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Taylor Lagace

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Building Authentic Relationships With Influencers Ft. Taylor Lagace, Co-Founder And Co-CEO Of Kynship

How can brands enjoy a better ROI with influencer marketing and more authentic content that viewers won’t feel is “just another ad?” Building genuine relationships with influencers through Kynship’s process, seeding is one way. Taylor Lagace, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Kynship, shares Kynship’s seeding process.

Before co-founding Kynship, Taylor Lagace worked at the NFL agency, Athletes First. He oversaw marketing for big NFL stars, including Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, and Clay Matthews. 

After Athletes First, Taylor transitioned into influencer marketing by expanding the influencer department at Common Thread Collective. In 2019, Common Thread Collective seed-funded Kynship helping Taylor to launch the company with Co-Founder and Co-CEO Cody Wittick. 

Taylor shares, “Our whole mission is to create belonging. We exist to create belonging so that each story is celebrated. So the founding, that’s a big piece of it. We’re looking to create belonging with influencers. It’s a very transactional space… We compare it a lot of the time to modern-day prostitution, where you’re just having people post in exchange for a transaction. We’re not about that, as you’ll see in our philosophy and our process and our strategy at large.”

He continues by sharing that Kynship is focused on building genuine relationships with these influencers so that they can create a genuine connection around the brand. 

Building Authentic Relationships With Influencers Ft. Taylor Lagace, Co-Founder And Co-CEO Of Kynship

Authentic relationships lead to authentic content. 

Building Authentic Relationships With Influencers Ft. Taylor Lagace, Co-Founder And Co-CEO Of Kynship

Building Authentic Relationships with Influencers 

Taylor explains, “The foundation of everything that we do is a process that we call seeding. Seeding is the core foundation of every successful influencer marketing program with a brand. With seeding, we’re identifying and reaching out to new influencers every month and beginning those relationships.”

Instead of reaching out with a paid offer or asking for a post for product exchange, the Kynship team begins by reaching out to influencers and sharing that they think the influencer is a great brand fit. Then, they provide an opportunity to try the product with no strings attached. 

Taylor adds, “Leading with the relationship, leading with giving, not asking. That’s where I would say we are very different. What you see ends up happening, we’ve seen this from the numbers, is you end up getting more bang for your buck. At the end of the day, you get a lot more content for way less money. You get people that are becoming genuine advocates of your brand.”

Creating genuine advocates is far more valuable to brands because social media users are increasingly educated and able to pick up on when posts are sponsored. 

He notes, “We’re doing something completely counter-cultural to the typical model within the space starting here and then transitioning them [influencers] into an affiliate program, getting their content into paid media. I think a huge value add that people are leaving on the table is not repurposing all this content into paid social Facebook ads, TikTok ads, and so forth.”

Working with Brands

Kynship specializes in working with clients that are D2C brands. Taylor explains that the typical process looks something like this: 

  • Kynship identifies and reaches out to around 500 influencers per month per brand with a message about receiving a free product, no strings attached. 
  • On average, 100 out of 500 influencers will say “yes” to receiving the product. 
  • Out of those 100, around 30 influencers post about the product of their own free will. These 30 influencers post about the product 2.5 times on average, generating about 75 individual posts about the product in total. 

Taylor adds that Kynship wants to honor the people who posted, and this process acts as a filter to find which of the influencers they reached out to genuinely enjoy the product. 

In short, the entire process looks like this: 

  1. Initiating relationships with influencers
  2. Organic posts going live from those outreaches
  3. Inviting influencers who connected with the product to be brand ambassadors
  4. Repurposing the content into paid social and scaling the brand’s efforts on Facebook Ads. 

Kynship Client Success Stories

Animalhouse Fitness is a unique health and fitness brand offering fitness shoes with clips for holding a dumbbell. These shoes allow you to lift dumbbell weights with your feet or legs instead of your arms. 

Taylor shares, “In four months through seeding and paid social, they [Animalhouse Fitness] went from zero to a million as a startup and became one of Shopify’s fastest growing companies. All they did was seed product influencers then repurpose that content into Facebook ads.” 

Another Kynship case study is with M&M’s. They used the same marketing strategy and had year-to-year growth in Mother’s Day Sales (approximately 56%) and a massive 456% growth in their Father’s Day sales. 

Despite these brands being very different, the Kynship marketing strategy was widely successful for both companies. 

So, which brands do the best with this strategy?

Taylor explains, “Are these products people are proud to post about? So, seeding mom [influencers] organic cereal that’s healthy for their children. Moms are going to scream on the rooftop about them having products that are good for their kids, and they’re super proud about sharing that with their followers. Those types of products do well.”

The health and wellness space is incredibly successful with this strategy for these very reasons. 

Taylor’s Advice for Aspiring Influencers & Brands

While Taylor advises influencers to be vigilant about not being exploited, he also recommends that influencers be open to partnerships that may not pay a fee but lead to tremendous opportunities. 

He shares, “Know your worth. But, I would say be open on the paid social side of things. There’s a lot of opportunity to grow your business with advertisers.”

As a marketer, he shares that he looks for influencers that produce the best video content, speak well on screen, and catch his attention within the video’s first three seconds. He recommends putting out quality video content and avoiding doing just voiceovers. 

For brands, he recommends that they try seeding influencers themselves. 

Taylor says, “We identify and reach out to 500 influencers per month per brand. Put what we’re saying to test, so out of 500 influencers, 20% opt-in to receive the product… I would challenge you to try seeding for the first time on a smaller scale. Identify or reach out to 50 and see if the numbers play out the exact same way.”

He also recommends playing the long game and not always focusing on the immediate ROI. 

“Don’t look at influencer marketing as this channel that you tap on for one month and you didn’t see the automatic ROI, and you just shut the door on it. Stay the course. Keep investing in the relationships.”

Emerging Trends in Influencer Marketing

TikTok and IG Reels continue to be huge trends in influencer marketing. 

However, Taylor notes, “I think Meta is the most sophisticated machine learning system we’ve seen ever. I only think that’s going to grow.”

He also thinks creating authentic relationships with influencers and seeding them through Kynship’s marketing strategy will remain relevant. 

Future Plans for Kynship

In closing, Taylor shares, “Just continuing to build relationships and go against the grain. Honestly, it’s a lot of education right now… It’s about building genuine relationships with influencers. That’s how you will build a strong community around your brand and a successful marketing program.”

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Amy DeYoung is a freelance blog post writer covering influencer marketing and business topics. As the daughter of two business owners, she's been fascinated by all things business from a young age, which led her to graduate from college with a bachelor's degree in business. When she's not typing away, she spends her time reading nonfiction books and mystery novels, baking scrumptious desserts, and playing with her dog.

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