Episode or Podcast #1 of Marketing on Tap where Sensei Marketing Co-hosts Sam Fiorella and Danny Brown talk beer and marketing.
In this episode they talk about the controversy surrounding Instagram Influencer Elle Darby and her ask for free accommodation at the White Moose Cafe in exchange for positive reviews. Fair or foul? Watch as our experts weigh in…
Sam Fiorella: So, yeah, I think we’re all in. So, we have … And we’re recording live now as well. So welcome, everybody.
That’s it, I love that sound.
Troy: Sprayed you.
Sam Fiorella: You know, we’re going to have to do that. That’s the …
Danny Brown: [crosstalk 00:00:17]
Sam Fiorella: I think that’s the perfect … like the bell that starts this thing.
I like that.
Alright guys, we are on with our first episode of Marketing On Tap. So, today is a complete experiment. Danny Brown, here, and myself, Sam Fiorella from Sensei Marketing. Are trying this at Great Lakes Brewery. It’s a new-found local craft brewery for me. Danny’s been a fan for a very long time.
I didn’t know about it so, as much as I love your beer, you’ve got like the worst marketing out front, so … I drove by it all the time. I had no clue that it was awesome beer in here.
It’s been around for 30 years. I’m going to have him tell you a little bit about that, but I want to introduce what we’re doing today for those of you that are joined us.
Hey Nick, welcome back. Thanks, brother. Robert, I will pour one for you, but I’m going to drink it. Sorry.
So what we’re doing here today with this experiment is running a live webinar that we’re going to eventually going to turn into a podcast. So, we decided we could do this … A lot of people do it and have very formal presentation and have the fancy cameras and big microphones that stand in front of your face, and the whole bit. But, that’s just not the way we like to do it.
We thought it would be a little more intimate if Danny and I do A. What we love to do, which is just get together, shoot the shit, and drink beer.
(frozen screen)[inaudible 00:01:48]
… Traveled around, stopping at craft breweries and featuring some of the brews that we love, but then also talking about marketing. That’s the name, Marketing On Tap.
So today, we’re going to be talking about the most buzzed about story of the last week. That is, the UK blogger who was famously rejected from a hotel or at least her offer for free nights stay in exchange for positive reviews. Before we do that, I want to talk about the beer that we’re drinking.
One of the things that I love about this craft brew … We’re only going to take a few minutes on this, but … for you Americans, we’re going to talk about some real good beer, alright? Because there is a difference.
I was about to say … One of the things I love about it is as much as the marketing out front sucks, sorry. Their beer marketing is actually kind of cool. When you take a look at the can, right now I’m trying the Over My Dad Body Pilsner, which is great which I just poured and we’re going to have.
Danny, what are you trying?
Danny Brown: I got the Canuck Pale Ale. I’m just away in the corner here, my usual status. So yeah, the Great Lakes Canuck Pale Ale, which is an American-style pale ale, but brewed better because it’s Canadian.
So, I just … you know … [crosstalk 00:03:06]. This is a really nice … a gentle beer. I’m an IPA guy, this is a pale ale without the [inaudible 00:03:15]. It’s a really nice, gentle beer great for [inaudible 00:03:18] Summer. Easier drinking as opposed to hoppier IPA.
Sam Fiorella: Yeah, I’m not a big hop person. That’s one of the reason I’m … He’s a big IPA fan, I’m not. Alright guys, so cheers.
Danny Brown: Toasts. We have to try it.
Sam Fiorella: Let’s …
Salut. I like that. So, this is Troy. Troy is the marketing manager here at Great Lakes. One of the reasons we chose this place for our first attempt to see if we’re going to be able to stay sober enough to actually have an intelligent conversation as we go along is #1 because it is local to where we live. It’s great Canadian beer, but also, this is their 30th anniversary. Best kept secret in Toronto.
Why don’t you tell us a little bit about the brewery in a few minutes.
Troy: Thank you, guys. Before we get into the brewery, the marketing side on our South-facing wall, the city of Toronto actually made us take some banners down. So, the one thing that we get all the time is, I didn’t realize how easy it was to get to your place. We drive by all the time and we see you guys. I always want to stop in. And, they just … They don’t.
When they get here, they’re repeat customers. The one sign that we have left on the south-facing wall does work. It just takes a little bit longer for people to get off the highway and get over here.
