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Influencers Social Media Advertising

Vox Pop: 'Influencers' and their 'influences'

By Naomi Taylor | Client Services Manager



The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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May 6, 2016 | 11 min read

In today’s marketing speak, influence can mean a number of different things for advertisers. It can mean influential emotion, content, video or it can relate to an actual person or community who can directly communicate with consumers on behalf of brands. Influencers are the vloggers, bloggers and artists who can manipulate our audiences easily. How can they do this? What does the word ‘influencer’ mean in 2016 and what can they do for us marketeers?

Rebekah McKay Miller, managing director, trnd

An influencer is not necessarily someone with thousands of followers on Twitter or YouTube. Bloggers, vloggers and artists have the reach, but it’s regular consumers – the everyday influencers – that pose the real opportunity for brands. A recommendation from someone you know is still the most trusted form of advertising. Consumers who actively want to be involved with your brand will be happy to recommend products they love to their friends, distribute product samples, or share behind-the-scenes information that creates social currency or a feeling of being ‘in the know’ about a brand. Using their influence among their friends and peers – your future customers – they have a direct impact on the success of your business.

Smart brands are using branded communities to identify and connect with thousands of these everyday influencers who can spread the word about their products, or provide valuable insights into product development, or even share ideas for new products. Interactions on an owned platform means the brand will own the data, and can feed that back into a CRM system, to build the relationship with each influential consumer even further. To do this effectively, marketers must make genuine connections with their consumers. This takes human interaction – people talk to people, after all – and a brand to genuinely care about what their users think. This is not a one-way street. Build a meaningful relationship with your consumers, and they will naturally use their influence to benefit your brand.

Ross Taylor, account manager, Cult LDN

With the rise of social media, anyone can be an influencer. All you need to do is pick your passion, and create content that resonates with a key demographic in society. For brands, these modern day celebrities provide access to a ready-made audience through a trusted and valuable medium. Working with influencers can be much more effective than using your own channels alone - 92% of individuals trust recommendations from other people over brands, and 88% trusting online recommendations as much as trust those of their personal contacts. This powerful word of mouth marketing is best used when working with influencers that match your brand - there is no point using an influencer for influencer's sake, particularly when it does not feel natural for them to endorse you. One great case study from Cult's work with Barbour was partnering with Adventurer of the Year, Sean Conway, for the brand's AW15 Heritage of Adventure collection - the perfect storm of brand, campaign and influencer working together.

Whilst working with influencers increasingly becomes more expensive, brands should be analysing their content and followers to derive exactly what they can achieve. In some cases, the reach and engagement that influencers provide can vastly prove their worth - particularly in today's pay to play landscape, where it costs to have your content seen. In short, successful influencer partnerships can create new customers, more engaged customers and more valuable customers.

Charlotte McMurray, digital performance director, Silverbean

The most important thing to understand about influencer marketing is that it’s not just celebrity endorsement for the social media age. While influencers can put your brand in front of huge audiences, the rules of marketing in the age of the consumer still apply - if brands don’t deliver value, they’ll be ignored. Influencer marketing might be a novelty at the moment, but as it grows audiences will become accustomed to being sold to, and switch off.

Influencer marketing isn’t necessarily right for every brand, and even those who could benefit need a carefully tailored strategy. They need find the right influencers (not necessarily the biggest ones) for their brand, build relationships with them in the right way and then conduct the right activities to provide value to their audience. Working collaboratively with influencers to develop campaigns or messages is key to achieving this in an authentic way.

While influencer marketing isn’t as simple as it might seem, the good news is that the right approach opens up a whole host of benefits, not least from the influencers themselves. Outside of brand exposure and trust building, influencers have the potential to provide unique insight into your audience and its needs, as well as a fresh perspective on new products or developments within your brand, providing value far beyond simple product placement.

Paul Betteridge, digital marketing specialist, Thinking Juice

As a marketer, understanding what ‘influences’ contribute to our audience’s emotional awareness and what or who inspires them to take the next step is a crucial insight in our marketing mix. Targeting influencers and understanding what ‘communities’ already exist for our brands is a great opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals who have already formed engaging relationships with our target market. By identifying and collaborating with these influencers, we can interact on a human level (people buy from people) with people who have a marketing channel that is trusted and has a voice in our market. Ultimately it’s a great opportunity to attract and engage with an already primed community, who are already influenced and keen to seek clarity about our brand and its relevance. Our advice would be to broaden your targeting efforts and befriend your brands influencers, vloggers and bloggers who can influence your audiences and stimulate positive outcomes.

