Let’s Talk About Influencers…

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PUSH Social Influencers in campaigns for Muzo Emeralds, F45 Training, & Self-made (left to right)

What are they?

-Influencers are people who use their online presence and following to affect others thinking and feelings. They can also help induce behavior or actions through Social Media.

There are so many different perspectives now regarding Social Influencers. Their rise to fame…their impact on our culture…their ability to influence buying decisions and decision-making in general. Regardless, it’s a hard to deny the force that’s with them and recently there’s spawned a new-found respect and awareness for their promotional capabilities. To understand better what Influencers can do along with their impact through Influencer Marketing, we need to capture who they are and why.

-Social Media Influencers impact thousands to millions of followers via Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, Twitter and other online venues on a daily basis.  

Who are they?

To start: Influencers can be anyone from anecdotal to ongoing content contributors, celebrities, and industry experts. They are able to engage audiences at incredibly high levels of speed and mass…like no other current marketing medium can. Bloggers started off leading the charge back in the infancy stages of the Social Media explosion, and still continue to be a top ‘go-to’ for engagement.

-Influencers often have an informative or authoritarian appeal on various topics or interests with credentials in a certain area. Their experiences and/or expertise can contribute to their efficacy with followers.

In a sense, Influencers are similar to columnists with just about anyone having the ability to write (at any time) their perspective or experience with thoughts on just about anything. Micro-Influencers have recently taken the lead (along with industry experts) for driving follower interaction, brand endorsement, and having the much-needed relationships fans and followers needed to have sustainable long-term engagement.

-Through their “likeability” and “just like us” appeal with followers and potential consumers, Influencers typically possess a knowledge on general consumer topics that generate trust from their audiences.

This helps stimulate purchasing habits and generate activity. Um, let’s be honest, it also doesn’t hurt that the Influencer is often very attractive and has a magnetism in some way shape or form to what a follower either desires or aspires to be like. When someone looks online for an authority figure on a subject of interest, example: health and wellness, fitness, or a work out routine, a Micro-Influencers is a natural choice. They have grown and enveloped mass appeal, in many different categories, as they are often sought for their input and trials of products, services, and experiences.

-A whopping 95 percent of consumers trust recommendations from others over content that comes from a brand, a 2011 Nielsen survey found.

Micro-Influencers can be the most effective form of ambassadorship for a variety of different reasons, but we will talk about that a little bit later on in the blog. In comparison to Micro-Influencers, the days of Celebrities and Athletes being a major go-to for Influence and marketing has waned. This, in part, has been due to the amount of compensation they are paid to be spokespersons or endorsers.

-The days of expensive endorsement with the “Pay to Play” advertising strategy isn’t quite as effective as it used to be.

To advertisers, especially small and growing to mid-size and even large companies, it simply costs too much. Paying millions on one advertisement in a challenging consumer purchasing environment just is hard to justify from a marketing budget standpoint.

-Non-celebrity bloggers are more likely than celebrities to inspire purchases, with 30 percent of consumers more likely to buy from them, a Collective Bias survey finds.

There can also be a trust or relatability issue with Celebrities and Athlete endorsements. Lifestyle parallels play a key role for consumers and it often difficult to identify from an economic, social, or personal standpoint with the activities and financial spend of a Celebrity or a Professional Athlete. As much as they are respected, admired, and even adored, it can be out of reach or perceived to be, in the eyes of many with regards to an average consumer’s purchasing habits and lifestyle.

-The preference of non-celebrity endorsement is even more evident with Millennials. 70 percent of Millennials use peer recommendations when purchasing, reported by the earlier mentioned 2011 Nielsen survey.

Where did they come from and why?

Influencers really spawned from their own efforts and dedication. The natural rise came via an increased usage of Social Media platforms and platform for interactive commentary and content. This has been a means of communication for all different ages, ethnicities’, and backgrounds for almost a decade now. The followers may have started off as friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances…and soon Influencers built networks that offered a valuable communication forum. There’s a certain intrigue and excitement surrounding individuals who lead interesting lifestyles with colorful personalities and active lives. We saw this interest originally after the launch of the “Real World”- MTV or “Big Brother”-CBS, back in the day. The appeal of Reality TV shows has naturally progressed into online variations through Social Media viewing, interaction, and the following of Influencers.

