Influencers—whether bloggers, nutritionists, authors, educators or social media experts—are passionate advocates for many of the missions and values that align with companies and pioneers in the natural products industry. Whether an influencer’s personal brand focuses on bringing awareness to climate change, organic advocacy, family wellbeing or the healing power of fitness, influencers are the new, trusted voice that sparks genuine attention around important issues and trends, as well as innovative brands and products.
On Sept. 13, more than 70 influencers came together at Natural Products Expo East to collaborate, learn from their peers and hone their missions and messages at the first-ever Influencer Summit, hosted by New Hope Network. Ed Maibach, professor and director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, kicked off the Influencer Summit programming as keynote speaker. He led a workshop that outlined the messaging technique that tends to resonate most with the masses: Simple clear messages, repeated often, by a variety of trusted voices.
The Influencer Summit was an invitation-only event that brought together top influencers in seven areas of interest and momentum: Green Machine (climate advocates), Plant Revolution (plant-based lifestyle), Mission Mavens (advocacy, healthy food access, transparency), Healthy Families (power in parenting), Clean Living (simple, whole-food formulations), Fit Foodies (wellness through fitness) and Healing with Food (finding health through special diets). Influencers engaged in Ted talk-style presentations, workshops and panels that addressed best practices for partnering with other leaders and brands in the industry, how to building long-term partnerships with authenticity, and how to boost their own return on influence through creative collaborations. Read more about the influencers in attendance here.
The day’s programming also provided influencers with tips and inspiration for how to sustain their enthusiasm, be true to their purpose and message, and use their influence as a force for good.
“The event generated a lot of enthusiasm and got some fantastic people in the room together,” said Kate Geagan, a nutrition expert who focuses on sustainability and a speaker at the Influencer Summit. “Overall, I think the topics really hit on many of the key issues of today, where we’re at as an industry and how we can move forward to continue to lead.”
While influencers are often used to working solo and focusing energy on building their own personal brands, many Influencer Summit attendees were energized to collaborate with their peers and favorite brands in new ways and on new platforms.
“A couple of us are forming a small mastermind group to trade ideas,” said Michelle Smith, creator of the blog thewholesmiths.com, where she promotes clean family nutrition with a paleo focus. “I love being able to connect with other influencers outside of my particular niche. It was a good reminder that we're all working toward a common goal to make the world a healthier, better place,” Smith said.
“I learned that I’m not alone in feeling that there’s a next, untapped level for influencers to shape outcomes they want,” said Geagan of the Influencer Summit programming. “It was exciting to see many conversations geared around those ideas.”
New Hope Network will build upon this inaugural event and bring another Influencer Summit program to Natural Products Expo East 2018.