When it comes to working with influencers, Visible looks for long-term partnerships. The brand, a digital-only phone carrier from Verizon, believes that fostering an on-going relationship with influencers will allow the audiences of those influencers to get to know the brand and connect with it more than one-off posts.
“We do a lot of social listening and try to be as thoughtful as possible,” said Pearl Servat, head of brand marketing for Visible, of the company’s overall approach to influencer marketing. “We want to give breathing room and space for their audience to connect with our brand and have an opportunity to get to know us. That can’t happen with two posts and then your audience never hears from us again.”
That’s why some of the influencers working with the brand on its latest campaign “#ProudlyVisible,” from creative agency Madwell, have already worked with the brand and taken part in other Visible influencer campaigns. Those returning influencers for this campaign include Pattie Gonia, ALOK, Matt Bernstein, Tarek Ali, Raffinee, Kenneth Pabon, Schuyler Bailar, Blair Imani and Anjali Chakra. The “#ProudlyVisible” effort is a Pride marketing campaign featuring various LGBTQ+ artists and activists sharing stories of their chosen families on social platforms like TikTok, Instagram and Twitter.
Influencer marketing has become a staple of advertising budgets for many digital-only or direct-to-consumer brands in recent years. Employing the digital version of word-of-mouth marketing can be appealing for advertisers big and small as people spend more time on social channels and look for product recommendations from influencers they follow.
It’s unclear how much Visible spent on working with influencers for its Pride campaign or how much the brand spends on influencer marketing as Servat declined to share those figures. Per Kantar, Visible spent $22.3 million on media during the first quarter of 2021, up significantly from $2.5 million on media during the first quarter of 2020. Those figures exclude what Visible spent on social channels as Kantar doesn’t track social spending.
For this campaign, Visible is working with influencers like fashion designer Christian Siriano, musicians Tegan and Sara, RuPaul’s Drag Race star Carmen Carrera and more. Influencer marketing shop Anchor set up the influencer partnerships. The brand is hoping that seeing influencers share stories about their chosen families will encourage others to use the “#ProudlyVisible” hashtag to share stories of their own.
Visible works to make sure that LGBTQ+ influencers are represented in each influencer marketing campaign, not just during June for Pride. “The whole business model of Visible is centered around accessibility and inclusivity,” said Servat. “We’re making sure campaigns represent LGBTQ+ people beyond June and we’ve done that from the beginning, we’re very cognizant of how we do casting.”
Looking at June as a month of celebration of LGBTQ+ stories rather than the only time LGBTQ+ people are represented in influencer marketing campaigns is a necessary strategy for brands, especially those looking to connect with Gen-Z, explained Danielle Wiley, CEO of influencer marketing agency Sway Group.
“Gen-Z are really taking note of brands that use rainbows in June but are not advocates the rest of the year,” said Wiley. “Brands should use the moment of time during Pride to be out there but also talk about [and support LGBTQ+ people] year round, not just one month out of the year.”