Brands looking to get their messages out into the world are increasingly turning to influencer marketing as a means to reach their target audiences. However, in an ever-crowding space, with consumers placing a premium on authenticity and transparency, well-planned, crafted, and executed campaigns are more vital than ever.
Hospitality company, Marriott International, and technology enterprise, SanDisk, are no strangers to influencer marketing. Each has worked with influencers over the years in an effort to realize their individual brand and marketing goals.
For Marriott, the hospitality space is filled with competitors that keep active and relevant social media accounts. Looking for fans to replicate the journeys of the social media sensations they follow, charming images and videos of hotel destinations are regular features on popular travel, lifestyle, and other influencer feeds.
SanDisk’s products may not have the visual allure of a sprawling sunset or five-star suite, but their storage solutions offer people in the visual arts the ability to transfer and store the compelling images they record and produce. Looking to engage with various media enthusiasts, SanDisk has used influencer marketing to promote their technology products to today’s digital creatives.
Instagram has become a hub for some of today’s most intriguing imagery. Entering “photography” or “travel” into the platform’s discover tool produces an astounding 306 million and 327 million posts, respectively. Looking to tap into these massive areas of interest, brands have leveraged both travel and photography influencers on the platform to promote their goods and messages.
In some cases, the impact has been profound. Instagrammers have begun to shape the way social media followers travel, while a variety of influencers are popularizing “Instagrammable locations” — aesthetically pleasing places that complement the platform’s format and raise a post’s perceived value.
With industries witnessing Instagram and influencer marketing’s power in real-time, brands have started to increase digital marketing budgets, as well as integrate influencer marketing specialists into their company infrastructure.
Marriott and SanDisk each leveraged the talents of Canadian photography influencer, Brendan van Son (also known as BVS to his followers), for their independent campaigns. Appealing to 89,100 followers on Instagram, van Son documents his travels from around the globe, sharing breathtaking stills across his feed. From Greece, to the Faroe Islands, to Patagonia, to the country of Georgia, van Son impresses his audience with sprawling landscapes, notable monuments, and portraits of everyday life in scenic places.
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I grew up in the space where the prairies started to crinkle into the mountains. Forever, though, I stood with my eyes firmly pressed to the epic peaks in the distant. It’s easy to be draw to the obvious beauty of the Rockies, Andes, and Alps. But the older I get, and the more my photography evolves, the more I’m drawn to the subtle grace of the flatlands. Driving #Route66, I was looking for a barn to photograph. We came across the beautiful homestead. So, we pulled over to photograph it. But, as soon as I stepped out of the car I saw this perfect lone tree standing off in the horizon under and angry afternoon sky. That was the photo. #marriottamericas #bvsroute66
Van Son produced four posts for Marriott along Route 66, utilizing the hashtags #marriottaamericas, #bvsroute66, and #Route66. In his content for the campaign, van Son documented picturesque natural phenomena, as well as iconic Americana, while plugging his stays at Marriott properties.
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I was sat in Joshua Tree National Park shooting a 32 minute exposure. While I waited, I was sat there under the stars editing photos and a vlog off my @sandiskeurope SSD. It dawned on me that would actually make a pretty great photo. So, when the exposure finished, I flipped the camera around to me, and this was the result. #speeduptheflow #joshuatree
Using the hashtags #speeduptheflow, #bvsroute66, and #Route66, van Son promoted SanDisk’s Speed Up the Flow campaign around their line of SanDisk Extreme® Portable Solid State Drives (SSD). Like his posts for Marriott, van Son offers his audience captivating landscapes along the epochal Route 66 roadway.
Van Son’s captions for both campaigns range from casual, to enthusiastic, to poetic, with his Marriott descriptions speaking more to his experiences along the journey, and his SanDisk posts touching upon the usefulness of his storage equipment.
In posts for both campaigns, van Son engaged with his followers in the comment sections, replying with answers to questions and expressing gratitude for his audience’s support.
Combined Total of Both Campaigns
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Crazy news, I’m headed back to the US in a couple days. Just a week after my @marriottintl project on Route 66 ended, I’ve been “called back” for another assignment. This time, I’m headed to Texas. Still, I have a bunch of Route 66, Ireland, and Portugal content still coming. The way things have been moving, I might need to start posting twice a day to keep up! #marriottaamericas #bvsroute66
With 2,625 likes and 29 comments, van Son’s multi-layered image of a hazy hill, rocky valley, and bright yellow and green vegetation inside Joshua Tree National Park offered a closing note to his Route 66 trek and broke news about a new trip to Texas. Enthusiastic followers congratulated van Son and expressed excitement around his forthcoming images and travels.
With an engagement rate of 2.98%, van Son’s Joshua Tree post was the highest performer from his partnership with Marriott along Route 66.
Tallying 3,118 likes and 71 comments, another Joshua Tree snapshot took top-post honors in van Son’s efforts for SanDisk’s Speed Up The Flow campaign. Capturing a striking Joshua Tree framed by red rock boulders against an unearthly night’s sky, van Son’s image exudes both a grounded and ethereal feel. With many followers complimenting the content, van Son replied six times within the image’s comment section.
Van Son’s nighttime Joshua Tree image created an engagement rate of 3.58%, making it the most prominent campaign post amid his Route 66 travels.