Second thing is, you mentioned some American fans tuning in. We are the Canadian Great Lakes. We are the original Great Lakes. We were incorporated on February 12th, 1987. This is our 31st year. We just finished celebrating the big 30, and we threw tons of events all across the province.
We did a lot of tap takeovers. We came in with 105 different beers in 2017. We bought ourselves a brand new seven-barrel copper brewing system just for experimentation and what we like to call shits and giggles.
It was tons of fun. We’re a locally owned [inaudible 00:05:26] Peter [Bulut 00:05:26], president of the company and our whole ethos here is fresh GLBs. Everything’s about how fresh this beer is. We put packaged on dates as opposed to best before dates so people know exactly how fresh our beer is from the bottom of the can.
[inaudible 00:05:45] Ontario, so our beer stays in the province of Ontario. We have one store inside of the province and that is a private store in Halifax. We have a guarantee from them that when we ship beer to them, [they’re 00:05:58] going to have it on the shelves within three weeks.
We are firmly committed to producing amazing craft beer with fun and colorful illustrations, and just a fun story. So, in terms of marketing, how do we market ourselves? It’s a little bit of seriousness with a whole lot of fun.
Sam Fiorella: Yeah. And you can really see that again with the … Can you show me the other can?
Danny Brown: Show them the other … yeah.
Sam Fiorella: And, by the way, when he says Great Canuck, that’s Scottish for Canuck. Even Canadians can’t get it right. But, this is the Great Canadian, or the Canuck Pale Ale that we have.
Just to give you a sense, probably one of my favorite beers here is the Harry Porter, which is fantastic. It’s got a an old-
Troy: Please don’t sue us.
Sam Fiorella: It’s a great wizard on it, but it actually is a fantastic porter. Anyway, we want to talk about marketing. Not just their marketing, but we will maybe get to asking if, based on this story, can we ask for 50 cases of beer in exchange for some positive reviews and see if that works. If this story holds true.
So, why don’t we get into it. Want to introduce this story first before we go too much further because I think it’s important that you guys sort of understand what it is that we’re trying to share.
I wanted to pull up the screen here, and I’m not sure if it will allow me to do it or not, but right now, it’s … The story is a 22-year-old vlogger. Her name is Elle, and she has some … almost 200,000 followers on multiple channels when you aggregate all of them on YouTube. She’s quite big. She has a very large social media following on Instagram.
So, she makes a living, self-proclaimed, makes a living promoting brands. She’s a social media [inaudible 00:07:55] which … And so, one of [inaudible 00:07:58] tries … were possible, she says gets a discount or free items in exchange for mentions on her brand, on one of her brand channels.
Of course, her brand channel is followed by a lot of people, by a lot of young people and I’m using that word young purposefully because this is going to come back in a minute. One of the things we discovered when we’re looking at her is that her audience is, in fact, very young.
I’m going to pull up just a sample here on screen just so that you can see sort of what we’re seeing.
Danny Brown: Is that [inaudible 00:08:40]?
Sam Fiorella: Not yet. There we go.
So, you should be seeing this up on the screen right now. One of the things that she has … This is her channels right here. Let me grab it. There we go.
I’m going to move over just a little bit here while I point this out, like right here. Can you guys see it?
Anyway, so what this is here are her channels. You can see her volume that she has. What she tried to do is leverage that volume, which is a social media influencer thing. Now, what happened of course is she sent an email to the owner of the White Bay and hotel asking for five nights free for her and her boyfriend in exchange for mentions across her social sites.
Of course, what happened here, you can see it’s been redacted. He posted what she asked for, then famously, he went back and said, on social media, “Guys …” Again, I’m quoting here, I’m not making any of this stuff up as you can see on screen.
Basically, the end story was if I let you stay here in return for a feature in your video, who’s going to pay the staff that looks after you? Who is going to pay the housekeepers?
She then went online and posted an even more epic reply and that epic reply, basically, was “Hey guys, I’ve been exposed.” The point she was trying to make in this reply where she kind of broke down was … “Well, you know what, I was picked on. All I was doing was asking for a business transaction, and guys, don’t be mean with me.” Because [inaudible 00:10:27] there was a lot of backlash.
Well, it went back and forth, back and forth. There was a big fall out. He then went back on the … Because of the fall out, he went to Facebook and said, “Guys, all bloggers are now banned.” Now, there’s a commission being set up in the UK, or I think in Ireland, specifically, as you can see here that he posted on his social channels that says the blogger industry is dead. There is a commission that is going on right now to investigate this whole influencer social media world and business.
