3 Apr

Why is influencer marketing so… influential?

By Victoria Knepp, Consultant

April 2024

The one and only. The infamous. The irreplaceable (apparently). The Stanley. No, not from The Office, although he’s a star in his own right. Not the NHL trophy either, that’s way outside my wheelhouse. The cup. That’s it. That’s all it is, is a cup. Right?

Wrong. (Kind of.)

Photo from www.stanley1913.com

With the insane influence of both influencer marketing and social media these days, the “Quencher H2.0 Flowstate Tumbler” boosted Stanley’s sales from $73 million in 2019 to an estimated $250 million in 2023. It all started with a women’s blog and e-commerce website called The Buy Guide (with more than 177K followers on Instagram!) selling 5,000 of the previously discontinued cups in just 5 days. How, you ask? The answer is two-fold.

One, they introduced the Stanley brand to an entirely new audience: moms and online influencers. Check out Emily’s blog for a deep dive on how target audience comes into play in Stanley’s (and potentially your) marketing strategy. 

Two, the influencers. What was once celebrities on cereal boxes has transformed into a new era of influencers on social media. Celebrities and their many levels of status – from reality TV contestants to Olympic champions to movie stars – are still very much a part of the social media influencer brigade. In fact, depending on your status, brands will pay tens of thousands for a single social media post from a celebrity.

Social media and all its new quirks, mainly Tik Tok and Instagram Reels has shifted the focus from just celebrities to now “regular” people. From moms to makeup artists to nutritionists to conspiracy theorists to people with insanely aesthetically pleasing home décor, there’s an influencer out there for everyone. Since 2016, influencer marketing has grown from a $1.7 billion industry to $21.1 billion in 2023. On average, data shows companies make $6.50 to every $1 spent on influencer content.

There’s always been the, “they have it, I want it” mentality when it comes to purchasing power. With social media, we’re now seeing exponentially more of the “they” and “it”. Recent research shows 500 million people watch Instagram Stories daily and Instagram users spend an average of 12 hours a month on the app. Plus, it’s estimated that people are exposed to hundreds of ads a day. Among all this noise is influencer content. Why does it work?

These are people telling you about products, not the company itself, giving it more authenticity. If you like someone or even better, trust them, you’ll likely take their advice and follow their recommendations.

(Now, we’re all well aware plenty of influencers are also paid advertisers, so let’s take my previous statements with a grain of salt.)

At some point, things become a status symbol. Think of all the name brands you know and love. Sure, Nike shoes are great quality, but they’re also just “cool” to have. 

Even if you’re not jumping on the bandwagon, you’re talking about it. This is where “going viral” on social media comes into play. If people aren’t buying these Stanley cups, they’re making fun of the people who are. (And it’s pretty funny.)

Influencer marketing on social media may not work for every brand. However, your industry likely has thought leaders, your company likely has revered employees, and your customers likely have something to say. How can you tap into that?

If you’re looking for a unique way to position your brand, we may know some experts that can help. In the meantime, stay hydrated friends.