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Ella & TOMS: The Power of Influencer Marketing

To be loved, to be trusted and to be shared - every brand aspires to these three things, but achieving them has become increasingly difficult, requiring brands to think way beyond a simple product or service exchange. Largely driven by the insurmountable amount of noise created by brands fighting over digital space, and the resulting impatience and mistrust felt by many consumers, brands that ‘indulge’ in self-promotion through advertising have faced increased scepticism. Gone are the days of a brand being solely about its product – to become a lifestyle, a purposeful choice, is what makes truly great brands exactly that.

As a result, over the past few years the demand for new, innovative marketing strategies has risen rapidly. This search for an alternative approach has compelled brands to appreciate the power of influencers, to bring that purpose to life and one step closer to the consumer – illustrated by the fact that the influencer marketing industry has quadrupled in size since 2016.

The Evolution of Influencer Marketing

The days of just picking a social media influencer to work with based on the number of followers and likes, however, is a thing of the past. Now there is a much bigger understanding of the value of each follower, the personality behind the influencer, and the message that they convey.

Authenticity is vital – true trust in and love for the influencer and their values and work will translate to love for and trust of the brand in question. Joint values and a genuine understanding of or shared vision will result in the support for a brand ringing true and purposeful, which subsequently ensures the brand gets the most out of any partnership.

What distinguishes influencer marketing from traditional marketing or the use of traditional celebrity associations is that the former shares a strong rapport with their fan communities. They establish personal connections with and gain the trust of their communities, are seen as experts in their niches, and their recommendations are often highly regarded by those that follow them online. While this comes with its own, often significant responsibility, influencers are also real-life consumers who have in-depth knowledge about certain subjects which gives them leverage and empowers them to motivate their followers to take desired actions.

Influencer Marketing in Practice

At ROOTS. we work with a portfolio of talent that embody these key principles: authenticity, trust, inspiration and motivation. As a result, we are able to talk to relevant brands where we know our community leaders can add value through building and communicating a true partnership.

Ella Grace Denton (@ellagracedenton, 180k+ followers) is a musician and community builder who works to empower women, to promote and openly discuss mental wellbeing and sustainable living. ROOTS. are responsible for managing her partnerships with forward-thinking, brave and sustainable brands creating positive societal change, as well as her business development/relations.

Given Ella’s personality, her passions, and her loyal social media following - and knowing TOMS’ brand purpose and inspiring vision - the foundation for a great partnership was laid with the ‘The Giving Roadtrip’: a roadtrip in an old campervan Ella branded up to travel across Europe on a 3-week-journey that saw her highlight local projects that were born, run, grown and supported by local communities without any governmental or official funding. All communicated through her social media platforms, the beautifully curated roadtrip documentary showing raw reflections of the ups and downs of the journey and connections made, has garnered more than 60,000 views and was praised across a number of independent media outlets.

Ella & TOMS: Stand For Connection

TOMS have always had ambitions to change the world and make a real social impact. Building on their ‘giving model’ first developed in 2006, they founded the Stand For Tomorrow campaign to increase awareness of individuals making a positive impact on local communities and creating change without any support through government funding. Partnering with influential community leaders with purpose, the campaign focused on giving funding to key projects to enable growth and extended reach through engaging content. All community leaders also had a dedicated TOMS product that was part of their campaign and pushed through dedicated photoshoots.

Ella’s own aspirations and enthusiasm to make positive difference made the Ella/TOMS collaboration a perfect match, and Ella’s project Stand For Connection was born. Consisting of real-world activation – Women’s Circles across the UK, each inviting 33 women to be able to connect with each other in a safe space – as well as online video content, the campaign saw Ella share messaging around women’s empowerment, offering valuable tools for women to reconnect to themselves and others and support each other’s mental wellbeing.

The partnership provided great success for TOMS, Ella and several charities, with results including:

· In total, the campaign raised £108,700 for charity through pre-roll, Snapchat and Rich Media advertising

· Ella’s campaign had the highest YouTube Video Completion Rate, and best Return on Ad Spend, as well as a high email open rate of 20.6%

· Total organic social media reach of 250k, and a 199% increase in clicks on TOMS’ website year-on-year

· Ella had the highest unique web views of all Stand for Tomorrow campaigns, with significant interest in her story

· Activation events performed well, with sold out events in London and significant social and press coverage

· Uplift in ecommerce activity around TOMS’ Venice range of shoes linked to Ella

· The Stand For Tomorrow campaign as a whole drove greater sales than other evergreen giving pages, showing the consumer’s interest in storytelling

· Longevity: This partnership only deepened the trust between community, Ella and TOMS, resulting in long-term commitment to follow-up projects built upon these newly made connections since

What’s next?

As brands continue to attempt to be heard above the competition through value-added, purposeful story-telling, influencer marketing, when done right, will continue to have an important place in their digital – as well as their offline – marketing strategies.

If you want more information on purposeful campaigns, community led marketing, or to find out more about our portfolio of influencers and talent, get in touch with us at!

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