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A Tale of Two Shoe Brands: Tips for Partnering with an Influencer

Photo by Juliana Malta on Unsplash

Influencers are as hot as the sun on Pablo Escobar’s once-owned private island. Everyone loves the idea of partnering with influencers. However, finding an opportunity to partner with an actual member of your target audience and getting an authentic endorsement is easier said than done.

Influencers have to be the right people, promoting the brand for the right reasons. They have to be able to speak with authenticity so that audiences believe them. Partner with the right influencers and your brand gains loyalists; partner with the wrong influencers and your brand could take a hit.

Photo by Malvestida Magazine on Unsplash

Know Your Audience

Payless Shoe Source recently launched a marketing campaign for a fake high-end shoe brand, Palessi. They invited 60 influencers to a pop-up market research event and after “selling” more than $3000-worth of shoes, revealed that the shoes were in fact, Payless footwear. (The influencers were compensated for their time and refunded for their purchases, while allowed to keep the shoes.)

While Payless proved that even trend-setters and trend-keeper-uppers would buy their shoes at inflated prices, they missed the mark in trying to alter their brand perception. Unless Payless Shoe Source was trying to change their positioning from that of a bargain retailer to an actual high-end luxury brand, they skipped over the fact that the influencers they invited are part of an entirely different target market than their intended audience.

Photo by Nicholas Bui on Unsplash

Be Authentic

Consumers can sniff out a gimmick, so it is crucial for a brand to be authentic. In 2016, Sperry started reposting high-quality Instagram photos of people wearing their boat shoes. Each repost was credited

to the original poster and showcased people who had already been sharing their experiences while wearing their Sperry’s. Since then, Sperry has identified and worked with micro-influencers to develop

social media content, and they’ve launched a brand ambassador program aimed at promoting customer engagement at events “inspired by the sea.” While staying true to their identity, Sperry was able to tap into a subculture of influencers authentically using their brand in real life.

Genuine marketing can lead to increased customer loyalty. Increased customer loyalty can lead to brand ambassadors. Brand ambassadors can lead to unique customer engagement. Of course, there are lots of steps in between and there could be unexpected responses. Our advice is to keep your consumer in mind – what would your top 100 customers do if they were in charge of marketing your products?

Our team has a strong POV on influencer marketing and would love to extend the conversation – let’s talk.

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