-The declination of TV viewership doesn’t mean people aren’t “watching” they’ve just started watching elsewhere…Internet alternatives & Social Media.

Online participants account for just close to half of the planet now with just over 3 Billion people (source: Global Digital Statshot August 2017). Consider that…for those of us who are pre-90’s babies, we remember the days where the internet/intranet was a concept we’d heard about in science class or used only at the Pentagon and in computer-based companies like Mac and IBM. Ads on TV were the way we decided what cereal to eat and toys to play with (Saturday morning cartoons). A big red cola bottle could literally change the world with it’s refreshing pop of the top. And a full cable TV channel was created and dedicated to telling us what to buy, 24 hours a day/7 day a week.

As we’ve seen for many years now, there are many millions of people who have replaced TV time with social media interaction, buying online, and surfing the web. Influencers are a more recent prodigy of this transition but represent a new form of highly effective marketing communication.

What can they do?

-Nowadays, an Influencer can help make a follower’s decision regarding purchasing, their virtual/online and physical activities, social/political views, or on basically anything.

They often share videos, pictures, links to other websites, go to events, and are in many cases-subject-matter industry experts on similar topics of interest with their audience. Influencers are also creative in how they generate their posts, content, and blogs, and keep it fresh and interesting. They’ve learned how to entertain and educate vicariously through sharing the narratives of their own lives, activities, and interests.

For followers, Influencers are like friends and family. For brands and companies, Influencers, especially Micro-Influencers, represent an instantaneous way to reach a huge audience quickly and at a more affordable cost. The capturing of a high-priced endorsement can also be limited to a certain audience and may not fall into cross-consumer categories. Companies have recently begun to look for more cost-effective and relatable spokespersons to be Brand Ambassadors. These messengers are often Influencers who possess major appeal to many types of audiences and have a specific relevancy to the product or service the brand is attempting to promote.

-The reach and exposure of Micro-Influencers are second to none when it comes to out of pocket marketing and timely return on investment.

The old days of paying gobs of money for an ad on the radio, TV, or in print annually, just aren’t as cost-effective and the dividends aren’t as plentiful. The benefits of Micro-Influencers include specific organic content and education with target audience relevancy for marketing. Let’s face it: It’s just not easy anymore through conventional marketing means to hit thousands or even millions of potential consumers and leave a lasting imprint.

If you want to advertise, educate, and get endorsement fast, it’s easier to do it with the click of a button. Marketing firms in the past few years have begun allocating specific budgets to “Influencer Marketing” as a result of the performance and engagement issued in real time and measurable through “likes”, “comments”, “re-posts and shares” and just plain visible exposure of how many followers an Influencer has.

Influencer marketing content provides a return on investment that is 11 times higher than traditional digital marketing forms, according to a study conducted by Nielsen Catalina Solutions.

In the ever-changing world of media and marketing, the new world of Influencer Marketing is upon us. For many companies; budgeting, strategy, and measuring results is the challenge…not accepting the medium and its efficacy.

-SO, are you ready get further introduced on LEVERAGING INFLUENCERS? Check out what alternative marketing resources can do for you or your brand and contact PUSH to learn more about its Micro-Influencer Case Studies!

Roxy L.-PUSH Agency Consultant & Contributor

Party Time? How to Plan the Perfect Christmas Party

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It’s that time of year when someone is given the job of putting together the company Christmas party. Of course, nobody cares at the moment and there won’t be any real support until the last minute when suddenly this party will become the most important thing that has ever happened in the history of the business.

But hey, I’m sure it’ll be fine.

So here are our top tips for creating an amazing event, without having to ask for budget increases.

