For both existing and newly established businesses, the placement of their products and services on the market is one of the primary objectives. To increase sales, raise a brand’s presence and to build a brand image, businesses are using a diversity of marketing instruments. Especially when newly founding a business, the budget available for marketing use is often limited, compared to more established companies. Thus, startups have to find new ways to be successful despite their limited budgets. Modern marketing strategies, such as the building of influencer relations, can lead to a good brand awareness rather fast.

Prime Example: Daniel Wellington

Daniel Wellington, a Swedish watch manufacturer, was only founded in 2011. Still, the startup already records more than 3 million followers on Instagram, leaving comparable established competitors like Fossil or Swatch far behind. The fast success leads to the young brand receiving the title for the fastest growing business in Europe.

The young company owes its success to its unique digital marketing strategy – especially their collaborations with influencers. To introduce their products to potential buyers and to quickly raise brand awareness, they almost exclusively used social media. Only weeks after their first activities on Instagram, the first clients started to become aware of Daniel Wellington through mentions in posts or articles of established influencers.

Influencer as Supporters of Image Building

Influencers can be especially helpful for young brands that haven’t yet established their own image and that don’t stand for specific brand characteristics. The longstanding image of influencers in combination with their often giant reach can rub off on new brands. It is important though to choose authentic influencers that share the same values as the startup. Only then, a clear brand image can be created that will stay anchored in the minds of the specific target group.

Especially at times where we can witness a strong increase in influencers advertising brands on social media, it is important to thoroughly research who to work with. When choosing influencers that have advertised for many brands, the marketing effect might not be as strong as the influencers may not stand out within the multitude of advertised brands.

ABOUT YOU – A German Startup that works almost exclusively with influencers to build their brand.

Tools for a Successful Collaboration with Influencers

Old-school marketing instruments are worn out: AdWords and banner advertisement are no longer up-to-date and are too expensive when it comes to their cost-benefit ratio. Modern tools such as influencer relations can, but don’t have to be, expensive. Daniel Wellington started off with sole product sponsoring – not one-time, but in the form of long-term collaborations.

First, the influencers were gifted with a watch which they got to pick for themselves. The next step was a giveaway on the social media accounts of the same influencers. Especially around Christmas, Daniel Wellington used Advent calendars of blogs for further product placements. Within Christmas giveaways, Influencers often offer exclusive posts, advertising just one single product a day – Daniel Wellington gladly accepted, not having to deviate from their concept of product sponsoring. By using the strategy of building long-lasting relationships with influencers, Daniel Wellington has grown into an authentic and reliable collaboration partner for many influencers.

Aspiring startups, whose major goal is the final sale of their products, predominantly work with personalized voucher codes. Startups like NA-KD and Hello Fresh (see example below) are successfully using this concept. Influencers start using and testing a product and subsequently introduce it to their followers, offering them a discount code, providing them with added value and inciting their buying decision.

Content Creation With Double Benefit

When focusing on a digital strategy on platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, the posts of influencers presenting a sponsored products can create added value for the brand: Not only do influencers oftentimes create free or cost-effective content (this is especially the case with smaller accounts) which can lead to growing brand awareness or image building. But the high-quality images of influencers can also be used as reposts on the brands’ profiles without having to produce cost-intensive products and campaign images.

Our exemplary startup Daniel Wellington uses pictures they got tagged in to repost on their account. Doing so, the brand can choose amongst the images and pick the ones that represent their desired brand image best. By today, the Instagram-account is big enough to present a real boost for single influencers when being regrammed. Thus, both brands and influencers profit from the collaboration.

The examples mentioned above make clear that a good concept in terms of influencer relations can lead to major success, despite a limited budget. It is only of high importance to research thoroughly and to pick the right influencers for the planned collaborations.


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