Tracey Greer, marketing manager, Mando Group

Twenty years ago, an ‘influencer’ would have been Kate Moss in a paparazzi photo with a brand’s latest handbag on her arm in the ‘red tops’. Then along came social media and stretched this influence beyond all previous recognition. I think the traditional definition of ‘influence’ for a brand still stands at a basic level – the right people saying the right things about your products.

It’s just that the ways to access this group have now exploded. As marketers, influencers are one powerful weapon in our armoury. With instant access to celebrities touting every kind of product imaginable, added to the mass of ‘regular Janes and Joes’ who count themselves as bloggers and vloggers, everyone’s an influencer. The powerful effect of vloggers and bloggers can be seen when you look at the huge audiences they attract.

Two vloggers that can’t be ignored (even if you are firmly in the Generation X camp) are Zoella and her boyfriend Alfie Deyes - between them they have 11 million subscribers on YouTube - that’s almost one sixth of the UK population. At the end of the day, customers build your brand reputation – you can put a shape in place, get your product range right, get a top TV ad spot and excel at CX, but ultimately customers are going to fill this structure with their own influential opinion.

Sheri Matthews, account manager, Digital Visitor

The word ‘influencer’ – or, rather, its meaning – has changed substantially over the past 5 years. With consumers becoming increasingly savvy to blogger/brand partnerships, influence has less to do with so-called ‘vanity metrics’ in 2016. We now understand the importance of true engagement, and not simply numbers. For that reason, an influencer doesn’t have to be a vlogger or blogger; an influencer can be anyone with a relevant following.

A case in point is the rise of Iceland to its current status of ‘buzz’ destination. It’s no coincidence that many of the leading travel blogs were writing about the Nordic island’s virtues directly before it hit the big time. Ensure your product is in vogue with some of the biggest influencers around and you can be sure of an up-tick in sales. Conversely, keeping a close eye on those most influential can help marketeers spot important trends. Lakeland and the popularity of spiralisers comes to mind. Of course, influence can work both ways and isn’t always positive. As a certain agency found out recently, treat your influencers poorly – hassle them for content or renege on agreements – and it could be the end of you. It’s a sign of the times and the burgeoning power of influencers.

Aaron Bali, senior data planner, Hugo & Cat

With the growing importance of paid influencer outreach and advertorial content, it’s easy to focus on the new kids on the block and forget about the real core of who influencers are: word-of-mouth advocates for your brand or service. So more than just those who will accept some cash to showcase your products in an Instagram picture or a blog post, your brand’s influencer network is significantly wider than that. It includes people who tweet praise about your brand, leave negative online reviews, or (perhaps terrifyingly for data-driven marketers) talk about it down the pub on a Friday night. These organic influencers may not have as large a reach as paid influencers, but they have drastically more impact on their individual networks. I don’t need to rehash the statistics, but word of mouth (in its various guises) is still by far the most powerful method for increasing the reach of your marketing activity. So how do we optimise for that? By making sure that we focus on creating quality products and services that are (to borrow a line from Seth Godin) remarkable. If we take the time to make and promote things that are worth engaging with, worth raving about, and worth sharing, you’ll see influencers suddenly become the channel that pushes your marketing activity further than any other. It’s a model we’ve seen work for all kinds of business - from venerable streetwear brands like Palace and Supreme, through to massively-scaled startups like Uber or Dropbox. By focusing on product and communications quality, we can create advocates at every brand touchpoint - rather than just those that we have to pay for.

Hayley Stovold, copywriter, Kolab Digital

Most YouTube stars come from humble beginnings, with many filming their vlogs in their bedroom with an old video camera. Today, these vloggers are celebrities, taking on huge roles in the public eye. Their power to shift products is undeniable. In 2014 YouTube star Zoella released her book, Girl Online, and it became the fastest selling book of that year. Zoella and Alfie Deyes (another ‘social influencer’) even have their own waxwork model at Madame Tussauds. Many brands are now looking to cash in on the power of bloggers, by striking up lucrative brand partnerships or paying for one-off advertorials and sponsored videos. Whilst some think this can blur the lines between advertising and genuine content, I think it’s a necessity for marketers today. The fanbases aren’t being shown an advert they don’t want to see, they are actively seeking out new content from these influencers, so they’re automatically engaged. Many vloggers not only talk about products, they show their audiences how they incorporate them into their everyday lives and this can be invaluable for brands. Although there are guidelines that state vloggers and brands need to clearly state when they’re working together, putting ‘ad’ at the end of a video (so far) hasn’t impacted viewing figures. So, if done in the right way, I think influencer collaborations can provide a huge return on investment for marketers today.

