Why I left Balance Feeling Totally Disheartened

This year and every year there are a number of fitness festivals that take place. I love to go to these because I get to discover new foods and often meet people that I have interacted with via Social Media.

Over the weekend I attended Balance, a celebration of Food, Fitness, and Wellness. I have to say it was probably the best value for money when I compare it to a number of others I have attended. There were brands there I had never heard of (which I love because I want to try new things) and there were lots of talks and classes. So on a whole, it was really good but for some reason, I left it feeling totally disheartened.

It’s quite hard to actually understand why. I went by myself which I think forced me to observe the environment I was in, in a lot more detail.  When I go to these things I don’t sell myself to brands and be like ” Sorry I run a food blog, hint hint freebie *flick hair*. If they ask I say it, otherwise, I go about my business. I was quite taken back when I saw this nonsense happening around me. (TBH I have seen it before when I attended BeFit and Bodypower last year. Although I just thought it was because of the brand I was there with.) I witnessed mini-herds of “instafamous” groups cascading upon these brands like vultures and being utterly demanding. It was an eye-opener, to say the least. Is this really how the industry has gone or has it always been like that? Is it all about getting free things? Do they really think having 20k+ followers gives them the right to act like that? Don’t get me wrong who doesn’t love a freebie but I would never in my wildest dreams act like that. If I did I would expect Mike to tell me to stop being a little princess and rightly so.

What’s frightening is that actually, influencers have so much power over brands these days. They’re afraid to stand up to them, in case they say something nasty on social media, resulting in a backlash against their brand. In my opinion, some brands need to grow a pair. It should be a two-way relationship where both parties benefit. End of. I’m close to this subject because I am friends with a number of brands, small businesses in particular, who have unfortunately tried the influencer route and have given up. This is simply because of how ungrateful and demanding some influencers can be. It needs to change. I come at this from two perspectives personally as a blogger but also professionally as a Social Media Manager. I want this industry to survive and I want it to be built on trust and respect. This attitude needs to change otherwise this type of advertising just won’t be respected.

Are you a brand? Have you experienced this? Are you a passer-by, have you noticed this? Have you worked on the stalls and been like “Do one!”. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.


Disclaimer – This is what I’ve witnessed and I’m not saying every blogger is like this.






15 thoughts on “Why I left Balance Feeling Totally Disheartened

  1. I saw and heard a lot of this when I was there, lots of let me snap story that and the like…what i liked is the majority of the brands didn’t buy in to it and seemed to laugh it off.
    I left feeling underwhelmed by the show, lots of good food bits and I bought a fair amount to try not enough true fitness or clothing for me (maybe because I’m a guy) and certainly not enough wellness and mindfulness for me. I will probably go next year as I find these things take a few years to establish the balance (excuse the pun) of what to have.

    1. I think some brands succumb to the pressure when there’s little groups of them.

      I really enjoyed the food part because I didn’t know a lot of them. Yeah active wear was rubbish and I agree very little on mindfulness.hopefully they take on feedback and incorporate more of it next year. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts

    2. Ps if you’ve not seen on my main page I’m holding a mindfulness event with a Team GB Mindcoach and Anxiety expert on the 11th of June if you’re interested in coming 🙂

  2. Totally see where you’re coming from here, and I’ve witnessed the same kind of thing at plenty of events. As you mention, the so-called “influencers” have a hold over brands, and so many brands are blinded by follower numbers – whether the numbers are legit or not! It’s a sad state of affairs really.

    Have you seen any of Nik Speller’s posts about influencer marketing and “instafraud”? Really interesting stuff. http://www.prweek.com/article/1433362/mail-online-expose-instagram-tactics-asks-questions-influencer-marketing

  3. Hi
    I exhibited at the Balance Festival to showcase my Journal. I was overwhelmed by positive response and enthusiasm for the Journal but yes, I did get the feeling that some of the ‘influencers’ were looking for freebies., Wow, what a vicious circle we seem to have developed. Having said that, I received massive endorsement for the content of the Journal that addresses wellbeing, mental health awareness and balanced lifestyle so maybe there is hope!

    1. Thank you for sharing Liz and delighted to hear that you’ve received a massive endorsement. I would love to hear more about it as I’m very close to mental health and wellbeing – send me an email irunlikeagirl704@gmail.com

      Sorry went slightly off topic. Hopefully those who act like this will receive a massive wake up call.

  4. Okay, I will be careful in my reply because I don’t want to name names but…Last year I went to Be:Fit and I was disappointed that I’d wasted my money.
    I felt uncomfortable, uninspired and bored within 35 minutes, there’s only so many samples of peanut butter and protein bars you can handle.
    However, the key point was my disappointment with other bloggers. I make no secret of the what I watched a gargle of ‘big names’ hide in the corners bitching and gossiping.
    That includes a couple of women with 100k+ followers and one particular young lady, who leaves a bad taste in my mouth. She had the audacity to snigger and say ‘yeah right’ in response to the fact 1,000 followers on Instagram makes you an ‘Influencer’ during a talk I was listening to.
    I simply don’t have the patience for that sort of thing anymore…

    1. I hear you. I wasn’t in the country when Be fit was on but if I was I wouldn’t have went for exactly that reason. I had a bad experience last year.

      It’s an interesting industry to say the least. Some like to portray themselves as helping each other and being all pals but really it’s just for show. I approached a number of bloggers much bigger than me who have talked about mental health in the past and I thought might be able to help me amplify my event. Since they’re all about helping each other rolls eyes*. I don’t mind if they can’t but at least have the decency to respond back to me. I got two responses out of total of 15 emails sent. Zanna Van Dijk was the only one to show an interest in what I was doing and was very supportive. There needs to be that kind of support both amongst our community of bloggers and with brands. Otherwise it just won’t last. Thank you for commenting xx

  5. I’m completely with you on this. This year was my third at Be:Fit – and I was stunned by the level of rudeness, self-obsession and focus on insta-fame.

    Balance was similar. The increasingly desperate emails (even on the day) dropping the price of tickets seemed to be a bit of a confession about how they’d got it wrong with sky-high entry costs and class costs on top.
    There were positives at Balance – I don’t want to say there weren’t – but it was more a catwalk / instagram celebrity haunt than an expo on London’s fitness/wellness scene.
    I’m looking forward to seeing whether SweatLife stays true to how brilliant it was last year.

    1. That’s exactly what it was, you nailed it.
      I wasn’t at SweatLife and I’m a little bit weary but given it’s Lululemon I think they will be more switched on when it comes to this

  6. These events are anxiety central for me as I feel very inferior and unable to promote myself. I’m happy to buy the things I like, and if I get into a nice conversation I’ll mention the blog, but I’m a personal trainer first and that’s where my comfort zone lies. Even being a speaker at Balance, I didn’t feel confident enough to strike up conversations and network on my own. I too notice the instafamous with that aura around them, but perhaps they’re just as nervous, they just hide it better! Brands can spot someone who is genuinely interested in their product, and hopefully can filter out the freebie hunters.
    Natasha • http://www.danceflowlift.com

    1. I know – it’s quite difficult. You took the words out of my mouth. Congrats on getting the opportunity btw. You’re the same as me but I would never go up to a brand and be like ” I’m a blogger” which I’ve encountered so many times. It’s like that doesn’t give you a right of passage to act like a diva.

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