He went so far …
Danny Brown: Sorry, that thing keeps freezing. Is that the small one versus the big one?
Sam Fiorella: No, I can’t.
Danny Brown: Okay.
Sam Fiorella: Anyway, he then … A media [inaudible 00:11:10] company out in the UK tallied up the earned media that this blogger received because he went online and publicly shared the story, and I think they added earned media value 4.3, 4.5 million pounds or something like that. Or sterling … I [inaudible 00:11:28] the sterling …
Troy: It’s euros. It was in Ireland, yeah.
Sam Fiorella: It was euros, excuse me.
So anyway, so he’s sending her a bill for the amount of publicity. This guy is no stranger to this. He’s done this many time. This is what he does. He’s the Soup Nazi of the hotel world. Here is a post that he has put up recently where’s got … Here’s the spices that I use and tears of bloggers is one of the spices that he put out there.
He even did a contest, a Crowdsource contest, to leverage this. As you can see here, he’s now selling t-shirts based on that contest that says you know, “I asked for …” One of them says, “I’ve asked for free hotel nights stay and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.”
So, wrapping [inaudible 00:12:13] up, I want to end up [inaudible 00:12:16]. I want to focus … Before I get rid of these screens, I want to focus on [inaudible 00:12:25]
… What he said was [inaudible 00:12:30] followers that have the right, because of those followers as he wrote here, to ask for anything for free. It doesn’t make me better than anyone else. Why do you do this? Finally, he said, “In future, I advise you to offer to pay your way like everyone else. If the hotel in question believes your coverage will help them, maybe they’ll give you a complementary upgrade to a suite. This would show more self respect for you.
So that leads us to our topic today. Is influence claimed or is it earned? That is what I think we want to talk about.
Now, I want to open this up. What is it? Is it claimed? Is it earned? Is this a BS industry? What can we learn from it? Danny, what are your thoughts?
Danny Brown: Yeah, I think it’s both claimed and earned. Everybody’s got different levels of influence especially when it comes to youths [inaudible 00:13:22] years and years about social influence. In social influence there’s … I think when you have a certain audience, that gives you a certain [crete 00:13:35] I guess for reach and awareness of yourself as influencer.
But, it also doesn’t mean that you’re right and you can help an industry. For instance, the White Horse, is very [chummy cheak 00:13:48] you mentioned earlier where the guy doesn’t care about healthy eating. Everything is big, Irish food … You know, big meat, big potatoes, big stews, and he’s got a tiny little section on the menu for …
I’m going to swear here, so I apologize, For Healthy Tricks. That’s his actual category. It’s three tiny little meals. So, he’s, very much, the wrong audience to start with for Elle because she’s a famous influencer. Her channel is all about fitness tips and fitness gear and fitness … and lifestyle. She’s totally wrong. But …
Sam Fiorella: But, what she in the wrong, Danny?
There’s been a lot of commentary that has supported Elle and a lot of commentary that supported him. On the one side, people are saying she’s a spoiled brat. She’s an entitled, privileged millennial that she just expects everything for free because she posts pictures of herself online and has a following.
The other side, people are saying, “Well, you know what? Yeah, maybe she is, maybe she isn’t, but that doesn’t give you, as a hotelier, the right to call her out on social media. You could have just said no and just left it at that.”
So, did she do the right thing in asking? And, did he do the right thing in the way he responded? What do you think?
Danny Brown: I think, by all means, she … There’s no harm in asking, but I think when you go to a hotel or any business and say, “The work I did last year for Universal Orlando is working out amazing for them.” You’re thinking then
[inaudible 00:15:17] one person could have such an impact on a billion dollar industry by posting pictures on Instagram and posting videos on YouTube etc. So, by all means, I … approach, [inaudible 00:15:31] the outreach …
Was he right in responding? See, initially, I was 100% behind the hotelier. I’m probably still 70% on his side because his initial response, he blacked out her details, but because of her reach, people identified who she was.
So, that kind of bounces back that, you know, she was using her reach to get five free nights and then complains about the fact that her reach actually identified who she was.
He never identified her. Never identified her so I think that’s an issue there.
