Known for their amber-colored lenses, Gunnar Optiks manufactures computer and gaming glasses that protect against digital eye strain. They’re helpful to anyone who stares at screens all day, but Gunnar has made a particularly strong impression on the video game community. To spread their message of eye protection to other demographics, Gunnar has just launched a campaign called The Movement with their help of some influencer friends called “Visionaries” (we see what they did there).
Scott Sorensen, President of Gunnar Optiks joined ION to provide valuable insight into The Movement, the company’s early adoption of Visionaries and the importance of treating influencers right.
“Our Visionary program got started early in gaming with esports competitors and the Minecraft momentum,” Sorensen explained. “From there we have expanded and built up our influencer program to what it is today. We build our Visionary team based on category market reach and influence. What I mean by this is that we have broken down specific categories of influencers based on the markets they influence. For example, our main categories are in gaming, tech/hacker, creative and a streamers/entertainers. All of these categories look at digital devices a lot in order to perform their careers and there are heroes in each of them that influence others.”
For The Movement, Gunnar hopes to engage audiences not just in gaming, but in other industries that involve digital screens. The idea is that these role models accomplish their goals while protecting their eyes along the way—a “pure movement to improve their lives, their performance and their health.”
“For greater impact we have chosen a handful of our key Visionaries to kick off the campaign based on diversity of influence category,” Sorensen explained. “The campaign starts with an amazing entertainer in Mari “AtomicMari” Takahashi, a top level streamer in Joseph “swiftor” Alminawi, an esports competitor in Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios and a legendary digital illustrator in Joshua “Hydro74” Smith. We will be adding new ones as we move through the campaign— this way it also becomes a discoverable campaign based on who may be next up in the line up.”
Rather than push the latest designs, Gunnar encouraged each of these personalities to choose which style of Gunnar glasses to wear in the campaign.
“The Movement is primarily about the Visionary and each of the personalities picked a few styles that they personally like to wear and have an attachment to. We really wanted this campaign to be about them as leaders and how we are happy to be there to support them.”
When it comes to selecting which creators to work with, Sorensen believes that that authenticity matters.
“We value our Visionaries very much because of their industry leadership and take each and everyone very seriously,” he said. “We are also selective in how we cultivate visionaries for the brand based on their affinity for our products and if they are real believers. By doing this, we have built a great team. As a result of this service and level of Visionaries, we get a lot of requests to join The Movement. Honestly, we wish we could work with every one of them, too, but it is just not possible to do that and provide the level of service we want to provide.
We truly want to cultivate believers in our products. It is important to us that we treat all of our visionaries with the best service and support. The relationship is key with your influencers. They bring a valuable perspective from outside your walls about your brand that you may not see and the deeper the relationship with them, the more honest the input you get. The thing to remember is that you picked them because of their influence and ignoring or disregarding their knowledge would be a mistake.”
That being said, Sorensen highly recommends influencer marketing to anyone who wants to make an impact on the right audience, for the right reasons.
“I personally believe influencer marketing can be your strongest activation tool for a brand,” he said. “Consumers are very savvy and they know the difference between a paid activation and something organic that includes them that they truly can relate to. Consumers are looking to be a part of something—they are looking for something they can be included in, and influencers are critical to helping brands with this. This is how you create believers and a movement behind your brand.
“I would recommend that brands considering using influencer marketing to give it a shot,” Sorensen urged. “Understanding that not all brands will get the same results based on differing product types, there is still a lot of upside and benefits to working with influencers. Each brand would need to define the role the influencer will play in their overall strategy and build out their plan accordingly. And, take the time to pick influencers that will buy in to your brand the most and you can build a relationship with. Sincerity definitely translates to the consumers.”