Marketing Report
Jennifer Feaster: Homegrown Influencers: The power of Co-Creation

Jennifer Feaster: Homegrown Influencers: The power of Co-Creation

The most valuable brand ambassadors are your loyal customers, dedicated employees, and nano/micro-influencers who genuinely believe in the quality of your product and speak highly of it, even when they're not paid for it. Embrace this group of potential co-creators and guide them to become authentic 'homegrown influencers' for your brand.

'Homegrown influencers' are individuals who, thanks to their passion, unique style, and love for your brand, can become perfect brand ambassadors because they can appeal to a specific subset within a broader audience. As a brand, you can embrace them with long-term collaboration by offering a package that includes promotional materials, financial compensation, educational programs, and products. Let's delve deeper into the world of 'homegrown influencers' and discover how they profoundly transform the dynamics of brand ambassadorship.

Bron: Sephora

A Symphony of Diversity: Sephora's #SephoraSquad

A remarkable and widely recognized example comes from the beauty industry. Sephora, the French retail chain specializing in perfume and cosmetics, initiated the #SephoraSquad: a diverse group of inspiring makeup artists, storytellers, and beauty enthusiasts with varied interests, diverse backgrounds, and their unique perspectives. The SephoraSquad reflects society and enables Sephora to effectively communicate with a broad audience.

And it's effective: with 1.5k YouTube channels, 2.2k mentions, and 27.78 million views, Sephora was crowned as the 'second most talked-about brand' on YouTube in 2020. Thanks to micro-influencers, employees, and brand enthusiasts, the #SephoraSquad demonstrates that authenticity and diversity are the keys to successful co-creation and brand ambassadorship. With their genuine stories and diverse viewpoints, they significantly expand Sephora's reach in unprecedented ways.

Bron: Les Mills

Fitness Connects: Les Mills Tribe

The Les Mills Tribe, within the fitness brand Les Mills, is another powerful example. These trainers aren't just representatives; they embody the mission of Les Mills. From yoga to combat training, they cover the entire spectrum of fitness, just like their diverse audience. One is a stay-at-home mom with two children, another is a corporate communications advisor in a sharp suit. They all express their love for Les Mills in their own unique ways, and this enthusiasm radiates to their followers.

Their authenticity shines through to their followers, enriching the brand experience. Their combined social reach even surpasses that of Les Mills itself, demonstrating that nurturing genuine relationships can lead to an engaged and loyal community.

 Strengthening Bonds and Pushing Boundaries: Red Bull's Wings Team

Red Bull adopts a unique approach to its influencer strategy with the Wings Team. Instead of traditional celebrities, they identify so-called opinion leaders within their community. These are the students preparing for exams, the athletes in need of an energy boost, and the employees battling fatigue. By connecting these ambassadors with key customer archetypes, Red Bull creates a connection that revolves not just around a product but a shared lifestyle.

 Essence: Sincerity, Alignment, and Star Quality

What makes a 'homegrown influencer program' so effective? It's the combination of honesty, alignment with brand values, and a touch of star quality. It's not just about short-term campaigns; it's about nurturing long-lasting relationships. The synergy between influencers' passions and the brand's core values results in content that resonates with followers. This genuine connection radiates and makes the audience feel like they're part of a larger community, much like in Walmart's Black & Unlimited collaboration.

Furthermore, the strength of homegrown influencers isn't solely about numbers. It's about the blend of diversity, shared values, and that elusive "X-factor" - a charismatic allure that captivates hearts. Sephora's shift from typical beauty influencers to a team representing society demonstrates that authenticity and diversity foster a strong connection with the brand. The Les Mills Tribe embodies various aspects of fitness enthusiasts, making everyone feel addressed in their unique way. Red Bull's Wings Team bridges the gap between energy and everyday situations consumers encounter.

The New Age of Brand Ambassadors

The Age Media team has developed a 'homegrown influencer program' that enables brands to create their own group of authentic brand ambassadors. In a world where authenticity is the key to connection, homegrown influencers are the trailblazers. They don't just serve as conduits for products; on the contrary, they embody shared values and aspirations. Brands skilled at forging sincere, long-term relationships with these influencers reap not only visibility but also build a community that believes in them.

Jennifer Feaster is Co-Founder at AGE Media and a seasoned media innovator, helping brands, creators, publishers, and artists get their message heard and reach a wider audience to make a difference. She is a digital pioneer with an eye for talent and a love for creative storytelling, teaching people and brands how to grow revenue and appeal to their audience the way successful YouTube influencers appeal to theirs.