Sam Fiorella: It opens up a can of worms though, I think … One of the reasons I love this story is because it’s yet another layer peeled off this onion that is called influence marketing in this world, right? The idea is anybody who has a social audience, anybody who is built up, whether it’s a fake audience or a real audience, if you’ve got enough people following you, it’s not a matter necessarily of feeling entitled, which sadly there are bloggers out there and vloggers and influencers that feel entitled because of that adience, but it’s really more there’s a desire by brands, and I’m going to pick on you here for a second, Troy … There’s a desire by brands to leverage that.
Is it them that are demanding it? Or, are they created because A. People are watching, and B. Brands are actually giving them free stuff.
Elle even mentioned in her letter to Paul at the White Moose, that she got free stay at Universal Orlando. And her words, they did very well as a result of the positive mentions that she had on her social channel for that.
I don’t know. I’m going to ask you. You’re Brand Manager. Is that something that you think you need? Is that something you think works for you as a brand?
Troy: From a Great Lakes perspective, no. We don’t use influence in marketing. We don’t send samples. We don’t do junkets. We don’t do anything like that that brings in the influence or business I guess if you will.
So, what we do instead … We’re more grassroots. Because we’re small and because we’re Ontario we focus on the people who are really passionate about beer. We’ll look at Instagram and we’ll take a whole bunch of beer … They could be considered influences, but they’re not in it for influencing. They’re in it for the love of beer.
Every now and then, we’ll send them a care package. That includes a glass so that when they do take pictures of Great Lakes, they have their appropriate glass to pour their beer into.
That’s the extent of our influence for marketing reach, pretty frugal.
In this case, with Elle and the hotel, I think … Almost have that conspiracy theory that … Are we sure they didn’t work on this together?
Danny Brown: [crosstalk 00:18:27]
Troy: Her reach went up. His reach went up. Everybody is benefiting from this. She’s got some hate mail and she’s got some [inaudible 00:18:33], but her reach has gone up. I checked into this story as well, and I looked at it and go … It’s smart on both of their parts.
If I was a 22-year-old now, I’m 35 now, but if I was 22 in this age, influencer as a job … It’s pretty good. It’s pretty nice. I was a blogger many years of craft beer, and I got sent countless … I didn’t need to buy any sweaters or any t-shirts, hats, beer … I was always comped everything.
If I went to a bar or restaurant, the brewery would pay for my food. So, I see the enticement is from a influencer. The more you’re going to get, the more you’re going to ask for.
Sam Fiorella: Right.
Troy: So, I can see her point. I can see the hotel’s point. But, from a Great Lakes perspective, we steer clear of that and let the beer speak for itself and the fun illustrations-
Sam Fiorella: I think that’s a really good point, though. And maybe this is what we can sort of pivot on. I want to get to some of the comments and questions that are happening in the stream, so keep that coming in.
If any of you guys want to get involved on screen, down at the bottom, I should be the bottom right of your screen, there’s a request to join. If you want to come on camera with us, just have head sets on.
Hit that … We’ll see the notice and we can bring you up on screen and you can join the conversation with us.
I wanted to pivot a little bit, though, and talk about does it work? You know, this is something that you and I have been talking about for seven years.
Does influence marketing work or not? Troy just mentioned, they both win because she got more followers. She got more diehard followers. The people that loved her love her even more now. People that don’t know her now know her, and quite frankly, I have never heard of the White Moose before.
Because I loved what he did so much because I’m a bit of a shit disturber myself, if I get myself to Ireland, I’m going to go. And, I’ll stay there, and I’ll pay the money. I’m not going to ask for anything for free, Paul, but if you want to send it to me, I’ll take it.
But, yeah, I’ll go. So maybe it is worthwhile, but is this the right way to go about it?
Danny Brown: It’s amazing. It’s all about, and Jill mentioned in the comment stream, there, about … it’s another media channel and you have to know who you’re going after from an audience point of view.
So, it makes sense if Elle was a fitness lifestyle blogger, vlogger, Instagram work, it makes sense for her to go with perhaps another place in Ireland that celebrates a more vegan-lead, a lot of healthier lifestyle versus stay The White Horse.
She would’ve got a better response, they both would have … I know they both profited from a reach point of view, but I mean a smaller hotel would have profited from her reviews. That also brings back to the point of the original email to Paul.
She was going to give a positive review for five nights. What happens if the food was crappy? Because she doesn’t eat unhealthy food. She’s still going to post positively because she has to, she has a contract essentially for five nights, free accomodation.
