For one of my class posts I wrote about T-Mobile USA CEO John Legere and his Twitter contest that could possibly culminate in sending someone to Mars via SpaceX. I find Legere to be one of the more interesting follows on Twitter. He is the ultimate influencer and brand champion for T-Mobile as he amplifies the message — Legere has over 3 million followers on Twitter to T-Mobile’s 749K — and actively reaches out to consumers who are having issues with service.
I think Legere’s rise to prominence is a perfect blueprint for success for marketers such as myself that exist in a regulated industry. I work in marketing for a mortgage company so there are plenty of detractors that come with the territory. Influencers aren’t as easy to come by in my space than in retail because I don’t have a hot new product that I can let a big YouTube streamer get their hands on early.
So, if you can find an influencer or brand champion externally why not build one up internally? That’s what Legere did — intentionally or otherwise — and I’d argue that it has paid untold dividends for a company in an industry where the conversation tends to revolve around inadequate service rather than inspiring experiences. Legere humanizes his brand by actively reaching out to customers who are having issues or jumping into conversations regarding T-Mobile that a corporate account simply would not be able to do.
Take a look at this slide. It speaks to the fact that influencer marketing is becoming an increasingly valuable tool for digital marketers such as myself:
According to Tomoson (via Fipp.com):
“22% of marketing professionals see influencer marketing as the fastest-growing channel of customer-acquisition. Only nine per cent see email as the fastest growing method, affiliate marketing even less so (five per cent).”
My company has dabbled in this form of influencer marketing, albeit it inadvertently. Our CMO is very active on social media and shares pictures from his travels representing the company at various conferences, NASCAR races and other sponsorship events and has stepped in when needed to help defuse adverse situations with customers. Still, to be as active as Legere on social is a full-time job in and of itself on top of executive level duties.
So, in short, if you can win influencers externally look within to find someone (or multiple someones) to become the brand champion that you need to differentiate from the corporate messaging that goes out on official brand channels