While the best social media influencers have earned their reputation through sharing content from their everyday lives, many brands have successfully experimented with transplanting that influence into an exciting new destination collaboration.
Some people call it ‘Instagram vacations’, and what it means is a brand transporting their influencers to a certain destination or event and asking them to create content around their trip.
From a strategic point of view, combining a voice that audiences trust with an event they’re interested in makes perfect sense. But, like any influencer marketing approach, it depends on doing some important things very well to justify the cost.
To start with, brands must choose their destinations carefully. Wherever you choose to send your influencers must have clear business value to your brand – otherwise, no matter how beautiful the content it generates, all you’ve done is go on a vacation that none of your customers care about.
So while the event or location has to perfectly align with your brand values and business objectives, to show how the right choice can lead to successful campaigns we’ll look at the Coachella festival.
Most people know what Coachella is all about – style, music, fun and spotting famous faces. So it makes sense for a brand like Revolve to build an influencer strategy around the festival – effectively using Coachella as a glamorous backdrop to a super-engaging series of influencer campaigns.
Their influencer marketing at Coachella 2017 is widely regarded as a masterclass in destination campaigns – with 100s of influencers, styled by Revolve, creating content on the ground. The result was around 4 billion social impressions – five times as many as H&M who actually sponsored the festival!
There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to destination campaigns, but we can show you some of the more common types of activity.
The first is when a brand uses a popular event as the stage for their influencer activity – just like Revolve did at Coachella.
Then there are travel companies who use influencer campaigns as showcases for their own products, services and experiences.
A great example is hotel chain JW Marriott who flew 14 leading influencers to the opening of their new Los Cobos resort. What this achieved was a widely shared – and very personal – glimpse at all the resort’s best features… but done from the point of a real traveller, not the lifeless images you usually find in holiday brochures.
Some travel companies are even partnering with influencers to create their own events, such as this collaboration between Mr & Mrs Smith and the Atelier Dore website, to sell places on a week-long storytelling workshop in Marrakesh (which very quickly sold out, by the way).
And if the idea of sharing content from a fashionable festival or a glamorous poolside doesn’t feel right for your brand, there are endless opportunities for creating something more adventurous, unexpected and appealing to your audience.
Whiskey brand Johnnie Walker, for example, decided to follow daredevil photographer/influencer, Keow Wee Long on a trek to an active volcano in Indonesia as part of their Walk On campaign.