In this interview, Willis Duran, Lead Brand Partner at Linqia, shares insights into their approach and services in the influencer marketing and creator economy space. He also discusses the successful CleanChoice Energy campaign, highlighting its unique aspects, challenges faced, and key learnings for brands and marketers.
Linqia is a full-service influencer marketing company enabled by technology. The company is a full service shop — from influencer discovery and managing the entire workstream and workflow to executing influencer campaigns. They also offer a measurement platform where they deliver real-time results and capture all the data to ensure that they’re improving the impact of influencer content on their client’s businesses.
Building A Greener Future: Willis Duran Discusses Linqia’s CleanChoice Energy Campaign
How does Linqia collaborate with influencers and creators to develop successful campaigns?
It starts with Linqia’s influencer discovery tool that crawls influencers’ feeds to find the right creators that match their clients’ brand values.
From there, they work in close partnership with marketing teams to construct a content brief with outlined marketing objectives and messaging points so that the influencers have a strong starting point for content creation.
Could you share the key objectives and strategy behind the CleanChoice campaign that Linqia executed?
The primary objective of the CleanChoice campaign was to drive positive awareness and engagement of their main product: Clean Electricity, and how small choices and changes in a person’s home electricity can have a big impact on the planet.
What unique aspects of the CleanChoice campaign set it apart from other influencer marketing initiatives in the industry?
The focus on sustainability rang through all the influencers’ content and allowed for authentic conversations to occur among the influencers and their followers. “And we think that was incredibly unique. It’s something that we and our influencers took seriously on behalf of the clients,” Duran adds. This authenticity drove meaningful social impact and change.
How did Linqia identify and select the influencers who participated in the CleanChoice campaign?
Linqia ensured that the influencers had an authentic point of view on the impacts of climate change.
The company assessed how influencers spoke about environmental issues or habits, like recycling, energy efficiency, buying organic produce, and other similar topics that could have indicated that the influencer was the right candidate to represent the brand.
Besides the content, Linqia also looked at the influencer’s artistic style and delivery, which lent themselves to authentic storytelling. They assessed if the influencer was a good video editor, a good storyteller, had children themselves, or demonstrated lifestyles in their content that would help bring the campaign’s story to life.
Can you discuss the criteria Linqia used to evaluate the success of the CleanChoice campaign? What were the key performance indicators (KPIs) you focused on?
Engagement rate was a key metric that the team valued in their influencer search. “That’s primarily what we looked at to know if they were the right fit, had the right talent, and produced the right type of content,” Duran says. The content was created with engagement in mind, and because of that, the campaign outperformed the agency’s estimated engagements by over 45%. Duran also mentioned that the engagement rates that they garnered on TikTok from one of their highest performers were about one and a half times the average that the company would typically see on the platform.
Meta was also another platform that Linqia used, and similar to the performance they saw on TikTok, it also surpassed their set benchmarks.
According to Erin Guthrie, the Director of Brand Marketing for CleanChoice Energy, Linqia wanted to have influencers tell an authentic and original story about CleanChoice and their experience with switching their homes to clean energy. This content inspired positive conversations online, which were not only impressive but allowed the company to spread their message about the importance of clean energy.
Were there any challenges or obstacles you faced during the execution of the CleanChoice campaign, and how did Linqia overcome them?
Linqia faced several challenges during the execution of the campaign, and one of these was the criteria they used for their influencer selection. Linqia found a great potential influencer partner, but her home was outside the Clean Electricity’s specific product footprint. Linqia and CleanChoice pivoted their messaging so that the influencer could participate in the campaign with custom messages based on where she lived.
Duran believes that being agile, quick, transparent, and having a collaborative and strong working relationship will help them — both the agency and influencers — address challenges.
Can you share any specific insights or learnings from the CleanChoice campaign that could be valuable for brands and marketers in the influencer marketing and creator economy space?
When creating a campaign with such an important social message, it’s imperative to have creators who can authentically deliver this story. This was enhanced when influencers were able to share a bit more of their lives and what drove them to make sustainable choices, like including their families and homes in their content.
Working with influencers across Meta and TikTok enabled the campaign to reach a diverse audience. Content performed differently across the two channels, so it was important to use both platforms in combination with each other.
How does Linqia ensure that the content created by influencers aligns with the brand values and resonates with the target audience?
Linqia works closely with the brand team to ensure that all images, posts, videos, and texts are authentic to their feed and genuine to what they typically post about. They make sure that every content delivered matches the brief.
They also vetted the content to make sure that key points were hit in a way that was authentic and would drive superior engagement.
In your opinion, how has the influencer marketing and creator economy space evolved in recent years, and what trends do you foresee for the future?
Influencers have widely evolved in recent years.
Influencers now have the power to tell compelling stories from their own points of view, and it’s up to the brand to see how they can work within that approach to create compelling content. Today, it’s more about working with these creators, almost like production shops, and how brands can tell a story through the lens of the influencer’s content to engage with that audience.
Gone were the days when campaigns were all about forcing a message through a platform and getting eyeballs on something. Now, it’s more of an interpretation of the brand’s message to a specific audience.
Additionally, influencer content is no longer a social construct, and that everyone will start seeing influencer content everywhere. “You even see TV commercials today where Old Navy and Oreos spend a lot of money to make it look like a TikTok post even though it’s a professional production,” he adds.
More and more creators and influencers are creating deeper levels of partnerships and moving away from singular campaign offers. They’ll want to create deeper and longer-lasting relationships with brands — whether that’s informing products, long-term ambassador relationships, or being in-house content creators for brand channels.
How does Linqia foster long-term relationships with influencers and creators beyond individual campaigns?
One of the advantages of working with CleanChoice is that influencers to whom Linqia reached out to were all ecstatic about partnering for the campaign and delivering the campaign’s message. The campaign was more emotive, and influencers told highly emotional stories about why they made the switch to clean energy.
This goes to show how finding the right influencer — one who aligns with the brand and message — the campaign is sure to deliver. And in this case, the influencers were eager and enthusiastic about working to drive that continuity and long-term partnership.
This strategy isn’t only effective for the brand because there’s continuity in that message, but it’s also more effective for the influencer because it’s reinforcing the authenticity they have built with their followers.
What advice would you give to brands looking to leverage influencer marketing in the current landscape, particularly within the context of the creator economy?
“My advice would be to be incredibly rigorous about the influencers you choose for your campaign. Make sure you’re vetting through the kind of content they post, how they deliver, and their artistic style,” Duran says.
Brands should remember that what they’re looking for shouldn’t just be an influencer who’s solely delivering the news; they should look for someone who can effectively augment and reinforce their message to their customers.
Another piece of advice Duran has for brands is to work with a partner who will be methodical about the talent selection and how messages are delivered. Brands must keep in mind that there’s a clear way of translating a marketing objective into an influencer brief.
Lastly, brands must have some rigor around the measurement of content to ensure that it’s going to exceed the benchmark of the company, industry, and brand. This also allows brands to utilize influencer marketing to its full potential.
As the influencer marketing and creator economy space continues to evolve, how does Linqia stay ahead of the curve and adapt its strategies to meet influencers’ and brands’ changing needs and preferences?
As a company with over a hundred people focused entirely on influencer marketing 24/7, Linqia has its tentacles and has a pulse on pretty much anything that’s affecting the industry, ranging from augmented reality, music, and viral singing trends.
Having a deep understanding of what’s out there allows Linqia to be choiceful about what they bring to a client.