Material MC

There are no shortcuts to achieving authentic influencer engagement, but results are worth it!


January is traditionally seen as the catalyst for a string of great intentions for the year ahead as we search for the ‘new me’. As the month draws to a close, there are many of us who are already struggling to stick to the promises we made to ourselves at the stroke of midnight on the first day of the year – the dreaded New Year Resolution.

It’s certainly not a new phenomenon, but in today’s social media driven world individuals can be nudged into changing their lifestyle by simply glancing at the handset in their pocket.  Evidence of which is charted here via a staggering 70% increase in online engagement that the Health and Fitness industry sees from Nov 18 – Jan 19 (Chart data source:  Brandwatch)

This is great for brands to know and tapping into this topical conversational peak can lead to new commercial opportunities if conducted in an informed and strategic way.


The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step

Genuinely changing your lifestyle through fitness takes focus and dogged dedication to the task in hand – but you’ve got to start somewhere.  The same can be said for a brand’s influencer campaign.  Just like a training plan, you can’t jump to Week 6 without covering the basics or without conducting meticulous and bespoke research to achieve the desired results.

Our first step in developing influencer strategies and campaigns began 4 years ago and since then we have developed a proprietary 6 step process for delivering hugely successful and entirely bespoke influencer campaigns for each and every brief.

Via careful research we identify an ecosystem of individuals with credibilityauthenticitydeep  (campaign topic)  relevance and strong audience engagement (rather than just empty reach) to ensure that every piece of influencer-led content support lands in exactly the right places with the right message.

We are NOT about rehashing the same old “professional influencers” preaching to their massive reach, we are about curated collectives of passionate advocates.  Intrigued?  Well, for the first time out with a client NDA, here’s a snippet of how we do it using the subject of health and fitness in the month of January as a topical proof point.

Observing and listening to understand

Firstly, we capture a snapshot of the Health and Fitness industry at potentially its most active period of the year, using our organic research methods to identify the many real and complex human behaviours, emotions and quirks that underpin a given subject at the outset of any influencer campaign. The comment featured here is a perfect example of the type of behaviours we help to validate – of a sentiment shared by most of us – that overindulgence during December can lead to a longing for a sense of normality and routine once again.  That we are, in the main, creatures of habit.

We also seek to identify any individual, brand or organisational key drivers within conversational topics.  Here, in the instance of health and fitness, discussion was very much organic in its nature with no one brand or organisation overly priming or stimulating it.   This is good, it means the topic is being driven – in the main – by organic and authentic health and fitness enthusiasts.  By health and fitness consumers rather than health and fitness operators.

Many conversational themes presented. Two that really stood out were the way in which exercise linked to clothing/appearance-led content, and music-led content.

Both themes were seen as going ‘hand in hand’, with people’s exercise rituals and new year re-engagement programmes.   Don’t just take our word for it – no gym was entered without new gym gear, new training shoes and a new or updated music playlist.

New year, new gym kit, new me

We observed strong evidence of fitness enthusiasts actively using clothing purchases and curated music streaming services as direct motivational triggers and rituals to re-engage with their exercise routines. Subsequently, the ritual trend of ‘new year – new gym kit’ is a significant potential touch-point for all brands operating in this space.

If we were to develop an influencer campaign for a brand in the health and fitness arena, we would identify this as a key behavioural trend to build credible (and humorous) campaign messages and content themes from.

Pump up the jams

The link between exercise and music was equally as prominent. Why? Because exercise requires a certain state of mind that enables an individual to endure fatigue and pain in the journey towards a healthier self.   Whereas clothing may act as a catalyst to someone to start on that journey, music is absolutely linked to motivating people during each session they participate in.

Harnessing authentic influencer ecosystems 

Knowing that there is a ritual of buying new and specific items of kit to get people TO a gym, followed by the ritual of curating or selecting a new workout playlist to motivate people IN the gym all contributes to building a highly tailored, organic and identifiable influencer campaign.   Just as knowing how to select the perfect influencer to drive your product or brand is a skill that we pride ourselves on.

There are many pitfalls in the current climate with regards to choosing influencers, and it’s simply not enough to settle on someone based solely on the scale of their followers.

Whether it be micro or macro influencers that suit your campaign needs (or, more often than not a combination of both), our approach is always bespoketailored and organic for each campaign.

We let the data lead us to the right people in the truest sense.  We utilise all analytical data and apply rigorous research and selection methods to identify the real influencers – those that initiate engagement and interaction – that are genuinely recognised commentators on a particular subject of affinity. We know these influencers will stimulate the greatest and most meaningful impact.

Engaged involvement vs shallow endorsement

The Health and Fitness industry is clearly awash with celebrity coaches, personal trainers, bloggers and vloggers.  What we focus on in addition to this, is navigating a path to identify REAL PEOPLE with REAL credibility, authenticity, deep relevance and strong audience engagement to support ‘hero’ influencers within an ecosystem (as opposed to relying on empty reach alone).

We know that Influencer campaigns work and we are proven and confident experts in developing these strategies for brands and rights holders. 

At a time when the use of celebrity influencers is making the headlines for all the wrong reasons, the last thing any brand needs are issues with the Competition and Markets Authority, or Advertising Standards Authority.

But that’s simply not how we approach an influencer campaign for our clients.  We treat it as a valid, recognised and official communications channel within an integrated campaign, just as we would approach PR and media relations with the utmost care and process-driven rigour. We apply the same rules to our influencer engagement strategies. Anything less, in our eyes, would be a waste of our client’s valuable campaign resources.

Contact us for advice on your next influencer campaign.

The analytics for this research were powered by our good pals at Brandwatch.

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