Influencers Social Media Advertising

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Cult's ideas and insight take some of the world’s biggest beauty, fashion, luxury and wellness brands beyond their comfort zone to drive tangible business value. Founded in London in 2012 by Bridey Lipscombe and Cat Turner, we launched a New York studio in 2018, a global production house in 2019, and now have over 40 staff and an annual turnover of $8m.

Our innovative campaigns deliver authority, personality and relevance for our clients, be they legacy brands or start-ups. New business wins in 2019 included ELEMIS, Burberry, ghd, Rodan + Fields, Kopari and Pepsi-Lipton International’s latest plant powered energy drink YULA. Existing clients Sally Hansen, dunhill and Coty also extended our creative remit. Cult have worked with icons including Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Vivienne Westwood and Lady Gaga, while also recently being the first agency to develop a social drop-model for Marc Jacobs, which generated a sales uplift of over 250%.

The business’ R&D arm launched Mindscape, a mental health voice app for Amazon Alexa and Google Home, in conjunction with charity Mind. The app received critical acclaim and Mindscape 2.0 will be launched later in the year. Cult have recently appointed a new Head of Strategy, Charlotte Bunyan, their first Communications Director, Hugo Eyre-Varnier and signed award-winning futurist author Lucie Greene to collaborate on Cult Futures, their new insight and incubation program.

Clients include :

M.A.C Cosmetics, ELEMIS, Nike, Burberry, Sally Hansen, GHD, Kopari, Rodan + Fields, Amazon Fashion, Pepsico, Umbro, St. Tropez, Revlon Professional, FarFetch, Sarah Jessica Parker Fragrances, Agent Provocateur, Royal Salute, Kurt Geiger, Tod's

Awards include :

2018: Shortlisted Campaign's Independent Agency of the Year, The Drum Independent Agency of the Year Top 100 2017: The Drum Network Social Media Agency of the Year 2016: Brand Republic Agency of the Year 2015: BIMA Hot 100 (Agency Co-Founder Listed), Digital Mavericks, Top 10 (Both Agency Co-Founders listed) Clio Image Awards, Experiential (winner)

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Most brands understand that their affiliate partner programme has huge potential to grow, but lack the resource or experience to activate it.

We undertake a comprehensive audit to identify opportunities to grow sales performance from your affiliate partner programme. We then build short-term and long-term strategies to take the channel from its current performance through to proactive growth and beyond.

Silverbean began over fifteen years ago, with one simple brief from our very first client: “Improve our online sales performance. As quickly as you can.”

Our focus has remained unchanged since then; working with businesses across sectors and sizes to accelerate their sales and enhance their digital performance. We want to work with ambitious brands to make sales performance the central focus of your marketing strategy.

All of our clients have one thing in common – they all want to grow. From some of the biggest brands in the retail, luxury, travel and fashion sectors, to SMEs and fast-growing startups, our team of experts work with you to grow your sales and strive for success.

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Thinking Juice

Hello. We are Thinking Juice.

The integrated agency, for the digital world.

We build powerful relationships between brands and their customers.

We solve the problems and overcome the challenges that brands face in today's world. How? Using killer insights, brand experiences, storytelling, data, technology, media neutral planning, traditional media, digital campaigns and good old fashioned big ideas, to create mouthwateringly effective work.

There's 50 of us. Thinking, planning, designing, writing, creating, building, producing, managing, analysing and doing from offices in Bournemouth and London.

We have been named UK Advertising Agency of the Year. And Integrated Agency of the Year. We've been in the UK's Top 10 Creative Agencies. The RAR said we are the UK's Most Effective, Most Creative Agency, Best in Advertising and Most Strategic Agency. And we've been recommended by our clients for five years in a row as aRecommended Agency.

We'll give you what you want. Fresh ideas. That work.

