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Influencer Connection: Carson Jones on How Brands Leverage Activations and Influencers to Make an Impact

NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / December 19, 2018 / Art Week in Miami is one of the biggest events of the year for talent across the fashion, art, media and music space. The art event of the year consists of many standalone shows and event locations like Art Basel, Scope, Red Dot, and Raw Pop Up. Through those events and the people in attendance, there is certainly no shortage of talent or opportunities. However, many brands still miss out on opportunities to leverage high-end events to help grow their brand awareness. This year we saw an expansion of high profile brands putting on branded events outside of the major art shows and driving massive crowds engaging and creating content on their personal social media accounts. Many brands view events and other activations strictly from an ROI perspective but fail to understand the long-term PR benefits of great influencer and event partnerships.

One partnership that made waves was Toms shoes #EndGunViolenceTogether campaign getting involved with New Hollywood & Rorschach MG's event, titled "An Evening With Gatsby." The event included art on display by Xhibit Arts and a headline performance by four-time Billboard charting artist Greg Gatsby and a live mural done by Miami based artist Jorge-Miguel Rodriguez (courtesy of Toms). New Hollywood is an integrated media and strategy focused consultancy based in Los Angeles and run by Hollywood power broker Ashwin Jacob and brand marketing expert Carson Jones. Brands that only look at numbers, miss out on the opportunity to create long-term awareness and goodwill from a naturally integrated event partnership.

"We've been in entertainment for a little over a decade and the opportunities often originate from our work hosting and producing star-studded events with tastemakers ranging from musicians, artists, notable names in business, models, and other general creatives. By bringing amazing people together we've been able to establish a solid presence for both ourselves and the New Hollywood brand. This has led to other brands reaching out directly to get involved. Our recommendation to them is to find authentic ways to integrate your brand into an event and keep it simple. Our team's event experience ranges from ideation, promotion, production, and creative strategy that will make the biggest impact for a brand," said New Hollywood founder Ashwin Jacob.

Brands can also partner with influencers to accentuate that exposure and grow their brand online. Carson Jones is an influencer marketing expert who has worked with brands, influencers, and entrepreneurs to implement creative ideas that create hyper growth for those clients. Beyond the goodwill of a branding campaign, Jones shared how their company views the influencer and brand relationship.

"Influencer marketing isn't for the companies that are only looking at a direct, short-term ROI. We work with so many clients (brands and individuals) that don't understand the lifetime value of creating a fan or a new follower. A creative campaign with a good cause like Toms Shoes and their #EndGunViolenceTogether campaign may not yield immediate shoe sales, but they are creating an impact and garnering the attention that leads to a lifetime customer."

Influencer marketing has become the most debated topic in marketing because ROI based companies are debating its effectiveness while companies like Fashion Nova have aligned themselves with impactful influencers to create an empire.

"Everyone wants instant results and sales, so when they try their first campaign and it only yields a 40-50% return on spend, they stop and assume that influencers don't work. If companies had the same patience with influencer campaigns that they do with their television/print campaigns, their brand would grow faster, their impact would be greater and budgets would go further," said Jones.

So what kind of metrics should brands be using to gauge their success on an influencer campaign?

"When we meet with a brand (or a sponsor), we want to understand their short-term goals and long-term goals for the influencer campaign or event activation. For example, the campaigns around Art Basel are branding campaigns where companies are looking for engagement, impressions and new followers. Why? They understand that once you gain that follower and awareness, you can spend the rest of the customer cycle remarketing to that potential client," Jones explained.

There are many ways that brands can gauge the effectiveness of an influencer campaign including:

  • Impressions

  • Engagement

  • Mentions/Shares (Content)

  • Website Traffic

  • Sales (promo code/trackable links)

  • Downloads

  • Information gathering (phone #, emails, etc)

  • Consumer feedback

  • Press

When the influencer trend first burst onto the scene, it was very primitive and simple. it was common practice to find someone with the largest following, send them your products and have them post a photo on their Facebook or Instagram with the company brand tag. Companies have had to pivot to an approach that combines natural integration, unique storytelling, and distribution beyond just the influencers audience.

"Influencer marketing has evolved because of how consumers evolve. We are so used to blocking out ads that anytime we see a post with a brand tagged, we subconsciously ignore it. Now, it's all about creating engaging content that naturally fits an influencers brand, then combining that with massive exposure via the Facebook ad partners portal and finds ways to distribute the content on other platforms," Jones continued.

Facebook now offers an ad partners portal, which helps brands remain FCC compliant by telling consumers that a post is a brand paid partnership but also gives brands more access to make the most of their influencer campaigns. Brands can now amplify posts to reach an audience beyond just the influencers following. This allows brands to better track how a campaign is performing, allows brands to generate quality lookalike campaigns, gives direct access to the posts engagement and allows. So, what other ways can brands distribute content?

"Brands need to start viewing PR as an offensive strategy, where they are looking for every opportunity possible to get their brand in the public eye. Brands can create waves on Instagram and Facebook through an influencer strategy, then validate those waves through mainstream media if they have a solid outreach strategy and know how to position their business or campaign," Jones said in closing.

One thing has become very clear in the influencer marketing space. It is no longer just about influencers creating and posting content, the key now is creating naturally integrated content and understanding how to distribute that content. The brands that emerge next will ultimately have to find creative ways to align their brand with influencers to tell the story of their brand in isimpactful way that will spread through social media into mainstream media.

SOURCE: MentionWorth