As part of our year-end, Firebrand Group released a new Ebook, 20.16 Big Ideas for 2016. In it, we asked a number of our favorite award-winning marketing experts, authors, and other thought leaders--in addition to some of our own team of digital strategy and branding experts--to recommend one "Big Idea" that companies can take advantage of to get ahead in 2016. You can download the entire Ebook here.

One of the folks I was fortunate enough to interview for this project was Gabrielle Archambault, who is Senior Manager, Social Media and Community for eos--otherwise known as Evolution of Smooth--the rapidly-growing skincare and lipcare brand. Archambault recommends that companies add influencers to their marketing mix. Here's some of our conversation:

What's the importance of adding influencers into your marketing mix?

Influencers not only amplify your brand reach on social, they add an element of authenticity to your brand. Though consumers can love brands they have been trained to be somewhat skeptical of them and the content/message they distribute. Content and messaging created by influencers isn't yet held to that lever of scrutiny and is seen as more organic, even when #ad #sponsored is included.

As a brand, it's one thing to tell consumers "I'm cool", it's significantly more powerful to have a person that a consumer admires to say your brand is cool.

Isn't there a danger of working with influencers? What if you partner with someone who has a PR pitfall, for example?

A well thought-out influencer strategy can benefit every brand; you just have to find the right type of influencer. A hair care brand isn't going to reach out to the same bloggers that a children's cough syrup would. You need to know who your customer is, what kind of content they enjoy consuming and where they view that content before you even think about reaching out to influencers.

The more data and awareness you have about your consumers and fans the more you can customize your content and optimize your influencer outreach plan.

Are influencers right for every brand? What types of brands can best benefit from having an influencer strategy?

This really depends on your brand. For example, if you're working in the medical field you have to be much more careful in choosing influencers then if you're a beauty brand. In general, if you've taken the time to put together a strong influencer plan you should be fine.

What brands do influencer strategy the best?

If I can't tell that an influencer is working for a brand at first, that's usually how I gauge how successful the brand's influence plan is.

Don't define "influencers" narrowly; I consider partnerships to be part of influencer strategy as well. One partnership that I loved was the "Dear Kitten" video campaign created for Friskies and Buzzfeed. The brand tapped into Buzzfeed's ability to create amazing content and made a video so engaging you don't even realize it's a commercial until you're 1:40 in.

Looking for more Big Ideas for 2016? Access the entire Ebook here. And here's wishing you lots of success with adding influencers to your 2016 marketing mix.