Here's what some of our clients had to say in the 2016 Recommended Agencies Register:

"Reliably professional group of talented individuals that work really well as a team together"

"Our experience of working with Thinking Juice has been excellent. The creativity we encountered on day one hasn't changed and it is backed up by a commercial understanding of our business and growth plans."

"It's been fantastic working with Thinking Juice, they have always delivered for us particularly on the design and creative elements, as well as delivering on time and on budget. Although we ask a lot of them, they always go out of their way to accommodate our needs. Great agency, great people! Thanks for everything."

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We are a digital agency that simplifies complexity, builds momentum and creates business change. We make beautifully productive digital experiences for some of the world's smartest brands.

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Imagine 10,000 additional marketers working alongside you to generate awareness, drive trial and boost your sales through credible, trusted recommendations about your brand, plus, providing real-life insights to inform your business decisions. We’re about to introduce you to them. They’re your consumers.

As Europe’s leading Collaborative Marketing company we enable brands to market with their consumers rather than at them, and trigger conversations about brand experiences in the place they are most trusted and recommendations most acted on: between real people.

With access to over 2 million engaged consumers across Europe, we provide companies with the opportunity to bolster their marketing mix with word of mouth, co-create new products and inform future investments with real-life consumer insights.

trnd operates in 19 markets, running Collaborative Marketing campaigns for clients such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever, L’Oréal, Sony, Thomas Cook, Bosch, Philips and Samsung. The letters are short for "the real network dialogue" because we operate in the world’s biggest social network – real life.

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Digital Visitor

Digital Visitor is a cutting edge digital agency based in Bristol. Powered by social media, we specialise in acquiring targeted, relevant and convertible digital audiences.

Specialising in connecting travel, tourism, consumer and corporate brands with their target demographics, we use effective social media marketing, influencer PR and digital engagement to generate tangible results.

Our services include:


Capture qualified customer data and influence sales with powerful social media marketing. Connecting your brand directly with its target demographics is how we achieve your objectives and grow your audience.


Harness the true power of digital PR and reach new customers through the voices they trust. Working with one of the UK’s largest networks of bloggers and social influencers, we amplify your brand’s story directly to your target audience.


Nurture qualified marketing leads and start talking to the people most interested in your brand. Through progressive social media, we take your current database of prospects and use it to target millions of potential leads.


Find the right way to communicate with your brand’s most valuable audiences through social media. Guided by your specific objectives, we identify and deliver the correct social media strategy for your brand, bringing it closer to the social needs of your customers.

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Hugo & Cat

Hugo & Cat

We transform relationships between brands and people.

We’re a brand engagement agency creating experiences that build future-proof customer relationships for our clients.

Strategically led, creatively driven and technologically passionate, we're a growing group of planners, writers, designers, coders, motion artists and more we work closely together towards one goal: delivering impactful work that has the power to transform brands.


Our expertise

Digital strategy

Service design & innovation

Digital brand transformation

Brand communications

Content strategy & creation

User research

Data science

Mobile & web development

Social marketing


We’re proud to partner with brands loved around the world such as Sony, Royal Mail, Tourism Ireland, Microsoft, Stanley Black & Decker, IKEA and E.ON.


Awards and accolades

- eConsultancy Top 100 Digital Agency 2015

- Top 10 Elite Agency: Drum Independent Agencies Census 2015

- Top 10 Elite Agency: The Drum Design Census 2015

- RAR Top 25 Best UK Digital Agency 2015

- RAR Digital Awards Finalist: Best Agency for Content Strategy and Best Agency for Digital Full Service

- Brand Republic Digital Awards 2015 shortlist: Tourism Ireland –

- Webby Official Honoree: Tourism Ireland - Wild Atlantic Way

- W3 Gold: Tourism Ireland - Wild Atlantic Way

- W3 Silver: Tourism Ireland - Wild Atlantic Way

- W3 Silver: Tourism Ireland – The Fantastic St Patricks Parade

- W3 Silver: Nokia Fastlane

- BIMA nomination: Tourism Ireland - The Fantastic St Patricks Parade

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Kolab Digital

We're a creative digital agency and we collaborate with exceptional organisations to drive change for the better.

We drive operational efficiencies and develop engaging user experiences. We’re able to respond to expanding requirements for strategic, creative and innovative outputs, and we can help you deliver scalable solutions that grow with you and your audiences.

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Ferrier Pearce Creative Group

We're an award winning strategic communications company specialising in achieving real engagement through tailored campaigns designed to exceed expectations.

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