Under the influence

Who are your audience listening to?

Kara Melchers

Managing Editor, BITE Creativebrief


Since 1872 Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park has offered a platform for open-air public speaking. Now imagine 288 million people (the number of active Twitter users), all stood on their soapbox, that’s a lot of noise. With a potential audience of three billion internet users there’s huge opportunity to get your message out there.

With so many voices who are we actually listening to? Malcolm Gladwell defines influence for us in The Tipping Point: Influence = Audience Reach (# of followers) x Brand Affinity (expertise and credibility) x Strength of Relationship with Followers. But where can these influencers be found?

The Creators is a documentary by creative agency Anomaly for YouTube. It explores how a generation of vloggers have given rise to a new cultural and social phenomenon. Directed by Oscar nominee Nanette Burstein, it stars Zoella, whose familiar and personal approach to make-up tutorials has seen her YouTube channel subscribers grow to nearly eight million. That’s a number some broadcast channels would dream of.

It’s not just millennials who are influenced by their online peers. Mumsnet started 15 years ago and now receives 14 million visits each month. A platform for sharing honest peer-to-peer advice, this growing community of Mumsnetters can give insight into everything from education to travel. Their work with brands ranges from partnerships to market research, which is further evidence of the influence this community wields.

Working collaboratively is essential. Brands must trust the intimate understanding influencers have of their audience and work with them to ensure the message they deliver is authentic and genuine.

Microsoft Surface 2: The rise of the Renegade Professionals

Insight showed the Surface 2 tablet from Microsoft had one fundamental challenge, its image. People didn’t want to want one. So instead of focusing on the impressive spec list, Microsoft created a campaign called #uncompromise.

A select group of entrepreneurs dubbed the Renegade Professionals, were asked to tell how they grew their passions into business ideas through a series of short films. This content was created in partnership with The Guardian and hosted on a digital hub, which linked back to the online Microsoft store.

As the Renegades grew familiar with the product they began to organically endorse it. A series of talks taught aspiring entrepreneurs how to start a business and the #uncompromise studio offered advice to those getting in touch via Twitter.

In addition to driving sales and increasing awareness, influencers gave the Surface 2 a relevant cultural role.

Agency: Exposure , London

unique visitors to the digital hub
growth in sales over the campaign period

Converse empower the Young and Laced

Influencer marketing has grown organically for Converse. Their strategy to turn fans into ambassadors has helped to keep the sneaker an essential part of youth culture. The Young and Laced Collective is a platform designed to inspire young creatives. It provides members with expertise and support for their own projects including documentaries, photography, art exhibitions and vinyl releases. For Converse it’s not about selling shoes, it’s about creating a deeper, more meaningful connection with this audience.

Agency: Amplify, London

Influencer insight for Red Bull

Red Bull wanted to assess the potential of launching a new lifestyle clothing brand. Their branded skate parks - Red Bull Playgrounds - provided the perfect platform for market research and consumer insight. The Red Bull management and product teams were fully absorbed in the world of their target consumer. These insights steered an influencer-led launch strategy where the new product was immersed into the consumers’ lifestyle.

Agency: Protein

Unilever use vloggers to own All Things Hair

There are around one billion Google searches relating to hair care every month, often clicking through to popular YouTube hair care vloggers. Unilever collaborated with this up-and-coming talent to produce video tutorials across all of their hair care brands. The vloggers were nimble enough to respond quickly to rising search terms, as well as trending topics, such as celebs’ hair at awards ceremonies or holiday seasons. Unilever now ‘owns’ haircare search on YouTube, with over 160,000 subscribers and 16 million channel views since launch.

Agency: Weber Shandwick, London