Influencer marketing on Instagram alone is set to surpass $2. 3 billion dollars by 2019. Large and small brands alike are continually developing strategies to draw customers in through influencer marketing efforts. Diageo brand, Johnnie Walker, has been using more than 1,000 social media influencers in global influencer marketing campaigns since 2016 to help tell the brand’s story and demonstrate brand promise through activism and progressive marketing.
The progressive brand’s ongoing “Keep Walking America” campaign pushes celebration for cultural progression and diversity, while recently spotlighting women’s equality with the limited launch of the Jane Walker label. According to Nielsen Spectra, 29% of scotch buyers are women, and women account for 24% of scotch sales. Although Johnnie Walker marketing approached gendered packaging with the knowledge of potentially sparking controversy, the 50% female-represented company has persisted in its campaign efforts against gender inequality by partnering with more than 100 female micro-influencers on Instagram.
This campaign comes as no surprise, as influencer marketing has quickly become one of the brand’s flagship marketing strategies. As the world’s number-one selling Scotch whisky brand, Johnnie Walker actively seeks influencer partnerships to help support a variety of social and political initiatives on a national and global level. Earlier this year, the brand worked with many influencers, including celebrity activist and influencer, Wilmer Valderrama, to share compelling stories of optimism, celebration, and passion for advocacy.
This decision for Johnnie Walker marketing to invest more heavily in micro-influencers as opposed to macro-influencers subtly shifts the voice and positions their upscale alcohol brand as a playmaker in everyday celebrations. Despite the popularity of micro-influencer campaigns steadily increasing since 2017 paired with the higher adoption rate of influencer marketing as a whole they have also had many controversies–-including the stigma that social media accounts with smaller followings can more easily deceive brands with fake followers.
After evaluating the pros and cons of micro-influencer campaigns, brands may discover access to tightly niched audiences as an ultimate success driver. Here we examine just three of the hundreds of micro-influencers Johnnie Walker is partnering with for its #KeepWalkingAmerica campaign.
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The stylish Scotch whisky brand’s micro-influencer campaign strategy involves long-term relationships with popular micro-influencers, with each sharing more than five sponsored posts over the span of a few months.
Johnnie Walker generated more favorable results with micro-influencers who had followings in the range of 10,000-100,000 compared to those with 5,000-10,000 followers. On average, smaller influencers had lower performing posts with far lower engagement rates. The issue of fake influencers continues to be one of the biggest risks brands face when considering micro-influencers as a part of their influencer strategy. This setback demonstrates the experimental nature of working with less-established influencers, and from this, the iconic alcohol company can determine which niche influencers are good fits to represent their brand. Here is a look at three micro-influencers from the Johnnie Walker marketing campaign.
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It’s always nice to have a signature cocktail when you throw a party. I plan to serve this blackberry and jalapeño drink with @johnniewalkerus Black label whisky! It’s sweet with a little kick! #ad #JohnnieWalker #KeepWalkingAmerica http://liketk.it/2uMQJ @liketoknow.it #liketkit #startedwithascreenshot #nycblogger #stylecollective #myunicornlife #inspocafe #fashion #fashiongrammer #style #instafashion #instapic #instalike #picoftheday #pictureoftheday #photooftheday #spring #springfashion #thatslovely #neutralischic
Life and style blogger Kristen Lawler produced eight high-quality sponsored posts showcasing the versatility of Johnnie Walker’s Black Label in adding creative twists to her favorite mixed drinks. She included the hashtags #JohnnieWalker, #KeepWalkingAmerica, and #ad in her created content. The Glamorous Girl generated 787 comments through her series of posts and encouraged her mostly female audience to try her Johnnie Walker drink recipes to impress and entertain party guests.
As a California-based food blogger, micro-influencer Hee Jin impresses her 43,500 followers with her aesthetically pleasing and flavorful feed. In the series of eight posts she created for Johnnie Walker’s Red Label, Hee Jin provided her followers with food pairing ideas and notably engaged with her followers in the comments section. Her involvement in the campaign generated 11,585 likes with an average engagement rate of 3.52%. The micro-influencer also demonstrates organic sponsorship transparency by incorporating the hashtag #sponsored in the beginning of each caption.
Appealing to 49,600 Instagram followers, lifestyle blogger and micro-influencer, Ijeoma Kola, documents her travels by sharing polished shots and sparking honest conversations with her followers. Using the hashtags #JohnnieWalker, #JohnnieWalkerAmbasador, and #KeepWalkingAmerica, she created a series of eight photos promoting Johnnie Walker Red label. Her captions for the campaign range from lively to casual with a clear call-to-action to be a “whisky girl” and trade wine for whisky when it comes to sharing a drink with friends and family. In another post, she captures the attention of her female followers by spicing up date night with a peppery Johnnie Walker cocktail. Her sponsored lifestyle content maintained a 4.40% engagement rate throughout the campaign.