Venue First, Then Everything Else
No, don’t listen to Karen and accounts who, “used to be an events planner.” You certainly do not need a theme before you decide on a location, you need approximate numbers. Also, don’t listen to Jeremy in IT. I mean, he probably doesn’t have anything constructive to contribute to this conversation but I’m really just suggesting that you don’t listen to him in general.

Your venue is like the foundation for building a house – you start with a solid base, and everything else has to work around it. Otherwise, you will end up a month out from Christmas, with no venue, and as a result no party and then everyone will hate you.

2. Consider Everyone, but Please the Majority

Being an event planner is not a democratically elected position, and you have no requirement to please the people. It’s not like they can vote you out, and there won’t be a revolution to overthrow you. Most likely.

Consider yourself a dictator. It’s wise to listen to the people, but make sure you don’t work too hard to please marginal groups. In event management, there are always those who would rather complain than apply common sense. Those people who will insist that the party should start early and finish early, “because it’s impossible to find a babysitter over Christmas.” And the ones who have really good, overly insistent ideas somehow based in philosophy, “why does it always have to be so alcohol-fuelled? Couldn’t we just go somewhere and spend time together?”
Whenever you hear ideas, no matter how much you may agree with them it is important to consider the masses. As dictator, they form the basis of your power and may not be a revolution, but they could well be some violent protests.

3. If You Can Tentatively Book, Then Do

Don’t be a perfectionist at the wrong moment. The right time to be a perfectionist is a few days before the party when you’re making sure plans are on track, and the right promotional staff are doing the right work. Event staff love being bossed around by panicking event managers by the way.
The wrong time to be a perfectionist is a few months out Christmas when event locations are filling up fast. If the location manager asks if you would like to tentatively book and confirm and 24 hours, then say yes…for goodness sake, say yes. Otherwise, you will spend the next six hours thinking about whether you should use that location and get that problem solved and then you will ring them back and this conversation will happen:
“Hi I would like to book the area we discussed for a Christmas party.”
“Unfortunately it has now been taken.”
“Oh. I feel like a complete idiot.”
“Yes, you should have tentatively booked.”

Event planning and creating the perfect Christmas event is a lot of work, but if you have a location and a bit of support you can make miracles happen.

2 Mistakes that Event Staff Always Make

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In events, almost every failure can be traced back to one of these two mistakes:

1. Someone not taking enough responsibility
2. Someone taking too much responsibility

The first issue of someone not taking enough responsibility involves a failure to allocate work to specialists combined with a failure to follow up on that work. In this instance, event staff are assigned general tasks rather than specific responsibilities and as a result, perform those specific tasks perfectly. The problem is that most of the roles required by events staff are far more detailed than a specific task. For example, asking bar staff to serve drinks will mean that competent staff will do exactly that – serve drinks to attendees. The failure is that the person who assigned the task has failed to communicate the importance of the type of communication, which drinks should be prioritised and the manner in which bar staff should present themselves. We have all experienced an event where the event staff simply do not fit with the “feel” of the event; a slightly scruffy brand ambassador at a formal event, or a promotional team member that acts with almost pretentious politeness at a casual party. All of this can be rectified by ensuring specific event staff have responsibility for more than just minor tasks. Supervisors who have an awareness of what is expected of their team at a more fundamental level can rectify issues in presentation, communication and methodology. Without that level of responsibility, there is no system or procedure for rectifying ad-hoc problems.
The other issue of event staff taking too much responsibility involves event managers, supervisors or individual contributors stressing themselves out by trying to achieve everything themselves without allowing other people to take any responsibility for the event beyond the most basic assignments. The most common occurrence is when supervisors are tasked with, “managing” staff, but that management ends with checking their start times, telling them when they can take a break and asking the event manager to sign their timesheet at the end of the event. This type of robotic behaviour creates a flow on effect to other members of event staff, who behave in an equally robotic fashion. The event becomes less enjoyable for the event staff, which in turn reduces the enjoyment for the attendees. The event manager uses solid project management techniques to make sure that everything happens on time, but timeliness is only a small portion of creating an event that engages clients or prospects and gets people talking. With too much responsibility being taken by the event manager, those responsible for direct interaction with attendees cannot use their own skillset and intuition to adapt to circumstances as they arise. A member of waitstaff wants to engage with attendees at a more meaningful level, but it has been communicated, through clear and functionary directives, that this is just a job, not an opportunity to shine. Had the event manager allowed responsibility to filter down and created an environment where individual team members could use their own initiative to spot opportunities and be proactive in improving the event, the performance of the event would exponentially increase without any additional work having to be done by the event manager. Sadly, in these circumstances, the event manager has confused working hard with creating an effective event.
The sensible allocation of responsibility involves an awareness of where proactivity is useful and an understanding of where it is not. Good event managers should seek to understand the link between effective task allocation, communicating the importance of productivity and bring it together with the recruitment of event staff that have the relevant skillsets.

