Branderati Influencer Marketing Programs: Long-Term Relationships, Not Campaigns

Yesterday I wrote about Triberr’s influencer campaigns, which helps brands activate its army of bloggers and turn them into brand ambassadors. Branderati takes a different approach. The company starts by identifying and recruiting people who are already passionate about your brand, and developing programs to turn those existing connections into long-term relationships by empowering them to personalize and share exclusive content about your brand.

Branderati Influence Pyramid

Branderati began life as a marketing agency. The current Branderati platform was originally built for the agency’s clients, which included several media brands such as People StyleWatch. Given my personal background in the media industry, and knowing how great media brands can build passionate, engaged communities, it made perfect sense to me that a collaboration like this would result in a smart, content-driven engagement platform.

Recruit, Engage, Measure

Co-founder and CMO Ekaterina Walter walked me through the three phases of a Branderati advocate engagement program. Step 1 is to identify influencers. Branderati does this by working both with a client’s existing CRM system, as well as finding outspoken advocates who are active on social media. Next, influencers are recruited into the program, with invitations issued across a variety of  channels.  Applicants are then screened to ensure that they meet the brands’ criteria, and to create a comprehensive profile. The typical client network comprises between 2,000 to 5,000 influencers, according to Walters.

Now comes the fun part: engagement — and this is where things get really cool. Not only can you use Branderati to share content with your groups of advocates, you can empower them to customize and personalize the content, or remix a variety of content assets, and then share the resulting personalized brand content on social media, or even on their blogs via embed codes. In effect, you’re creating an army of publishers who will curate and create content for your brand.

Check out an example of how this looks in action, starting at 1:10 in this video:

To keep them engaged, Branderati uses customizable gamification elements (badges, leaderboards, etc.) that recognize the individual advocate’s contributions. And the company is constantly innovating, creating new campaign modules to keep fans interested and having fun.

Current modules include Share What You Think, which lets advocates add their own comments to a new product; Request a Sample, which counts down a limited quantity; The Poll, to get instant feedback; and more advanced content curation modules such as Image and Video Lookbooks, and customizable Mood Boards. The platform currently supports sharing across LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, email and via embed code, and is working on adding Instagram.

The platform’s dashboard lets clients manage one-to-one relationships with their advocate influencers at scale, monitor activity happening on their network in realtime, and use customized segmentation to turn on/off different modules to different members. And you can measure your success: the dashboard shows who’s sharing what, how far the content travels, as well as the network’s overall impact on purchase intent. The platform also includes a tagging feature that can analyze sharing and affinity down to every feature (size, color, scent, cut, etc.) in ways that can drive product development, marketing and content strategy decisions.

Not Advocates, Not Influencers: Advocate Influencers!

Walters makes the case that Branderati has the ability to identify and nurture “advocate influencers” — people who are so passionate about your brand that they don’t need to be paid to talk about you, but also have the reach and authority to truly sway the opinion of others. Most importantly, she advises marketers to think about how to “build a movement, not a campaign.”

Branderati’s services are customized for each client, but involve an initial set up/recruitment fee, plus a monthly retainer.

What do you think? How are you currently empowering advocates to share content about your brand?