So, yes, it does work. We work for influencers. We [inaudible 00:21:30] and [inaudible 00:21:33] mark in for [movies 00:21:35] etc. So, we know it works when done properly, but I think you have to be aware of something like this where, well, if you’re going to do influence marketing, make sure it’s not just to get [inaudible 00:21:46]. It’s not just to get positive reviews.
It’s to actually, from a business point of view, help you become a better business by listening to these guys that do have a lot of reach, that can give some great research and feedback from their audience to help their business improve.
Sam Fiorella: See, and I think … That’s why I said it earlier. This is pulling back the onions on the BS part of this industry, and there is a lot of BS in this industry, unfortunately.
The problem that I see here, she asked for five free nights, but if you take a look at the letter that she sent, and I know I have some of my students, I teach influence marketing at Seneca College, the textbook that we use is actually a book that Danny and I wrote. I know I have some of my post grad students online.
One of the things that we’re learning here is how to write a letter to ask … If you’re going to try and assert your influence and pretend that you’re influential or convince somebody that you are, in fact, influential, the first thing you do is talk about who they are. Don’t talk about yourself.
The first thing she does is, “Hi, my name is Elle. I’ve got so many followers. This is what I do.” The second thing you do, after talking about understanding to show that you understand their business, is you talk about their audience and your audience, or their brand and your audience and how there’s an alignment between the two.
She states that she is a blogger and she blogs, predominately, about beauty, fashion, fitness, and travel. Then she’s approaching this higher-end, upscale hotel. WHat’s really interesting, when you read the details of this letter and you look at her [profile 00:23:36] …
… who are vegans. I think one of the comments he made is, “We kill the cows right here on site, so if you’re a vegan, don’t bother showing up.”
That’s the kind of attitude he has, and that’s the brand he’s building. Well, in her videos about the benefits [inaudible 00:23:56] beauty of being a [inaudible 00:23:57]. Clearly, the people that follow her will not eat at this restaurant or will not stay [inaudible 00:24:04] cow being butchered in front of the [inaudible 00:24:07]. Right?
I’m sure that’s figuratively, not literally, but still you can understand the point. Clearly, there’s a mismatch. So, what she was trying to do is, basically, get some free stay. Right?
She’s trying to leverage the popularity that she’s built, and this is what is wrong with influence marketing. It’s what’s wrong with influencers who want to be influencers for the sake of being influencers, and it’s wrong with brands who hire [inaudible 00:24:31], quite frankly, because marketers ruin everything.
Troy: That’s correct
Sam Fiorella: We do right? We ruin absolutely everything, right? So, you’re always trying [inaudible 00:24:42] sell something, and you’re always trying to find a shortcut. So, add [inaudible 00:24:46] to a [inaudible 00:24:47] that promoted lifestyle, then there may have been a little bit of a better match.
I think she just didn’t understand her audience, and while she says she’s a business woman and she was going into it in good faith, well, maybe she was. We’ll give her the benefit of the doubt, but clearly, she doesn’t understand the business that she’s in.
She doesn’t understand media at all. I want to … That’s actually a segue because one of the comments she made in her video, her reply to his reply was that, “I notice that a lot of the haters that came onto my channel after Paul posted that note, they were all 30 years old and older.”
Danny Brown: Sorry, you’re 35 [inaudible 00:25:29].
Troy: Are you 35?
Danny Brown: Not her audience.
Sam Fiorella: Basically, you might get how I feel. I’m 50. But her comment, and she said this two or three times towards the end of her thing. You know what, how do these 30-year-old men and women expect to [inaudible 00:25:46] educate don’t understand anything about this modern economy, this modern social media and influencer economy?
So, I want to hand it over to you guys, but my thought here is that it’s really her and this industry of 20-year-olds who think that because they have 30,000 followers or 100,000 followers that they can leverage that and that’s … They know their business, but clearly she didn’t know her business because she was asking the wrong things to the wrong person, right?
Is it an age thing?
Danny Brown: I think it’s just- [crosstalk 00:26:19] You’re closer to her age than we are.
Troy: I can bring up two things. We receive hundreds of requests a month for [inaudible 00:26:29] doesn’t matter how old you are. Jack and Jill’s [inaudible 00:26:32] saying, “I have this reach [inaudible 00:26:36] want to throw you this [inaudible 00:26:38] 20,000 followers.” For some reason, they feel that’s going to win us over. The … Oh, okay you’ve got that many follower, here you can have a whole bunch of kegs for free. It doesn’t work that way in business.
