Tiki Barber on influencer marketing: 'Every community has its own Beyonce'

Can't afford a celebrity brand ambassador? That's ok. Every community has its own hometown hero.

NEW YORK: Tiki Barber, co-chairman and founder of Thuzio and a former running back for the New York Giants, said Wednesday that companies need to work with influencers that connect with consumers and their own brands.

Barber said the three keys to consumer engagement are authenticity, transparency, and efficiency, while speaking at the PRWeek Conference in New York on Wednesday.

One way for brands to earn consumer attention is by using recognizable faces, such as Taylor Swift, because it helps customers remember the brand name, said Barber.

He added that 92% of consumers go to others for brand referrals, even from people they don’t know.

Sixty-five percent of brands use influencer marketing, said Barber, ranging from large corporations to small businesses. And while small brands may not be able to feature Beyonce in their content like Pepsi, "every community has its own Beyonce or hometown hero," he explained.

Barber added that small businesses can also team up with influencers or celebrities for their personal causes or philanthropic efforts. For example, All-Star Auto Glass partnered with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to support Seattle Children's Strong Against Cancer Initiative this summer

Barber noted that anyone can be an influencer in today’s nonstop social media environment. Referencing his own social audience, Barber said 72% of his own fans are between 20 and 29 years old. This reflects research that shows people have their interests piqued around age 12, and fans between age 20 and 29 were around that age when Barber played for the Giants.

And who’s influencing Barber himself? The former running back told the audience it’s none other than rapper Vanilla Ice.

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