This week in influencer marketing news, Capital One debuts a travel rewards credit card backed by influencers, Made.com makes community projects its core social media strategy to address influencer fatigue, preppy influencers are selling an escape from always-on work culture and more.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) now allows student-athletes to financially profit from their name, image and likeness (NIL). The move will boost the already thriving college sports industry; ESPN estimates that college football programs are capable of generating more than $4 billion in annual revenue among the 65 universities comprising the Power 5 conferences alone.
Why it matters: Student-athletes can begin positioning themselves as influencers on social media via behind-the-scenes training content and game footage, which will not only attract interest from brands but enable brands to build excitement among student communities and tap into cultural sports moments. Student-athletes can also start a print-on-demand (POD) business selling NIL-related merchandise.
Citing “influencer fatigue” and increased positive brand sentiment, Made.com has evolved its influencer strategy to focus on purpose projects. The shift came during the first lockdown when the company reallocated its influencer budget to donate furniture to NHS hospitals in an effort to spruce up dreary staff rooms.
Why it matters: According to Made’s head of consumer comms and social Lauren Spearman, positive consumer reaction to the initiative encouraged Spearman’s team to create the DIY SOS-style YouTube series, Madeover. Initially around half the budget was dedicated to donating products, with a fraction going to experimenting with integrated marketing campaigns. This is now Made’s core social media strategy, plus since shifting strategies the brand has seen increased brand engagement and registered a 30 percent year-over-year increase in social content about Made.com.
Capital One has launched a travel rewards credit card called Venture X. The card is being promoted by travel influencers, who the company paid to take an Instagrammable trip—“Destination X”—to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Why it matters: More and more financial institutions are leaning into influencers. Fintech company Current’s marketing team is split into four teams: performance marketing, brand, communication and influencer, according to a July 2021 eMarketer report. The report notes that this is “still unusual among incumbent banks but is table stakes at other neobanks and some financial institutions such as Navy Federal Credit Union.”
According to Joan Westenberg, founder and chief executive officer of Studio Self, what influencers are really creating is a network—not a business—which can fracture, fall apart and potentially become completely worthless.
Why it matters: Westenberg believes that the only way for influencers to turn their network into a customer base and create a long-term business model is to embrace the Metaverse paradigm and use tokenization and NFTs. Doing so will enable them to control the content their audience sees and make money for their time and effort all while retaining autonomy.
In recent years, visual platforms like Instagram and TikTok have fostered preppy influencers including Sarah Patrick–who garnered internet acclaim with “Classy Girls Wear Pearls,” an early-generation lifestyle blog documenting what Patrick calls “a New England girl’s pursuit of quality fashion, friendship and coastal living”– and Carly Riordan, who launched her lifestyle blog, “The College Prepster,” while a freshman at Georgetown University and who has since authored a book, “Business Minded: A Guide to Setting Up Your Mind, Body and Business for Success.”
Why it matters: According to Aimee Howell, managing partner at Takumi, the fashion-conscious now crave a throwback to the days when living a life of luxury was something to aspire to. This, she adds, is a direct response to the ‘always-on’ work culture millennials have been brought up in, with preppy influencers selling elegance and an escape from the norm.