- Drury Bynum
CASE STUDY: WHISKEY BRAND PUTS NEW TWIST ON INFLUENCER MARKETING
Q. How do we spice up an 'Influencer' campaign?
A. When launching something bold and new, buy-in from the first responders of your brand is key—these are the folks in your immediate orbit who will spread the word and bring authenticity to your foundational efforts. They're called everything from influencers to ambassadors to launch leaders, mavens or just sometimes simply 'friends and family.' They and their sphere of influence are exactly who you want in your camp when it's go-time.
By now, most people have experienced influencer marketing in some way or another. Its proven response rate and growth shows it's not going away, so at this point, how do we keep it fresh and working the way we want it to?
A. Experiment with role reversals and unusual pairings.
Just because you put an influencer in front of a camera with brand in hand, does not mean it will be successful in building authentic connection—which is why our My Maryland Story for Sagamore Rye worked so well. All of our players genuinely loved the product and they are highly likable, which made it that much easier to tell the story. The key is to make sure there is always a natural connection between the user and the product.
An important side note—Influencers don't necessarily have to be famous or have a zillion followers to make impact. Their story is as important as their sphere of influence, and if properly told and shared, a quality video with a great story about a person with whom audiences can identify, will reach volumes.
When Sagamore Spirit began bottling their Maryland Rye, they were simultaneously building the biggest new distillery on the East Coast. Their mission was to return the mantle of Rye production back Maryland—a distinction the area hasn’t known since before World War 2. Leadership knew they were up against a dubious audience and only a grassroots campaign would get the buy-in they needed. If the local market was against them, they were sunk. The stakes were high. They turned to us because of our connections to the influencer community and our track record of authentic content that speaks to the most skeptical audiences.
Sagamore Rye Whiskey was throwing a Hail Mary and had to act fast to build a local fanbase before the ball landed.
Through collaboration with the Sagamore team, we decided to draw a line that connected authentic Maryland stories with Rye-based cocktails and local influencers. The setting was an elegant bar, where each influencer told a story about a personal connection with Maryland as the other influencers carried on in the background. Their story was interpreted into a cocktail by a respected local bartender. The fun came with an unexpected role-reversal; the bartender became the patron, allowing the influencer to make their own drink while their story was being told. This brightened the atmosphere and created a collaborative but competitive scene as the fellow influencers bantered down the bar.
The end results captured moments of genuine fun, great stories and unanticipated visuals. The goal of creating content that appealed to their core constituency was achieved in these three films with the brand prominent, yet integrated into the fabric of regional storytelling and the vitality of the local bar.
In terms of views, the videos were highly successful in shares and views on Facebook and Instagram and still counting. We achieved the results we were aiming for—with incredible efficiency—and the feedback was beyond expectations. Cheers!
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