Introducing NFLUENCE – A new approach to influencers

1024 683 Victoria Freeman
Photo courtesy of Rachel Simpson

Photo courtesy of Rachel Simpson

By Emily Getz and Rebecca Feigelsohn

At North, we take a unique approach to influencers, one that is unlike any other agency in Canada.

By now, anyone with even a passing interest in marketing and communications knows that the landscape has been radically altered by the rise of social media influencers — individuals who have an engaged social media following and/or notable personalities that help to impact purchase decisions — and that consumers are now looking to their peers to discover what is new and innovative.

In fact, research shows that 92% of consumers turn to people they know for referrals above any other source (Nielsen). But what might be less obvious is that the state of influencer marketing is rapidly changing, with an increased focus on data and analytics as well as the opportunity for influencers to drive conversion and map back to business objectives.

Now, more than ever, we work with our clients to identify the right people that will influence a brand’s target audience to transform them into brand loyalists. New players are entering the marketing mix and are impacting the Consumer Decision Journey (CDJ), delivering eleven times higher ROI than traditional marketing (TapInfluence & Nielsen Catalina Solutions).

So what exactly is so different about the way North thinks about influencers?

NFLUENCE is our dedicated division of specialists dedicated to designing customizable campaigns that marry the best social media branded content and influencer marketing with a comprehensive strategy that connects with the CDJ.

Our goal is simple: Work with influencers to develop thumb-stopping social content that captivates, garners high engagement and views, and then re-target those interactions with more product-specific messaging to draw consumers deeper into the CDJ funnel in order to drive sales, sign ups, and deliver business results. It’s why brands like Samsung Canada, BMW, Air Miles, Tim Hortons, Cadillac Fairview, Purina Canada, and American Express turn to North to create their custom influencer programs.

So, how do we do it?

Categorize and Strategically Select Influencers

We don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach to building influencer campaigns or identifying the right influencers that fit a brand’s needs. To make sure we’re presenting the right partners, we get aligned on the profile of the influencer we are looking to engage and make sure they are speaking the same language as our clients.  We also categorize our influencers into different buckets depending on the size of their channels, their engagement rate and their creative flexibility.

So when you’re building your next influencer campaign, be sure to identify the right kind of influencer. Is it someone with broad reach and lower engagement, or niche reach with a higher engagement? Are they a celebrity or a brand advocate? These questions are important because they will help map back to real world business objectives.

By working together, our teams get aligned on the right influencer profile through our categorization process. Next, we conduct extensive research using a variety of proprietary tools to find the actual influencers for the job, most importantly, taking a deep dive into the influencer’s audience demographic, engagement rates and channel profile to ensure it’s a fit.

My team when I’m not on the ice🏒 Kicking off the summer right @AmericanExpress Canada #AmexLife #Ad

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Determine metrics that matter measured against business objectives

At the onset of every program, our NFLUENCE team identifies which metrics matter most to the business. These metrics change on a case-by-case basis, but identifying these metrics at the beginning of a campaign is key to ensuring that we have the right KPIs to map back to and we are selecting influencers who will deliver based on agreed upon objectives

When you’re determining which metrics matter for your campaign, be sure to keep in mind these key factors: awareness & audience, engagement, conversion, and media value.

Consider the CDJ

We’ve written about the evolution of the CDJ and the impact that social media is now playing in the purchase decisions of consumers. When creating our influencer programs, we ensure that they integrate the digital distribution model by identifying opportunities where influencers can help trigger purchasing intent and conversion. Think about the path your consumers take to make their purchase decisions and where influencers can play a role.

Focus on analytics and reporting

There is no one-size fits all tool for managing social media programs as platform partners continue to shapeshift with the changing needs of the industry. We work with brands to create a proprietary customized reporting system that feeds into their internal measurement protocols and maps back to their specific KPIs.

When planning your influencer programs, make sure you’re asking the right questions about what is measurable and how it’s being reported.

Disrupt the payment model

Ever wonder how influencer rates are determined? We’ve developed a proprietary pricing model based on industry-wide CPM benchmarks that determines the value of influencer content based on audience size and engagement rate, ensuring smoother contract negotiations and fair pricing.

At North, our NFLUENCE team is passionate about the power of social media influencers to impact customer decision making and positively shape real-world business objectives.