Where’s Your Influencer Squad? Oystercatchers Club explores…

Is influencer marketing a powerful way to connect with customers? Or snake oil, a disaster waiting to happen?

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According to our sister company, Influencer Intelligence, 61% of consumers aged 18-34 have been swayed by a digital influencer. Sixty-one percent of consumers say micro-influencers produce the most relatable content, while 79% prefer influencer content to celebrity endorsements.

On tuesday night, our Chair Suki Thompson launched lively debate to navigate the multi-billion pound maze of influencer marketing with a stellar panel: Arjoon Bose, Head of Marketing [Europe], New Ventures/Natural & Organic at General Mills; Steve Parish, entrepreneur & Chairman of CPFC; Natalie Glaze, content creator and social media influencer, and Richard Morris, CEO Initiative.

Suki observed, "The challenge for all of us is which influencers to trust? Just like the moon, we can only see one side of them. Too often we are taken in by the  ‘fake news’  view of their lives.”

She continued, "Yet, those influencers that get it right are inspiring, uplifting, real advocates, activists, altruistic, and the very best brand advocates."

With a full house of business leaders, agency chiefs and industry influencers from Facebook, Unilever, Barclaycard, John Lewis, Kimberley Clarke, Benefit, Worldpay, Ogilvy, Karmarama, Wunderman Thompson, Red Brick Road and Kitchen, we were inspired!

Here are just a few of take-outs from our event:

Explaining why General Mills has had to "embrace and commit" to influencers, Arjoon said: "People don’t just buy brands or products, they buy into benefits, values and passion points."  He defines influencer marketing as “The three T’s and the three R’s: truth, transparency and trust meets reach, relevance and resonance.”As an influencer, Natalie commented that the route the success is to work with brands that you’re proud to partner. Brands that give creative freedom. “We can tell your brand story in our own unique way and we’re hired because brand-owners like our style. We can tell the story of one product in multiple ways, in our individual ways, to our individual audiences we’ve spent years connecting with to create trust.

 On authenticity – the bedrock of influencer marketing – Richard commented, “Over time a lack of authenticity from an influencer will stick out like a sore thumb. Natalie believes “As an influencer we have a responsibility to check what we’re representing is legit.” Steve added, “Now it’s all about authenticity, players don’t want to be involved in things they don’t believe in these days.”


Each panellist offered up a top tip to success:

  • Arjoon: Move from trends to tribes - create a network of tribes that influence and interconnect. Why follow trends when you can lead a tribe?
  • Steve: Just get into it and do it.
  • Natalie: Create freedom and trust.
  • Richard: Give your brand to the influencer and let them creatively connect with the audience.

A major thank-you to our panellists for guiding us through influencer marketing and to all our guests. We look forward to sharing our short film from the evening shortly.

You can watch the highlights from the evening here, and also read more about some of the issues raised on Marketing Week

Finally, a reminder that our next Club event takes place on Tuesday 2nd July.


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