) Learning & Development: Provide the intellectual capital to advance digital marketing education at the university level and offer mentoring support for the next generation of influencers;

2) Consumer Transparency: Lobby the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to cooperatively adhere, promote and improve the Endorsement Guidelines; (After its incorporation, the AIC made a public comment to FTC on the Guides);

3) Standardization & Professional Ethics: Develop market-relevant operating standards to support innovation and ethical conduct. Enhance the co-branded content experience on social media platforms including, but not limited to, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest, Twitch, GIPHY and Tumblr;

4) Data Science & Influencer Economy: Foster digital economy research and analysis and examine the contributions of career influencers to the U.S. GDP;

5) Public Goodwill: Create an innovation lab, industry relevant public service announcements, host events to promote the influencer trade.

“Creativity doesn’t sleep. In the past decade, social media has transformed the way the world communicates and consumes information in every industry. Influencers are leading this revolution, and our goal is to empower our members with the resources they need to stay on the pulse of the ever-changing issues, trends and legislation that impact the influencer marketing industry in the U.S.,” says Aliza Licht, Board Co-Vice President and early social media maverick as the former Twitter personality DKNY PR GIRL.

For the first time, creators across all fields and content disciplines are collaborating to set an agenda to influence the future of their industry. As an invite-only, trade association, the AIC will take up to 15 new members in 2020.

AIC Founding Members #AICcreators (Instagram Handles)

Christine Schott Ledes
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