Women’s fashion brand Johnny Was wanted to do influencer marketing, but paying an Instagram star or blogger to wear its clothes didn’t feel right for the brand.
“What we’re looking for is authenticity,” said Rob Trauber, CEO of Johnny Was. “There are very few people we would pay to influence our products because it’s not authentic anymore.”
Johnny Was says it caters to a high-class, established woman with an eye for quality. She doesn’t scroll Instagram like a millennial or pay much attention to bloggers, but she does consult her friends and family – her own small network of influencers – on her purchases.
So rather than pay celebrity influencers to connect with its audience, Johnny Was wanted to get groups of family, co-workers and friends to spread the word to each other about its brand.
“We want to indirectly engage [our customer] with their friends around our brand,” Trauber said. “We want people to talk about all the things we’re doing.”
To do so, Johnny Was used a tool from programmatic platform GlobalWide Media called RYPL, launched officially on Wednesday. RYPL uses social listening and web browser data to draw connections between friends and their purchase habits.
For example, RYPL can determine that two women are co-workers if they sign onto the same IP every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If one women is a purchaser of Johnny Was clothing and her co-worker starts browsing on the Johnny Was website, RYPL can infer that the first women has influence over the second.
“If we can decide that two users are co-workers or friends, we can look at past purchases and start to influence not only the current purchaser, but those who influence her decision,” said Zackary Cantor, director of decision media at GlobalWide Media.
Johnny Was can then target both women with tailored messaging. While the second woman would receive ads that push her along the path to purchase, the first would get messages intended to keep her loyal to the brand and continue spreading the word, turning her into a mini brand ambassador for her network of friends and family.
“Data will come into play here to determine exactly how we treat that influencer,” Cantor said.
In a test, Johnny Was saw a $2.26 return for every dollar spent with RYPL as well as a 39% lift in sales. RYPL can measure sales lift for online purchases, as well as offline purchases with access to the brand’s CRM file. It can also measure foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores through partnerships with a location data provider such as Placed, Cantor said.
For Johnny Was, whose digital strategy previously revolved around retargeting catalogue subscribers on Facebook, being able to leverage its own audience to spread the word about its brand to friends and family is its own authentic answer to influencer marketing.
“The most credible advertising we have is word of mouth,” Trauber said.