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Instincts & Insights: How Kendo Brands Win in Influencer Marketing

Evy Wilkins
May 5, 2020

Influencer marketing takes a keen sense of intuition and sensitivity for detecting that perfect influencer-brand alignment and nurturing relationships with potential partners. But instincts are only half the equation. The real magic comes into play when you can combine that je ne sais quoi with powerful insights that deliver measurable results. 

We sat down with the influencer marketing team for several Kendo brands, including Ole Henriksen and BITE Beauty, who has this formula down to a science. They leverage their expertise in relationship-building, coupled with Traackr’s data-driven influencer marketing software, to select influencers, make the case for resources, manage campaigns, and analyze results. 

Taking a data-driven approach to influencer marketing has led to unique influencer selections, bigger gifting budgets to reach more influencers and, ultimately, successful launches. 

Leveraging Insights to Find Top Performing Influencers for Every Campaign

With access to the right data, the team was able to pull back on partnerships that weren’t delivering results and discover outside-of-the-box influencers for their campaigns that they might not have found if they were relying solely on their instincts.

“Our gut tells us to lean a certain direction, but it’s essential to have data at our fingertips to either support our intuition or steer us in a better direction if needed,” said Jana Kleemeier, Influencer Lead for BITE Beauty.

For example, as a clean beauty brand, Ole Henriksen typically partners with influencers whose content is bright and airy. When the team was searching for new partners, Jamie Genevieve, surfaced as a potential match because of various audience and performance-based criteria. 

Jamie Genevieve is known for her edgy makeup looks, not what instinctually comes to mind when thinking about a skincare regime. However, the data said, give the partnership a try. The results were impressive–Jamie Genevieve’s contracted content for Ole Henriksen often performs 30-40% above her average engagement rate.

The team at Kendo Brands is pushing beyond traditional brand look, feel, and personality to find high performers based on insights, thereby establishing a more scientific approach to influencer selection.

Take the relaunch of BITE Beauty earlier this year. Influencer marketing was an integrated component of the massive brand overhaul. But because BITE Beauty is currently only available in the U.S, Canada, and Australia, influencer audience location was a major qualifying criteria for the team. 

“There is no sense investing in an influencer who’s primarily reaching a European audience, even if their content is great,” explained Kleemeier. “The beauty influencer space is quite saturated and Traackr helps us narrow in on the right people who can truly reach our audience.”

When BITE Beauty opened its Brooklyn Lip Lab, the team leveraged influencer activations to drive bookings. They partnered with all types, from micro brand ambassadors to VIP including Makeup by Ariel, Kylie Jenner’s makeup artist. 

On the surface, it may not have made sense to bring a superstar from LA to Brooklyn for an activation meant to connect with local audiences, but the data showed that Makeup by Ariel over indexes for Brooklyn-based followers. “We could confidently make the case to our management team that this collaboration was the right investment,” said Kleemeier. 

Finding the right voices isn’t always easy and this is where a data-driven platform can really help your programs. For example, when BITE Beauty was preparing for the Hot Humans Making Lipstick campaign, the team needed to find men with great reach, who had a predominantly female audience. 

“When we select influencers based on data-driven insights, we know our content won’t just get scrolled over. It will reach our audiences and resonate.”

Optimizing Influencer Marketing Resources 

Without the ability to measure results, it’s nearly impossible to grow your programs. When it comes to scaling investment, the teams at Kendo Brands rely on influencer performance reports to demonstrate impact and make the case for additional resources. 

For example, when building and expanding mailer lists for new product launches, the team makes selections based on criteria including influencer audience quality, demographics, and historical content performance when mentioning the brand. They analyze who has received product in the past, who posts, and how well that content resonates with audiences. 

“Coming to the table with data, we demonstrate to our executive team that we have sound reasoning behind the request. Our brand leadership can rest assured we are minimizing waste and maximizing impact,” said Kleemeier. 

Data can also unearth diamonds in the rough. For example, they’ve found that certain mid-tier influencers perform better for their brands than some macro influencers, enabling them to double down on partnerships that are more cost-effective. 

Ole Henriksen also leverages Traackr to regularly audit influencer recommendations from agencies and other partners. While preparing to launch in Europe and the Middle East, several press trips were planned, positioning influencers to speak to each country.

Often, European influencers have vast followings both in their home countries, as well as, in neighboring countries. The Ole team could quickly see where the agencies’ selections had true influence and narrow their final list to the most impactful individuals. 

Ultimately, one of the greatest values of a data-driven influencer marketing platform is that it provides your team with a streamlined workflow, better visibility, and actionable insights for running impactful campaigns. Such a platform frees up your time to do more of what you love–building relationships. 

By positioning their teams to be deeply driven by data, Kendo Brands is harnessing that magic formula: Instincts + Insights = Win. 

Images courtesy of Kendo Brands.

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