[Aspire Higher] Proving the value of influencer marketing & brand community

Wed Sep 02 2020
Jenn Kim
Aspire Higher

How do successful marketers balance short-term sales goals with long-term brand community objectives? 

With over 10 years of experience leading influencer and brand community efforts for industry-leading brands like rewardStyle, Fossil, and Neiman Marcus, Emily Dunn, Director of Marketing and Branding at Snap Kitchen, has deep insights and expertise on leveraging brand enthusiasts to impact the entire marketing funnel. Last week, our very own Senior Campaign Manager, Jennifer Rose, sat down with Emily to discuss a range of topics, including developing holistic influencer marketing strategies, navigating business during the pandemic, and more. 

If you missed it, check out the recording here or read on for the highlights of their conversation.

Practice empathy in marketing.

“As a brand you never want consumers to feel that the messaging you’re sending them is coming off as insensitive to the current situation. That’s why empathy in marketing is so important,” Emily urged.

When engaging with consumers during these uncertain times, safety messaging has been incredibly important for Snap Kitchen, especially as a brand that operates in the DTC and food & beverage spaces. The brand has been connecting with its customers in more emotional ways. 

“During a global pandemic, the last thing any company or brand should be doing is thinking about themselves and their profit margins without concerning themselves with the wellbeing of the general public,” said Emily. “Empathy marketing shows consumers that businesses not only care about their customers but they also understand and can relate to them. We are working to give people hope and are focused on highlighting how we can help and that’s something we’re proud of.”

Snap Kitchen has also shifted its focus to its cause marketing efforts — donating to frontline workers and partnering with companies on a national campaign called Fuel The Frontline

Leverage community-generated content.

Community-generated content, whether it be influencer assets or customer photos, is key to boosting conversions. Why? Unlike studio-shot content, consumers can easily relate to the authentic stories told by real customers through their content. Not to mention, reposting community-generated content on its landing pages, billboards, paid social, and other marketing channels has allowed Snap Kitchen to create stronger relationships with its creators.

In fact, Emily shared, “We’ve seen extremely impressive results when it comes to leveraging influencer content. One of those impressive examples is actually through the first campaign we ran with AspireIQ. One of the influencers on our campaign created a high-quality, vibrant photo that really made our healthy, prepared meals the hero. She converted organically at around 16 conversions and then when we used her content in paid social, it became one of our highest converting pieces of content to date — it’s converted over 2,000 times! We’re still continuing to use it almost six months later.”

Track the results.

Influencer marketing works. But most times, in order to get buy-in from leadership, marketers need to show that it sees high returns. Emily does so by heavily vetting its influencer partners, then creating long-term relationships with creators who have proven success. 

She explained the brand’s three-prong approach to influencer marketing: “We have our local brand ambassador program that works on an earned basis that we assess at the end of each quarter. When we start to see high converters, we move them onto a paid program that works through affiliate links and they get paid a flat rate, plus product. Then, for marketing tent pole moments like big launches, we partner with AspireIQ to build new influencer relationships across all tiers and verticals. Having more evergreen brand ambassador programs helps increase not only conversions, but also lifetime value (LTV) and average order value (AOV).”

Snap Kitchen has seen such great results from this strategy that the brand plans to triple these programs within the next year.

Engage with your community in more meaningful ways.

From its passionate customers and employees to industry experts and third-party vendors, Snap Kitchen deeply engages with its community in ways that are mutually beneficial.

For example, the brand has an ongoing partnership with one of its long-time customers, Sebastian De La Riva. Over a year ago ago, he reached out to the brand and shared his story about how he let his health go after putting his family and work first. In order to be strong and healthy for them (as well as for himself), he set an aggressive, yet attainable weight loss goal as he trains to compete in an Ironman Triathlon next year. 

Snap Kitchen is supporting Sebastian’s journey by getting him on its Keto meal plan, and even put him in touch with one of Snap Kitchen’s influencer partners, who is an amazing personal trainer that happens to live in his area. Sebastian trains with her weekly and he’s already achieved his weight loss goal!

Emily commented, “Influencer marketing is a relationship business and I treat our influencers as they’re part of the team and Snap Kitchen family. This goes a long way and also turns into wonderful friendships too!”

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