It’s a paradox that the best role models often don’t set out to become role models at all. The most influential people inadvertently inherit that mantle through a talent or trait that makes younger people admire them and/or want to be them.

At this point, their newfound status risks being derailed in one of two ways. They can be burned by the spotlight of expectation, unable to live up to the flawlessness suddenly demanded. Or, high on attention, they can embrace their ego a little too fully, becoming self-important, smug and prone to believing their own hype.

This is the quandary facing media agencies charged with procuring the platform of what we now call “influencers”, also known as endorsers, taste makers, paid early adopters. Which ones will be any use?



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