This post is part of our June series on start-ups. We reached out to some of our favorite local start-uppers to find out how they're innovative. This post is by Spencer Bramson. Spencer is a charismatic and young influence marketing leader who is passionate about connecting brands with college students. As a serial entrepreneur, Spencer left school after sophomore year to co-found Buzz University, a marketing agency that he and his business partner grew to $200k in revenue by age 21. At BuzzU, Spencer managed a team of 180 university ambassadors across New England and personally engaged with hundreds of thousands of students where he captured leads, distributed swag and steered the strategy of college marketing campaigns for ROCKSTAR Energy Drink, MilkyWay, Zumba, and Proctor & Gambel among other well-known consumer packaged goods brands. Spencer has been a presenter at the 2012 Social Media Week and the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), has been awarded the 2011 Future Forward Game Changer and the 2012 Most Likable Entrepreneur and holds 3 WOMMA certifications.
Think back to the last product you decided to purchase. A cool new soft drink that just hit the market or a new brand of shoes perhaps. Now consider what prompted this purchase decision in the first place. If you’re anything like the 18 to 24 year old demographic there is a strong possibility that your peers played a large part in influencing your choice.
Peer Pressure Rocks. That’s How We Roll.
Influence marketing is more than just a theory, it’s a process and it works. Influence marketing fuels purchases both on and offline. Harnessing the power of peer influencers is crucial for any brand looking to target the college-aged demographic. By engaging this demographic through various strategies a brand transcends a traditional corporate image and becomes personable, relatable, and, most importantly, likeable and shareable. A brand referral that occurs organically through word-of-mouth is so much more authentic and effective in comparison to one that comes from a marketing executive that is obviously being paid by a brand to push product. End of story.
So with this in mind, in 2011 I founded influencers@. After seeing traditional marketing campaigns continue to get lost in “the noise” I wanted to shake up the way marketing was being done. Not only do we engage the college market, but we are the college market. We’re a group of young and hungry individuals, who are always thinking outside of the box.
The Ins and Outs of Influence Marketing
Influence marketing is an art. Here are some of the most important insights that I’ve learned throughout my years as a brand promoter, partner, and Founder of influencers@:
- Give your brand a face, a voice, a personality; an entire persona. In this way your brand transcends a logo or image and becomes relatable and “likeable.”
- Be authentic. Share your honest love for a brand and its products. This genuine advocacy will be contagious and help spread brand buzz like wildfire.
- Create a space where brand loyalists and admirers can interact and share their experiences. This will help garner a sense of community.
- Hire people internally to your company that are part of your target demographic. These employees know your target better than anybody else, because they are actually part of your target audience.
- Immerse yourself in the culture of your target audience. Know where they hang out (both online and offline), know what their likes and dislikes are, take a genuine interest in who they are. This ties directly back into creating an authentic, relatable voice.
Now that peer influence is having a greater affect on brand affinity and purchase decisions it’s increasingly important for brands to learn how to harness the power of influence marketing. For more information or if you have any questions, feel free to drop me a tweet, give us a call, or just come by and say hello.