Fohr’s James Nord on Leveling the Playing Field in the Industry of Influence

by Alexandra Ilyashov

James Nord set out to better connect brands and influencers. The result? Fohr, a tech platform for influencer data and discovery. Nord’s company also runs novel campaigns, from the Sephora Squad to political work driving voters to the polls.

James Nord (Courtesy)

Why did you create Fohr?
I wanted to build a technology platform and company to flatten the playing field of influencers. A few agencies at the time represented the big influencers; every brand I talked to, no one seemed thrilled about working with them. There was a gatekeeper mentality of overcharging. Only a handful of people were given opportunities. I thought it could be about not who you knew, but what you did, content you created, connection with your audience, and how big your corner of the Internet was. The space could become more egalitarian and fair. We created technology that didn’t exist in the space, to prevent fraud and drive brands’ performance. There was no way to tell if an influencer bought followers before our Follower Help tool launched a few years ago.

Do you often persuade brands to consider lesser-known talent?
Yes, all the time. We just launched a strategy department because we’ve done so much of this. There’s a natural predilection to working with the people you follow. That often isn’t the right person or the best use of money.

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📈 Are all growth tactics fair game? @jamesnord doesn't think so in this week's episode of A Drink with James. He discusses where he would draw the line, as just because you could legally use a tactic, it doesn't necessarily mean that you should.⁠ -⁠ 🗣 We've also heard some chatter on an Instagram usage ban, which James also discusses in this episode, before finishing up with a very heartfelt discussion about follower growth rates. A metric that we encourage all influencers (and brands) to keep a constant eye on.⁠ -⁠ 📋 To round out this week's episode, we talk about a very common question: how do you deal with brand expectations when they are a little too unrealistic. How can you be honest with them without burning the bridge is a fine line and art, and James gives his thoughts on how to ride this line gracefully.⁠ Full video link in bio.

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Are many of the influencers on Fohr without representation?
Once you hit a certain following, a lot of influencers want an agent—there’s no way to avoid that. Our value is managing the prices that the agent is charging. We’ve come to a good place with a lot of the agencies; they know if they are more fair with us, the work will come more consistently. We work out a system, so we’re not getting the predatory pricing that agents kick around. We don’t make more money by charging more per influencer. We’re actually incentivized to find value for our clients, whereas agents are not.

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