May 16, 2019

The Influencer Progression

By Jennifer Borba von Stauffenberg

In a vastly changing world of marketing, how do you stay on the cutting edge of what is happening?

The truth is that you have to be daring. In the early 2000s having a profile on MySpace was daring — the birth of the micro-bloggers. I can still remember gingerly posting my first MySpace post… second and triple guessing whether or not I should share my thoughts. I meticulously brainstormed how I would post photos of myself that wouldn’t include my face. I actually draped my hair over my dog Olive, so her face would be in place of my own. Then, my second photo was a photo of myself on a flowerbed. It was a big deal. I thought through every potential perspective, whether it was safe, could what I say be misunderstood, did people care about what I was saying? A completely new territory.

I remember creating the first Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream MySpace page and brainstorming with our team… it was so new. There was so much angst about who would create the content, who would post it, how we would engage with followers. Not many brands were taking the risk. Little by little, everyone seemed to buy into the trend.

Fast forward to Facebook, I was more comfortable as were many others, less worried and calculated… I just filled out my profile and started speaking my mind. Well trained by MySpace and way more comfortable sharing my personal details, it seemed effortless. Convincing clients they needed to have social media channels was already a thing of the past and so every client had one and it was simple. Twitter even more so, because there were little visual elements. Next was Instagram and that tested us all a little if we respected the idea of wanting things to be visually appealing. The birth of filters and amazing phone cameras changed the game for all of us.

Other social media channels came and went, each threatening to shift the balance of our time. All around this progression, companies were beginning to blog, create video content and podcasts. Some seemed to excel and others just kept doing things the same way. Professionals were also beginning to throw around books like business cards, becoming self-published and utilizing social media platforms as a way to market themselves. It was the birth of social influencers. A promise that with pretty content and consistent messaging, fame was put into your own hands.

While most people were just getting by, there were the unicorn masters that quickly rose to the top, inspiring a tidal wave of content and the birth of a high paying industry. Being “insta-famous” and “insta-rich” actually became a thing. Families like The Bucket List Family and kids like Ryan from Ryan ToysReview had found a magic combination to the good life, making millions and seeing the world.

You might be asking what’s next… Well, I believe the real influencers are going to thrive and the less influential influencers are going to have to get more creative. Thought leaders like Brené Brown and Marie Kondo have taken to Netflix with high quality television programming demonstrating the next level of influence. Might I also add Ryan from the extraordinarily successful YouTube show Ryan ToysReview (over 19 million followers) has just launched Ryan’s Mystery Playdate on Nick Jr. Before his TV show, it has been reported that he raked in over $22 million last year. He’s seven.

As always, the cream rises to the top. Consumers will continue to become more demanding for instant content and gratification and people like Brené and Marie will continue to raise the bar, asserting that all companies and thought leaders will continue to provide quality creative content in new formats. I speculate that these are just the first of many shows coming to Netflix and other networks as people begin to see their success.

At Olive, we know that change in our industry is constant and we continue to align with some of the most creative and progressive people and businesses in the market. If you are looking for a creative and innovative team to support you in creating your unique path to lead your industry, please connect with us. We would love to help make it happen.