Perhaps winning friends and influencing people is not a new challenge, but it’s forever changing as channels for product distribution change. While the internet has given every consumer an avenue for word-of-mouth reviews, some expert opinions can carry serious weight for your brand. In the universe of influencers, whose volume and ripple-effect reach make them must-have allies for any brand’s marketing plan, there are rules of engagement.
Connecting with the right influencers to reach the right audiences is no easy task. In New Hope Network's August episode of BrandCamp, featuring Berto Calkins of Tatted Vegan, we'll work through the smarts and strategies used by brands, influencers and agencies to find the best partnerships. At the end of the day, it's all about forging strong interpersonal relationships. We caught up with Calkins to check in on some of the most important things he considers when working with brands and some important tips to remember along the way.
What’s an example of a brand relationship that has been really strong and why?
Berto Calkins: I have a strong relationship with Orgain because they trust and value me and my vision in promoting their products. Besides followers and engagement, I believe that Orgain understands the value that I add by being a vegan, a certified fitness professional, holding a bachelor's degree in communications and being a creative. Honorable mentions are REBBL and PlusCBD.
You, clearly, have a niche with veganism. Is such a focus critical for a successful influencer?
BC: Having a niche is incredibly critical for a successful influencer. If you are interested in something, many others may be interested in it as well. Having a niche allows people and brands to identify you with that niche and seek you out as a reputable source of information which builds more trust and success.
What do you look for in a brand?
BC: I am interested in brands that not only have great products that align with my brand, but also brands that have unbreakable core values and interesting stories.
How do you screen brands before promoting them?
BC: I screen brands by looking into the ingredients and materials of their products, checking their CSR and how they communicate with their audience and vice versa.
Do you promote any brands that have non-vegan SKUs?
BC: I promote brands that have non-vegan SKUs and I think it's a great thing because it shows a demand in the market and we as influencers help to ramp up that demand. Who knows what changes a brand might be willing to make if their vegan SKUs reach new heights.
What’s your advice for a brand interested in forging influencer relationships?
BC: My advice to brands is to look beyond just numbers and to really look at the person that they are seeking out. The personality of the influencer can show you the potential that they may have in helping you grow your brand. And influencers are people, so if you undervalue them, they'll remember even when their personal brand takes off.
Hear more from @TattedVegan, Cynthia Samanian (Confetti Kitchen), Leah Lesko (Justin's, previously Made in Nature) and Lindsay Bristol (Swanson, previously Red Bull) during the August #BrandCamp webinar.
When: 2 p.m. eastern, Aug. 22, 2018