Promotional Staff and the Formal Event

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Hosting a formal event using a promotional staffing strategy is a challenging balance to get right. Of course, if you manage to achieve it then the results can be superb – the perception of your organisation can be improved, and authenticity of the event can create numerous opportunities for other promotional events and marketing initiatives. However, done poorly, a formal promotional staffing event can appear clumsy, forced and at worst not authentic to your brand. We have all been to events like this where the glamour of the occasion is overshadowed by an overzealous effort to make everything seem luxurious, or fancy. The result is something more akin to a fancy dress party than a formal event. The line, as we have learned, is very thin.

To ensure the success of your formal event, a good first step is to hire promotional talent with the relevant experience. When we supplied promotional talent for a Heineken event attended by numerous celebrities and business leaders, where the brand actually gave way an Aston Martin, we were pedantic about the previous experience of the promotional stuff. Models who don’t have exposure to events where small talk or casual banter is required may have the aforementioned effect – appearing to be forcing their persona, and as a result ruining the overall impression of the evening. If this seems pedantic, keep in mind that people don’t usually make conscious decisions about what they enjoy or didn’t, it’s the small details that make a difference; it may be the food, the music, the other people that were invited or the style of the location itself. It can equally be hospitality staff, promotional talent or those tasked with concierge duties. The impact made by team members in what is often deemed to be, “low impact,” roles can be profound, especially as the blame won’t be apportioned to a particular waiter, or a sub par member of the promotions team, rather it will be the organisation itself and the event that will be tarnished.
Hiring high-calibre talent with a reputation for excellence, proven through formidable resumes should be at the top of every formal event planner’s list. The best formal events are managed to an incredibly pedantic level so that the feeling of luxury, intention and authenticity is palpable when the most important people – your audience – enters the room.
Then it’s showtime, and the team is ready to create an unforgettable experience.

Promotional Staffing Mistakes to Avoid

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With the largest database of promotional staff in North America, It’s fair to say that we have gained enough experience to see promotional staffing mistakes in the making. Whether it’s bad management, a lack of understanding as to what constitutes a good brand ambassador or just plain old laziness, the result is usually the same – a failed campaign, or a damaged reputation. Here are the top three mistakes made when undergoing a promotional staffing campaign and how to avoid them.

1. Hiring “Just Anybody”
Not just anyone can be a brand ambassador, and not just any brand ambassador can do the job you want them to do. Hiring professional staffing talent without understanding their specific skills, is akin to hiring a surgeon without determining which part of the body he knows how to operate on. Before you hire anyone make sure that you get a clear picture for what they will be doing and then ask what experience your potential brand ambassadors have had in this area.
Doesn’t seem important?
If there is any product knowledge required, or if direct communication with the public is necessary, then your reputation is at stake when a promotional model who is not confident with products in your sector stumbles through an explanation. Social media is always quick to pick up on corporate shortcomings, and the public does not differentiate between you and your promotional talent.

2. A Lack of Clear Instructions
Don’t assume anything when it comes to organising a promotional campaign. Human beings like to make assumptions, and common sense is all about perspective. Don’t think that your promotional teams will, “just work it out,” when you fail to give them specifics. They will work it out, but possibly not the way you want them to. It’s up to you to make sure that all the instructions – from start and finish times, to the brand messaging, are communicated in a clear and concise version, preferably across multiple platforms.

