How Shopper Marketing Takes the Power of Influencers Beyond the Phone Screen and Into the Store

As influencer marketing becomes one of the most effective ways to engage consumers, its reach and scope continue to expand into even more innovative ways to help brands reach their objectives. One of them is through the recently-launched WHOSAY Shopper, a dedicated services group focused on helping brick-and-mortar stores spark sales through influencer marketing. Shopper also helps brands stand out in-store and online by providing high-quality talent assets and usage rights for displays, media, e-commerce, and events.

WHOSAY CEO Steve Ellis said it best last year: “Physical retail locations are a different beast than the digital world, and the code for helping drive sales in brick-and-mortar locations has yet to be cracked. With upwards of 80% of choices made in-store at the shelf, WHOSAY Shopper helps brands differentiate and appeal to consumers at the time of purchase.”

And that’s precisely what WHOSAY Shopper is doing; providing the Shopper Marketing community with access to the level of talent and production that WHOSAY is known for. As Mike Swart, Head of Shopper Marketing at WHOSAY, said: “Our key differentiator is our ability to connect a custom branded social influence experience with e-commerce and in-store by crossing over to in-store signage, display, demo, celebrity appearances and retailtainment.”

Case in point: our recent work and chat with influencer Jana Kramer. After starring in a Shopper campaign for Burt’s Bees in Bentonville, Arkansas, the former One Tree Hill star shared her personal insights on working with brands both online and offline.   

First things first: selecting talent is both art and science. This is something we’ve mastered at WHOSAY, especially since the inception of WHOSAY Match. This process takes into account both quantitative (Brand Affinity, Fan Reach, Engagement, Budget) and qualitative (Manageability, Professionalism, Creativity, Brand Safety) metrics.

For instance, you don’t want to find yourself in a position where an algorithm surfaces person X, Y, or Z as the ideal match for your campaign only to find out they are a pain to work with, they don’t show up on time, or are not willing to communicate certain messages that are important for your brand. Similarly, someone’s popularity and massive following shouldn’t be the deciding factor when it comes to casting the right talent if the person and her followers don’t have any affinity with the brand.

In the case of Jana, there is a high affinity between the people Burt’s Bees were looking to reach and her audience. Jana also has a high level of responsiveness, meaning that her followers are engaging with the content she posts. Additionally, WHOSAY has worked with Jana before and knows that she delivers and is a joy to work with. Potentially, more important than all of that, is the simple fact that she genuinely likes Burt’s Bees. Working on this felt natural and authentic to her—and it showed accordingly both in the store as well as on her social posts.

Jana Kramer and Team WHOSAY in Bentonville, Arkansas 

Jana Kramer and Team WHOSAY in Bentonville, Arkansas 

Underestimate the power of Talent leveraging their influence in-store at your own peril. As Walmart CMO Tony Rogers told WHOSAY’s Jenna Sereni during last year’s ANA Masters: “What we call ‘retailtainment,’ where we have celebrities in the store or new products to sample, really resonates with people.” Look for authentic fits in the life of the influencer and the results will be even more dramatic.

It is important to take time to learn about the influencers you are considering partnering with. If the brand or service being promoted is perceived to be a natural integration in their life, the community will welcome it and take action. This kind of partnerships allows fans an opportunity to share in the life and experience of their favorite celebrities. The unforgettable in-store experience with the influencer will then become a cherished memory properly documented and shared in their social media feeds.  

Shopper campaigns also help showcase multi-dimensional Talent such as Jana: a mother, actress, country music singer and dancer. She is not a single one of those alone, she is the collection of them all over the years. Her community is a mix of people from all of those parts of her life. Many started with her on One Tree Hill, others came because of country music, and now mothers are gravitating towards her as she shares her life as a mom.

Jana’s overlapping spheres of influence make her particularly influential to the right audience and generally influential to a broad group of people—this opens her up to all sorts of viable opportunities in the online and offline worlds. The best part? She embraces all of those parts of her life with joy and authenticity. As we learned more about her life, we couldn’t help but think about all the potential brand partnerships that could be accomplished from her interaction with the brands she loves on a daily basis. Furthermore, Jana engages with her fans regarding these topics. They look up to her and ask her daily questions on social media, which she kindly responds. Jana also asks her fans for advice. It’s a two-way street and one that she really enjoys.