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Powerful Conversations Beyond Vanity Metrics: theAmplify’s Approach to Leveraging Influencer Talent

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At SMWLA, Lindsay Fultz, V.P Brand Partnerships and Strategy at theAmplify discussed how and why taking an integrated approach to influencer marketing delivers the highest ROE and ROI.

From the directive, “this is about application education. Make sure they know the ‘spray 7,’” theAmplify was able to craft an engaging campaign that featured content creators developing their own short films incorporating Axe Body Spray. theAmplify’s Lindsay Fultz, VP for Brand Partnerships and Strategy, was quick to note that her influence on the content was minimal. What’s more, she believes that’s how it should be. “Talented influencers should be an extension of your marketing team. They create the best content, they know how to engage with an audience at scale, and interact in a way that incites action.” Fultz shared a few other guiding principles to consider when bringing influencers on to your next campaign.

Influencers Should Bring a Skillset to the Table

Fultz was quick to clarify at the opening of her talk that there are two types of influencer. One, she calls “the beautiful people.” These are the ones who hold a product near their face, and caption a photo with something robotically resembling infomercial speak. An audible laugh emerged when she paired this qualifier with a screencap from Real Housewife Kyle Richards’ Instagram feed.

The second, and the kind theAmplify seeks out in their projects, are what Fultz calls “talented creators.” These creators are actors, filmmakers (short or longform), music, sports, or gaming enthusiasts who have a skill that the company can leverage in its efforts. theAmplify utilizes the joint insight of IBM Watson and Google Tensor Flow to match their target audience to appropriate influencers. But they do then ensure a human element comes into play. “A person verifies that the influencer is ‘brand safe,’ that there is competitor separation, that they have a profile aesthetic in line with the brand ethos, and that they can create the content the campaign needs,” Fultz shared.

Influencer Skills Can Inform Technological Solutions

Although Fultz talked about the human element being essential, she also shared a case of how a human influencer helped to develop a tech-based influencer product. KalaniBot was a chat and Instagram bot developed in conjunction with CoverGirl to provide makeup tips and encouragement. KalaniBot yielded unheard of engagement numbers, some 14 times greater than the brand (or even Kalani herself) was getting on posts. And she answered the burning question that always comes up when she cites this example: “They do [know they’re talking to a bot].”

This bot technology doesn’t have to be a person that is actively collaborating with the brand. Ford, for example, could create a chatbot in the persona with Henry Ford. Similarly, with permission, Nike could use the likeness and persona of Michael Jordan. It has the potential to develop affinity to a brand, and can do so in more ways than having that person develop content.

Influencer Efforts Should Have “A Seat at the Big Table”

As the middle child, Fultz was able to admit that her analogy was informed by her upbringing. Influencer marketing is often relegated to a kids’ table of sorts, when it should “be at the table with the whole family.” Influencer marketing, she mentioned, can create collateral to be repurposed on social media and in email marketing efforts, and influencer names tied to SEO keywords move results up considerably. “People do care what influencers do, eat, wear, and who they date.” The power that they have should be leveraged all across the organization.

Influencers Create Access to Crowdcultures

Referring back to two examples of the Axe campaigns, Fultz wondered aloud, “how many brands would come up with that?” These influencers are not only hugely talented, but have built an audience and a fanbase by sharing that talent with the world. The worlds they’ve created with their skills resemble “crowdcultures,” or groups shaped on common interest. Book clubs and knitting circles are what the crowdculture once looked like; today, it’s followers of online musicians or filmmakers. When you leverage the power of these influencers, positioning them as brand ambassadors, you gain organic access to these crowdcultures.

And access to these crowdcultures is imperative for any brand looking to use these influencers in an authentic, meaningful way. They’re creating “content that crosses borders,” Fultz shared. When they’re allowed to do this in the manner they know will work, “not only do you create content that transcends vanity metrics, and generates good conversation, you have content that extends your messaging to a whole new audience. And that’s added value.”

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