So, I see the hotel owner’s point of view. I do. I wouldn’t go as far as he did to publicize the emails, but we [inaudible 00:27:06] say no to things like that.
As a 35-year-old, do I think it’s the younger demographic that are doing it? I think yes, they are because they get away with it.
As I mentioned, we do get emails from individuals saying, “I have a following. I’d love to come by your brewery. Can you give me a whole bunch of free beer?” The answer always is no. We say, “No, but we’d love for you to come by, and we’ll give you a private tour and tasting.”
Again, going back to my days as a blogger, who was the Great Canadian Beer Blog, and … Back in the day, there’s only a handful of us doing the beer blogging thing, so breweries at that time were … I don’t want to say desperate, but I’ll say they were thirsty for people like us to give them some media love on this new digital platform that was new at the time.
It worked for me, and it worked for them. And so, everyone won. Nowadays, if you’re getting away with it on big brands like Universal Orlando and they’re doing it, they’re buckling to … She has 98,000 followers on YouTube. To me, if someone asked me with 98,000 followers I would scratch the beard and go, well, maybe we send them a case of beer and see what they say.
Sam Fiorella: But, is it authentic, though? Because one of the things I’m finding now, clearly … The reason why I feel she said she felt exposed, and I think that’s both literal and figurative because … What’s happened here is she’s reinforced what we know about this industry.
And that is, a lot of people that give you positive reviews are giving you a positive review because they’ve received something for free or because they’ve been … Excuse me.
Troy: [inaudible 00:29:02]
Sam Fiorella: They’ve been incentivized to do so in some way. I want to get to Julie’s comment here online. She talks about the legalities of this. But one of the problems here is that too many people do that, this industry of cyber [shells 00:29:16]. Everybody knows that the influence that is being peddled and the recommendations that are being peddled online right now, for the most part, are fake.
That’s a problem because it kills the authenticity for those people who actually, genuinely, want to advocate for a brand, right?
One of the comments Julie made here is that, “There’s laws in the United States about this sort of thing.” And, it’s growing in popularity. I know in the UK, for example-
Danny Brown: They’re excellent. [inaudible 00:29:48] good at advertising standards.
Sam Fiorella: The advertising standards, that’s right. So, one of the things you have to do in the UK, for example, even on a tweet, if you’re recommending something, you have to disclose that this was an incentivized or this was paid. So, in the case of a free hotel stay, you need to indicate that I was given this hotel stay for free in exchange for product mention.
That at least eliminates the perception that it’s a biased [inaudible 00:30:16]. People know, but when you have so many people doing this, can you actually trust anything that any of these bloggers are saying?
Danny Brown: [inaudible 00:30:25] And moving away from the younger … I don’t want to blame the younger crowd because we work with a lot of great influencers … We’ve worked with younger influencers over the years, and some are very good. Like I said up front.
But there’s an author blogger that you [inaudible 00:30:40] said, “Well, proof of our agents there about trusting stuff like that.” And he … Any affiliate marketing there he discloses it. He’s one of the biggest bloggers.
If you think … If the big guys don’t even care because likes of the FTC aren’t reinforcing this disclosure policy [inaudible 00:30:56] five, six years ago now, why should the newer people, the younger kids that are maybe looking up to the … The ones that have been doing it for years and years, why should I disclose if it’s a paid, I got it for free etc.
[inaudible 00:31:08] says … I do think that disclosure needs to be enforced and not just with a hey, you got to put an ad in front of [crosstalk 00:31:18]
You have to start fining people, and normal people. I say normal because now they’re just really going after the brands that work with the bloggers. Go after the bloggers that are ignoring the [00:31:25].
Sam Fiorella: I think that’s one of the … For marketers out there like us … You know, Danny and I, we work together at Sensei Marketing and one of the things we do is influence marketing campaigns for clients. While it seems like we’re crapping all over the industry, well, we are and we have been for a lot of years, but there is a way to do it right.
We want to talk a little bit about that in the next segment. We also want to focus on who is doing it right. I think that’s one of the things … We don’t have time to get into it this webisode because we’re trying to keep it pretty short and tight, so maybe in a future one we’ll actually start to highlight those that are doing it really well because there is a way to do it well.
