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Influencer Marketing: The New Cult of Personality

I distinctly remember around 2010 when I started to see a new, and surprising, trend appear. All of sudden a new type of celebrity seemed to emerge from the ether- one that didn’t need a televised program or official licensing to exist. Suddenly Youtube, Instagram, and FB were flooded with individuals armed with cell phone cameras vying for attention. Their programming ranged from heartfelt expositions to fashion advise to prank wars... all with one main target in mind: to capture the hearts and minds of millions of followers. Thus, the Influencer was born.

The concept of an ‘Influencer’ is not new. In fact we have been following ‘Influencers’ since, reportedly, the 1600s. However this new brand of persona was created with the invention of social media specifically, as it uses this free range platform to reach individuals restriction free. Mass media has played a part in the career of many influencers (i.e. the Kardashians, Justin Bieber, etc)- but this new form of Influencer was able to create an organic presence online from cult of personality alone. Our new social media rich environment opened the doors to creating a natural dialogue with viewers and subscribers in real time and with almost limitless access.

How does this new brand of celebrity play a critical role in how we engage with audiences and how can we learn from these tactics to employ our own future success?

It’s all about marketing.

From early on in the Influencer flywheel it became apparent that these individuals had discovered a two directional path toward success that is, admittedly, admirable. For instance, popular Youtube influencers can potentially earn income from 2 sources simultaneously- video views and product promotions. And the most skillful Influencers know that the most important part of their job as brand ambassadors is to make it look authentic. We experience this phenomenon regularly across all age groups and target markets. Ryan from Ryan’s Toy Reviews began as a child opening toys in his living room, and now he has a network TV show and a net worth of $120 million. Famous soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo made nearly half of his income ($105 million) last year on sponsored Instagram posts. 30 year old Swedish gamer PewDiePie has been a top Youtube influencer for years, making millions in the process. 

So how can you emulate this success in your own business? There are a few ways we can learn from these masters of marketing, and employ similar tactics to drive business and success.

  1. Don’t oversell. The way these influencers sell BEST is to make the product desirable by extension alone. Show that your product or service is fabulous as an extension of your marketing, not as the focus of it.

  2. Give your product a personality. So often we see products in videos or ads as flat. Influencers give products life as an extension of their own. When you brainstorm a new marketing campaign or business video, show your product or service in action to help showcase the full range of your deliverable. Video is a great way to see a product in action.

  3. Hire an influencer. Yes- you can engage with an influence yourself to showcase your product. A great recent example is The Holderness Family’s MRCOOL campaign.

Reportedly sales skyrocketed after employing the FB famous influencers for a DIY video tutorial series. You don’t have to hire Kylie Jenner to be seen- find an established brand that makes sense for your core demographics and approach them about their process. Nearly 75% of marketers are currently employing Influencers and the trend is one the rise!

  1. Become a ‘micro-influencer’. Not all Influencers can sing, dance, and wield power tools. Many individuals have gained notoriety from simply being experts on a particular topic. Your product or service could benefit just from sharing your own expertise and passion.

  2. For instance- a series of informative videos and posts surrounding your service can help showcase your industry knowledgeable while simultaneously showcasing why you are the best person to fill a need. A divorce lawyer might speak to domestic affairs, a chef to easy recipes, or a mechanic to easy car tips. You don’t have to be among the rich and famous to gain a following- you just have to use the right tools!

  3. Employ video. One thing many influencers have in common is video. From IGTV to FB sponsored spots or Youtube ads, video is playing a key role in getting your product seen. Video has always been a powerful means of marketing but Influencer marketing is a video rich format, and often relies on this vehicle to be seen. Whether you are hiring an influencer to appear in your marketing videos or looking to increase your own exposure- make sure to put your best foot forward with high quality video production. 

While Influencer marketing might be a new concept, its meteoric rise in popularity indicates that it won’t stop ‘trending’ anytime soon. And while you may not want to engage an influencer (or become one) directly- there are many cues we can take from their process to gain better visibility and secure future sales.

For more information on how you can use these proven techniques in your video marketing campaigns, reach out us to at


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