3. Practical Outcomes
Like any marketing strategy, promotional campaigns are not the entire solution – they are a part of the recipe. One promotional campaign won’t transform your entire business, but it may give you increased market awareness and offer some interesting market research as well. Perhaps a specific localised demographic can be targeted, or a new product tested. Have an appreciation for the outcomes you want to achieve, and make sure they are realistic, practical and easily measurable.

Astroglide Pride Parade

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June is Gay Pride Month, and regardless of your sexual orientation, the Astroglide Pride Parades in Boston and San Diego are incredible parties/concerts/celebrations. When we were asked to find brand ambassadors who would like to attend, the only problem was narrowing down the options.
Aside from being ridiculous amounts of fun, it’s also an incredibly meaningful event for the gay community specifically, and it was important to us that we honor that and provide the best possible brand ambassadors. Gay pride month may be a party now, but that’s only because of the countless thousands who sacrificed their dignity and freedom to help create a world where who we love doesn’t dictate how we’re treated.
Back to the party
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 The crowds lined the streets, and while you may think you can imagine it – you can’t. The noise was incredible and the cheering the dancing, singing and the feeling of camaraderie between everyone in attendance was palpable.
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 Our team’s job was to hand out Astroglide products to people along the parade route and interact with the crowd. Handing out free stuff, and dancing at a party isn’t a tough gig, but we still like to pretend it’s work.
 It’s events like this that nobody wants to end, and we received some wonderful feedback from the client, but the comments from our team probably summed it up best.
“I had a blast at the event!”
“Thank you so much for booking me for this event! I had a great time, and everyone was so nice!”


Promotional Models with Attitude…or Maybe Not

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Promotional models, like it or not, are the face of your business as far as the public is concerned.

You like it when they present themselves in such a way that is authentic to your brand, and hate it when they miss the mark. Of course, almost all promotional models want to get a job perfect, so the reason for their missing the mark is often a simple misunderstanding. Who was to blame is irrelevant, the more important question to ask is if everyone in your organisation, from the CEO through the rest of the team understands the voice of your brand, and how to best communicate it.
The reason this matters is best communicated through the following story. All names, details and pretty much everything else have been changed to ensure the guilty parties cannot be identified. Apart from us, but we accept our guilt and have learnt a great deal from it!
PUSH Agency was engaged by a regional liquor company (again, not the real industry) to run a promotional campaign in local supermarkets. The idea was that tastings would take place in-store, to introduce the public to the brand, and its unique taste. Our role was to use our database to identify and hire promotional models across multiple states, all who needed to have experience in bartending – which the client thought would get the vibe right. The client, trying to do everything in line with best practice, also created a four-page guideline document, explaining the brand and the product and why it was important that the models behave a certain way.
“Promotional models must behave in a friendly and outgoing fashion. The brand is fearless and unrelenting, fights the status quo and doesn’t care for rules. This event is about getting in the public’s face and empowering them to live their lives differently.”
This document was sent to all promotional models across multiple states as part of their training. The only other information received by the promotional models was a representative of the brand at the location when they arrived, whose job it was to remind them of the ingredients and brewing method, in case they had forgotten.
The client refused our offer to create an online training video, or to assign regional team leaders to direct the event, which was coordinated to occur on the same day. In retrospect, we should have insisted.
The issue was that words can have multiple meanings, depending on how they are interpreted by individuals. There was a second issue, in that without a test run there was no opportunity to analyse the process and review any learnings, but communication was the crucial mistake.
In many locations, the promotional models understood the brief perfectly. They laughed and smiled, had fun and enjoyed their time with the product. They casually handed out the tiny samples, making jokes about drinking when you should be shopping and generally putting a smile on people’s faces. Some supermarket managers gave wonderful feedback on how the promotion lifted the energy in their stores.
In some locations, however, the brief was missed entirely. Promotional models took the branding document far too literally, and became almost aggressive in their approach, their version of, “getting in people’s faces.” Others became overly flirtatious, and others took rule breaking to a whole new level. In one cringeworthy occurrence, a promotional model actually ended up in an argument with a store manager as to where she was allowed to stand.
None of these models were trying to do anything apart from a spectacular job. They had taken the brand to heart and were doing what they felt was demonstrative of the organisation that was employing them. Many were delighted with the outcome and felt they had nailed the brief, lived the brand, and done themselves proud.
During the debrief and after interviewing the promotional models it became painfully apparent where everyone had gone wrong. Luckily, the fallout wasn’t terrible, and we were able to recreate the event with more checks and balances in place, including a far more robust training process and brand communication schedule. This time, it included visuals and more operational directions, rather than brand marketing speak.
Promotional models are often highly creative and committed to the work they are doing. As a result, it’s up to us, and you the client, to make sure they understand clearly what they are supposed to do – and not just what we think they should know.