But, it starts with authenticity, and it starts with us marketers and brands like Great Lakes, here. Not bowing into the demands of bloggers or YouTubers that have large followings and just say, “Hey, I got a lot of people following me. I don’t know if they’re your customers or not, but give me something for free.”
If we continue to support this industry as marketers and as brands, we’re going to continue to perpetuate this problem so that those that are truly influencers are real advocates are not going to … Are not going to be believed.
We are contributing to this. I think it’s a catch-22 that we brand and space ourselves in. There’s a lot of comments going on here. I’m not going to be able to get to all of them. Excuse me for that, but we will respond to all of you.
This is going to be recorded. We’re going to start making some feature blog posts based on these so all of your comments are going to be included into our blog. We’re going to be able to then share a lot of this and respond to those answers with you.
Thanks everybody that’s been on. I want to switch gears a little bit. First of all, I want to promote drinking responsibility. So, yeah, Danny and I are here and it is 12:00 noon, 12:30 noon Eastern Standard Time. He’s been drinking since 8:00 this morning.
We just started at noon, but we’re not driving. If you are going to be doing anything like this, and you are drinking during the day like we are today, do not drive. Drink responsibly.
The second thing is, I just want to switch to our last segment here as we wrap this up and that is, our last call. Speaking of last call, we have another beer that we need to sample, here.
Full disclosure, Great Lakes offered this to us at no cost to us. So, we are not paying for this.
Troy: Who said that? You guys haven’t left yet.
Sam Fiorella: Oh, crap. I haven’t opened it yet. I’m just going to leave that right here then. No, seriously. I’ll pay for it.
We want to highlight this one here. This is one of my favorite all-time beers. It’s new, so it’s hard to say this one of my favorite … It’s one of my favorite new beers for a couple of reasons.
It’s a Russian imperial stout. Not only is it a Russian imperial stout which is already right up there with my favorites, it’s aged in bourbon barrels. Guys … Stout. Bourbon. For those that know me, you know how excited this thing gets me.
We’re going to crack this baby open, we’re going to pour …
Troy: [inaudible 00:34:37] Got the wrong one.
Sam Fiorella: Oh, I got the wrong one. Sorry. While we do that, we want to talk about our last call. Our last call, typically, in these webisodes is going to be what are the three things that we want to leave you with. What are the three takeaways that we want brands and or influences who are watching us to take away.
So, while we pour, Danny, why don’t you start.
Danny Brown: Yeah, sure. Clearly, Elle has a reach and she’s done well for herself from the [inaudible 00:35:05] from her blog and her Instagram. But, I don’t think she did research for this particular one, which was … online she saw that the hotel looked gorgeous and reached out to ask for five free nights.
I think A. Know if it’s a fit for you and maybe temper your expectations of one free night or ask for an upgrade for a suite or something. From businesses, by all means, respond [00:35:29] and say, [inaudible 00:35:32] appropriately for [inaudible 00:35:34] get you a lot more traction. Trying to promote you to get something in return.
It’s the fans that come in every day, buy your stuff, but your stuff for the local retailer, etc. They will actually help your business grow. I think my other takeaway would be this is going to continue to happen until the relevant FTC, the [ASA 00:36:19], the Commissioner in Canada, the [inaudible 00:36:03] Commission of Canada that handles stuff like this … Until they start locking down and actually fining bloggers or vloggers that are actually breaking all these mandates, or whatever, nothing is going to change.
There has to be some kickback on the industry from the actual legislators at the top.
Sam Fiorella: Yeah, I agree. We have a comment here that I have to call out, sorry. Ray, I think out in Montreal. Ray, I love you, but saying that I am a 60-year-old digital marketer and then using the word newfangled social media does nothing to help those of us in this side of the age category advance our cause here. Stop using newfangled, but your point is really well-made.
He says, “I do know that self proclaimed influencers deserve as must trust as self-proclaimed gurus.” That is very true. That is very true. Anyone who calls themselves a social media guru probably isn’t. That’s why they call themselves that.
We got another comment here from my man, Nick Saint, from One Love Long. He says this beer looks pretty tasty and you know what? It is.
Look at the color of this thing. Cheers again.
Troy: Cheers. Thanks for coming to Great Lakes.
Danny Brown: Cheers.
