Being ‘Miss America’ made Anna Kendrick a social failure

Anna Kendrick talks social media, influencer marketing, and the power of authenticity.

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Anna Kendrick was nominated for a Tony (High Society) at age 12, and an Oscar (Up in the Air) at 25. She made five films in 2015, including Trolls with Justin Timberlake and The Accountant with Ben Affleck. Not bad for a ‘scrappy little nobody’. When she took the stage at INBOUND this month, Anna Kendrick talked social media, influencer marketing, and the power of authenticity.

Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) was a little late to Twitter. By the time she signed up, someone else had created an account in her name. Initially she seldom used her account but when she did she was rubbish.

“I didn’t use it much but when I did I put out a sanitised, very inoffensive, ‘Miss America’ version of myself which no one really cared about”, Kendrick reflects. “Eventually, I found the more I was myself online, the better the experience. Now (with 5.86 million Twitter followers), people respond to anything I say that is embarrassing or funny, or that reveals some of my petty motivations, because it shows we’re all flawed.”

The stench of inauthenticity

Kendrick’s real life misadventures inspired a brand partnership with New York fashion designer Kate Spade. Kendrick, along with a cast of young, A-list female comics and actresses, stars in episodic and on-off video content under the hashtag #missadventure.  With each piece involving a storyline in which something goes wrong, the videos are fresh, fun and authentic. And, with Kendrick and her cohorts decked out in Kate Spade, viewers can shop while they are entertained, or at the end of each micro movie.

kate-spade

“People are smarter than you think”, states Kendrick. “I’ve seen a lot of brands very quickly go from being cool and having a sense of humour about themselves, to trying too hard to keep up with the youths and then seeing people turn on that. When you’re not authentic people can smell it on you.

“If you, as a brand or marketer, decide to engage a celebrity influencer you need to let that person be who they are. Whatever you saw in that celebrity is the same thing everyone likes about them. I always think it’s weird when I see someone really funny doing something sincere or chaste. Embrace the person you’re working with.”

bookNice brand, Anna

Right now, Kendrick is on a book tour following the publication of her first biography ‘Scrappy Little Nobody‘. She talks openly about her struggle with being branded ‘nice’ (“How can you be the nicest girl in the room when you feel you’re being taken advantage of, or when conflict arises?”), and about finding her passion.

“I started in community theatre at age six because I just wanted everyone to look at me. It became my only creative outlet and I don’t think that’s to be taken lightly. It’s important to have something you can pour yourself in to. Theatre became how I learn about myself, and how I think about other people.

Early on in her career Kendrick was advised not to have a back-up plan on the basis that if she did, she’d use it.

“It’s true – over the years I would have caved”, admits Kendrick. “I was talking to Emma Stone a couple of years ago we realised we’d both auditioned for one of the straight-to-DVD American Pie movies…and neither of us had got a call back! You have to be okay with failure and sometimes you have to just let life shit on you.”