“Participation is the new brand…but you can’t collaborate with the mob.” Shelley Kuipers, CEO, Chaordix.
When it comes to the web, we know that a small amount of people can have a huge effect on the perception and advocacy of a brand. Despite some flawed studies to the contrary, the burden of evidence shows that when you get the right group of talented, passionate, connected, creative, knowledgable or observant people together and incubate their motivations effectively, brands can win.
This arena of “influencers” (alternatively have been called “insiders”, “ambassadors”, “true fans”, “zealots”, “community leaders”) has not received the attention it deserves given principally three reasons:
- the pre-eminance of social media as the darling child of media coverage and marketer interest
- the fact that these programs are tough to achieve success given the level of open culture, willful empowerment and savvy management that these efforts need and finally,
- in many cases, the influencer programs have been either managed internally or the results have been kept internal
We took a stab at some of the better programs we’ve see around the world and hope to do it as an annual profile of this important sub-universe. Here are our inaugural list of 16 efforts worth praising plucked from many industries:
- Lululemon Ambassadors (athletic apparel)
- Maker’s Mark Embassy (alcohol beverage)
- Fiskars Fiskateers (household goods)
- Microsoft MVPs (tech company)
- Mozilla Ambassadors (browser)
- WD-40 Fan Club (consumer product)
- Lego Ambassador Community (toys)
- Specialized Ambassadors (athletic gear)
- Food-to-Go CrowdExchange (hospitality)
- American Airlines Klout (airline)
- MLB Fan Cave (sports)
- Threadless Ambassadors (fashion)
- eBay Powersellers (eCommerce)
- Julep Mavens (beauty)
- Ford Fiesta Agents (auto)
- PEMCO NorthWest Profiles (insurance)
Please let us know of any others and enjoy the contents of the attached presentation which also includes some thoughts around influencer attributes, sources and roles played. Also drop us a line, if you think we missed an influencer program worth mentioning in the comments section.
Finally, having managed over 30 influencer programs for other clients, please let us know if you might be interested in our roster of Wikibrands’ marketings services.
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