The Growth of Brand Influencer Partnerships

by: Dustin Hawley | Wednesday September 11, 2019

Just a few years ago, bloggers were the ones who ruled the roost when it came to brand promotions. The concept of "influencer marketing" as a strategy was both unproven and widely misunderstood. Regardless, many brands had the foresight to realize the value in working with these social media figures. An influencer's product reviews and their inherent ability to break into the consumer class of millennials market was essential to both facilitate brand relationships and raise brand awareness through social media.

girl standing in sponsored and tagged instagram ad

In the years to follow, businesses poured millions into marketing efforts like Instagram sponsorships, Facebook promotions, and social media takeovers. As a result, over the past few years, there has been a dramatic shift taking place. Suddenly, the market had been saturated with self-proclaimed "influencers" and the ease in which followers could be purchased, counterfeited or acquired under mysterious circumstances left brands scratching their heads and uneasy about jumping headfirst into the growing industry. And this uneasiness wasn't exclusive to social influencers. Even established bloggers and content partners with proven audiences couldn't offer a guarantee to retailers. This made planning future campaigns or re-investing in the partnership less of a science and more of a slightly-educated shot in the dark.

Only a select few of these solutions have proven successful or have been able to scale the way brands expected them to. Enter the performance marketing network solution.

Starting in 2000, affiliate networks began implementing mutually-beneficial partner relationships via a performance-based cost-per-acquisition model. The concept behind this structure is simple: the affiliates (influencers) get rewarded for promoting products, brands or services, and turning their social audiences into converting customers. It's one of the biggest reasons why this model has only grown stronger over the past two decades, at an astounding rate that is now valued at $16 billion globally.

What brands use influencer marketing?

In today's social-media-driven world, it's more a question of what brands aren't using influencer marketing than a question of those who are. Here at Viral Nation, we have had the honor of working with a bevy of companies, including several Fortune 500 brands like Apple, Crayola, Energizer, Microsoft, Tencent and the NBA. 

Brands looking for a top influencer marketing strategy turn to us and the thousands of influencers we represent to build brand awareness, increase social media visibility, and turn the large audiences of our roster of influencers into converting customers for your business.

Recently, we had the privilege of working with Wish, the multi-billion dollar eCommerce app that is seen as the most direct competitor to powerhouses like Amazon. Wish sponsors the Los Angeles Lakers, having the honor of donning their logo on the game jerseys worn by players, including global superstar Lebron James.

lebron james in lakers jersey with "wish" logo highlighted with arrow pointing to logo that reads "big deal" with money symbols

Viral Nation was presented with a challenge to improve brand sentiment for through a creative influencer activation.

Utilizing the brand's existing partnership with the Lakers as an opportunity to combine hospitality and social media, the creative agency activated 15 influencers to attend the Wish x Lakers Suite Night and enjoy a night of fun, and competition and exclusive access to the Staples Center.

A first for and the Lakers, the campaign was a huge success and something that both brands are looking forward to reactivating in the future.

viral nation wish x lakers social interactions graphic

What are examples of big brand influencer campaigns?

It's not just Wish and the Lakers that are partnering with an influencer marketing agency to build brand awareness and increase their customer base. Countless other big brands have activated influencers for their marketing efforts and have reaped the benefits of this growing tactic.

Big brands going the influencer route have been seeing success in the market for years. In 2016, the ridesharing company Lyft partnered with celebrity influencers like Danica Patrick and Shaquille O’Neal, having them pose as Lyft drivers and wear disguises in a series of “Undercover Lyft” videos. The videos aimed to position Lyft as a more casual, customer service oriented option over Uber, and the celebrities removed their disguises and revealed their identity at the end of the ride. This was, of course, after interacting with the unknowing riders throughout the trip in often hilarious fashion.



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