Mtn Dew Leads The Way In How To Use Influencers, Part 3
Influencer marketing is a powerful tool teetering on the ‘nice to have’ and the ‘must have’ line of marketing tactics. With engagement being the most important KPI these days, using the right influencers is more important than ever.
With 94% of social media users looking for authenticity and transparency from influencers, the dynamic brands must cultivate in their relationships with influencers has changed from one of distant mention to friendly association.
A case study: “Outdoor Stimulus Program”
In early summer of 2020, at the height of a pandemic, the only safe place seemed to be the great outdoors.
With customers across the “Mtn Dew Belt” (a.k.a the New Heartland) leaning into their deep passion for all things outdoors, Julie Raheja-Perera, CMO/VP of Marketing in PepsiCo’s Central Division, and her team created the wildly successful regional campaign: the $100,000 Mtn Dew Outdoor Stimulus program. In partnership with 60 New Heartland micro and nano influencers, fishing and hunting fans across the Midwest could receive $20 to cover the cost of a license in their state.
“Mtn Dew’s roots share a deep sense of regional pride with the Heartland—it’s a way of life and a commitment to the community and land. We know this year has brought many challenges and that Heartlanders live for the days they can spend outdoors—be it fishing on the lake or hunting with family and friends. We want them to know we are out here with them by providing a small kick start to get outside and unleash their passions,” Raheja-Perera said.
The Recipe for Influencer Marketing Success
The Mtn Dew Outdoor Stimulus program is a perfect example of the kind of results a brand can expect to achieve when they pair a good offer with great influencers that represent the lifestyle and values of its customers.
If relatability could be measured as a standard marketing KPI, Mtn Dew would have achieved record-breaking levels, including industry-benchmark-crushing engagement rates.
Building On Success
Building on the success of the regional 2020 campaign, the brand recently announced the “Get Out and Do” nationwide platform and an updated version of the Stimulus program by kicking in an additional $1 million to fund licenses/park passes. More than just the increase in funding, the brand continues to embrace the importance of lending a hand in economically challenging times for many.
In an announcement last month, Vice President of Marketing at Mtn Dew, Nicole Portwood, explained the parameters of the 2021 program: “DEW fans nationwide are eligible for a chance to receive a $25 reimbursement on their most recent outdoor pass or license for hunting/fishing or opt to give their stimulus funds to an outdoor-related program/nonprofit that supports their outdoor adventures.”
The addition of the philanthropic component is genius for many reasons, but primarily because it taps into another New Heartland core value—community.
How Mtn Dew Works with Influencers
Sourcing and activating influencers is both an art and a science.
Choosing the right influencer is the difference between success and failure… or worse, exposing the brand as disconnected from what really matters to its customers.
Mtn Dew built its influencer team with five best-in-class outdoors enthusiasts.
Team members include outdoorsman and country music star Chase Rice, pro anglers Gerald Swindle and Brian Latimer, a leading female outdoorswoman, Hannah Barron, and hunting thought leaders, Drury Outdoors.
But finding the right influencer is just one piece of the puzzle. Brands must develop a collaborative relationship with their influencers, ensuring the partnership will come off as real and believable.
Brands need to have relationships with their influencers as people, not just press kits.
Know their backstory, why they do what they do, who they are as humans, and what is important to them and their platform.
Why Brands Should Invest in Influencers
Mtn Dew is just one example of a brand using influencer partnerships effectively. Following their lead, brands that engage with influencers that can effortlessly represent the true essence of their brand, will prove to be a critical addition to the traditional MARCOM approach. Using influencers is no longer a ‘nice to have’.
Niche and regional influencers bring something to the table most celebrities never will—an enthusiasm for sharing their passion for your brand with their highly engaged fan base in a relatable way. You can’t buy that...or can you?