Brand Ambassadors Bringing the Life of the Party to the Super Bowl

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The Super Bowl. It’s one of America’s most anticipated sporting events of the year and now PUSH – marketing and promotions is making it even more memorable. Some of the hottest parties of the year will be taking place leading up to the event and Push is staffing these parties with charming, attractive and outgoing brand ambassadors who will be there to work the events. The ambassadors keep the energy up, promote various products and contribute to the overall ambiance of the events. But with these fabulous, star-studded parties, it’s easy to keep the excitement high. Carmen Electra is hosting a Leather and Laces party, in which the “Girls Next Door” reuniting celebs, Holly, Bridgette and Kendra will be in attendance. Push will also be supplying brand ambassadors for a Maxim party as well as for the NFL Players Association party. Right now, Push’s Javaid Zafar is gearing up to begin recruiting brand ambassadors for these events. He’s looking not only for beautiful girls, but girls who are also enthusiastic with great personalities. He is looking for “the complete package” to promote products and make sure everyone is having a great time. On January 6th at 9:30pm, he held a casting call at Bartini’s to find girls to work these amazing Super Bowl parties. The turnout is expected to be impressive, just like these sensational girls.



Promotional Models on Wheels?

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The corporate office of PUSH – marketing & promotions has quite a few people who think they are part of the “in crowd” when it comes to the nightlife scene, but boy did we learn a lesson or two as our promotional models showed their stuff at the DJ Expo!  Talk about a crowd that knows how to sing, dance and spin some records (or push buttons!)  This was an event of who’s, who in the DJ world and it proved to be one of the best events of the year.

PUSH Promo Models jazzed up UniqueSquared’s Mobile Studio

Push provided promotional models for the Unique Squared studio this year, and once they hit the floor the party started!  Unique Squared provided a full-blown studio on wheels, and it was the hit of the show!  The traveling studio is a mobile way for Unique Squared to tour the US and record music. And for you, this means you’ll have a new outlet for discovering new music!  Not only that, when they hit the road and come to a city near you, our promotional models will be right next to them!

PUSH marketing & promotions rolled into the DJ EXPO with Unique Squared

So as we at PUSH learned a thing or two on how to dance and spin records, the Unique Squared team learned how to make their events look spectacular (with our PUSH models of course!)  As the Unique team travels on so do our promotional models.  As a premier promotional modeling agency throughout the US and Canada, we are constantly on the road touring with some of the major brands in the world.  Make sure you continue to check in to learn about where we have been and where we are going as  I am sure we will be in a city near you soon!

PUSH Models Help Nintendo Launch a 3-D Revolution

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Drawing almost as much attention as their brand new 3-D handheld system, the sheer amount of eye-catching brand ambassadors provided by PUSH Models were the talk of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Nintendo’s near miraculous technological feat combined with a presentation featuring stunning promo models made the 2010 E3 an epic win for the rapidly expanding event staffing agency. Continue reading “PUSH Models Help Nintendo Launch a 3-D Revolution”