Interview Transcript

Looking at brand managers today, clearly, building a brand online is very different from what it was 10 years ago. Do you see them taking very different approaches today, in terms of building their own brand, rather than outsourcing part of it to the influencers, although it’s part of the core strategy?

I do see that it’s changed. As everything has moved more and more online, in terms of ad spend, marketing and measurement, I’ve seen more brands shifting a lot of focus to online, depending, obviously, on the brand and what they do. Because we have so much more data available to us, it’s become easier and easier to understand what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong and where we maybe need to change strategy and where we’re doing really well. I think that helps building brands and I think that helps with understanding strategy and where you need to go.

I think it’s particularly interesting today, because people actually trust individuals more than companies. That’s pretty scary, if you’re a company and it’s only swinging even further, for Gen Z’s. If you look at gaming, they following people, the gamers. That’s pretty scary for the brands. How would you suggest approaching that, to really capture the minds of Gen Z’s?

I’d say, especially in something like gaming, brands need to find their allies in influencers, in the individuals. I think some brands have been really good at saying, we only want to work with five people, that’s it, and we’re going to find the absolute best five people. We’re going to develop a really strong relationship with them; they are going to be our champions. They are, basically, going to be the extension of the brand, but in individual form. The relationships that brands can build with people like that, can be really, really successful.

Talking about travel, which is your domain, how do you build your brand online? Are there any key principles that you would say that you’ve learned about building an audience?

I’d say consistency is really key. With influencer marketing in general, and being an influencer, you have to be putting content our consistently, you have to be engaging consistently. You have to be reminding people that you are there, consistently, because their attention spans are short and they’re fickle followers. If you’re not constantly giving them something new, they all go off to one of the millions of other people who are. So you have to be there; you have to show up and you have to be consistent with that. I think you also need to really know your USP really well. What is it that you are actually giving people that is different from anybody else and really try to always be reinforcing that and always be giving that to people, consistently, as well? Then there’s thing, as with any brand, your tone, your style, your colors, fonts, logos all goes into influencer brand building, in the same way it goes into corporate brand building.

What’s been the focus when you’ve worked with a brand?

There have been a lot of really good partnerships I’ve done. I’d say there was one, a couple of years ago, that I did with a clothing company. It was up in Northumberland, because they are based up north and they are a very classic, English clothing company. I was spending a lot of time up in Northumberland, at the time anyway, so it was a really nice fit, where they had me go up to Northumberland, so there was the travel element. I was wearing their clothes, in the places that I normally would write about or photograph, anyway, doing the things I would do when I travel, anyway. Then talking about the brand, talking about how people can go and do these things that I’m doing. It was just a really nice fit, in terms of it being a natural fit and a really easy fit, for both of us.

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