Sam Fiorella: [crosstalk 00:37:13]
Oh. It’s an imperial stout. You taste the chocolate almost right away, and then almost a little bit of a coffee-
Danny Brown: The coffee comes through.
Sam Fiorella: The coffee comes through right after.
Danny Brown: The bourbon is not too overpowering, which sometimes imperial stouts are barrel-ish.
Sam Fiorella: That’s right.
Danny Brown: This is smooth.
Sam Fiorella: Yeah, I know. That was one of my concerns. As much … If this was all bourbon here, I would have been quite happy with that as well. But, when it’s too high-powerful in a beer, it kind of kills the flavor, but the perfect balance here.
Troy: Molasses, fig, there’s so much [crosstalk 00:37:45]
Sam Fiorella: Oh, yeah. The fig. That fig comes in.
Troy: Vanilla. There’s so much going on in this beer.
Sam Fiorella: Very complex. I love this. I want to leave you with my three takeaways as well. And, I actually had to take down notes because I figured by this point I might actually need notes.
Cheers, Robert. This is the one I poured for you that I’m drinking on your behalf. You’re welcome.
Don’t hire social celebrities. That’s my first takeaway. If you’re a brand, the risk is very high. If you’re going to do it, make sure that you’re not just doing it in such a way that you’re just having them promote something. Develop some kind of accurate campaign or some kind of an interactive campaign that engages that audience and not just has them talking about you.
Leverage them. A lot of time if it’s a social influencer, somebody who’s very cleaver, very witty, what I recommend to brands is hire them. Hire them to write for you. Hire them to create a marketing campaign for you. Hire them to come up with a really crazy, witty cover for you like this Over My Dad Body Pilsner. Right?
If they’re that good at driving an audience, use them but use them for you as opposed to helping them grow their channel.
The second takeaway for me in our last call is for brands, and that is build advocacy. Instead of looking for quick hits, look to build advocates who truly love you brand like Danny and I love Great Lakes as an example, which is one of the reasons why we came here in the first place. This is a perfect example.
They never reached out to us. In fact, dammit, we never got anything for free. But, you know, Danny found this place, he introduced me to it because he loved it.
When we said we were going to start going out to craft breweries to start these shows, this was the first place we thought of because of how much I love, in particular, Harry Porter and this imperial stout.
So, build those advocates by having a great product and building the environment where people can engage around your brand. That advocacy will go much further that any social media influencer.
The third takeaway that I want to give you guys is actually for influencers out there that are watching. We’ve got a number of people on, some of you are either aspiring influencers or are influencers. And, to you I’m going to say this, while it may be a longer journey, you’re not going to make your 15 minutes of fame or get your 15 minutes of fame right away, what you will do is … By developing an expertise in some industry, an authentic expertise, that is where you will build your influence.
Instead of having to go and ask for freebies, they will come to you. People will come to you and say, “Hey, I want you to come work with me.” Danny and I are working on a couple of campaigns right now with clients, and we’ve gone out to the audience. One of the things that we’ve done, one of our most recent campaigns is we’ve gone out to 30 people within an industry, only maybe a third of them are actual social media celebrities to use the term loosely.
The rest are people that have absolutely no social media profile whatsoever. But we engage them anyway because of their expertise and their perspective in the audience. Then it’s up to us as brand marketers to leverage that expertise and get it out to the community.
It’s going to take a little bit longer for you if that’s what you’re trying to do as an influencer. But trust me, you’re going to have a longer career out of that. Remember one of the first influencers out there, Paris Hilton? Remember her?
Celebrity for the sake of being a celebrity. Who talks about Paris Hilton anymore?
Danny Brown: You.
Sam Fiorella: Well, I’m doing that right now, but other than that …
Danny Brown: You used her as an example.
Sam Fiorella: You know what, one of the tests of this trial was if I could stand to be next to you drinking beer for this long.
Danny Brown: You’re at 40 minutes so that’s [crosstalk 00:41:42].
Sam Fiorella: Jesus. Anyway, I’m not sure. The jury is still out on whether I can do it or not. But the point I’m trying to make here is while it takes longer, that expertise will get you a lot further and make you a lot more money.
So anyway, thanks everybody for participating in this first test, this first trial that we’ve done very low tech, podcast that we’re recording and producing live. Really appreciate all of you for dropping in, for making the comments. Join us, we’re going to do this every month [provided 00:42:14] …