Meet the Company Disrupting Promoting By Creating Influencers

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When @justaconstructionguy took off on Instagram, the account actually took off. The story goes {that a} teenage lady (@barbzlovescarbs on Twitter) posted a screenshot of her dad’s new Instagram account in April of 2019, claiming he grew to become an “influencer” to show to her he might do it. He went from 75 followers to greater than 400,000 in 5 days as a result of the story behind it was enjoyable to inform. The Instagram account was additionally intelligent.

Then the investigative hacks of the web acquired maintain of it and claimed it was a faux influencer arrange by a espresso firm and its company. The entire thing was rigged. Followers of the account had been duped.

It seems they hadn’t.

Omar, the true development man featured within the account, which satirically poked enjoyable at influencer tradition with “sponsored” content material from a espresso firm? He’s nonetheless the star of the account, which continues to crank out participating content material and sits simply north of 415,000 followers. Omar expanded to TikTok final yr. He’s acquired 220,000-plus followers there. 

He’s nonetheless an actual development man. 

Cuvee Espresso supported the launch of the venture however fell off after some time. Omar and the company that constructed the account with Cuvee are following by means of on the concept that a development man who digs espresso might be an influencer. 

From left to proper: Daniel Stone, Louis Montemayor and George Ellis of Bandolier Media.

Picture credit score: Bandolier Media

The company was Bandolier Media. The Austin, Texas-based agency is made up of precisely 4 full-time individuals. It has received back-to-back regional recognition in AdAge’s Small Company of the Yr awards. And it would simply be probably the most disruptive advert company in America. 

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Social nedia is the media

You don’t win recognition as an promoting company from AdAge with out some substance to your work. The applying for the publication’s Small Company of the Yr Award alone options layers of questions on shoppers, artistic method, development and income. Bandolier has chops. However they aren’t conventional advertising-agency chops.

“We by no means meant on beginning an company,” proprietor Daniel Stone says. “We simply wished to create cool stuff.”

Lou Montemayor was the unique co-owner and different half of Stone’s “we.” The pair labored for a similar publishing firm from 2010-’13. Stone seen Montemayor’s expertise for developing with attention-grabbing concepts to execute through social media as he pitched ideas to the corporate’s management. They didn’t fairly get it. 

However Stone did. He snuck Montemayor’s thought binder away from the corporate, understanding sooner or later they’d have an opportunity to place among the concepts into observe. A couple of years later, they collaborated on a foolish track known as “Beer Pong Anthem” with musician Thom Shepherd. Stone reached out to individuals internet hosting beer pong tournaments across the nation and requested them to play it on the occasions, then put up it on their social media pages.

In the meantime, Montemayor created social media content material to help the track’s momentum on Twitter, Instagram and a Fb web page. “I knew proper then and there that manufacturers can be focused on having somebody set this up and do this type of factor for them,” Stone mentioned.

And that’s the place the disruption started. The pair left their jobs in 2015 and bootstrapped Bandolier Media. Which is to say the 2 of them began pitching social media concepts to shoppers. 

Not too far into their journey, Stone’s penchant for dad jokes helped launch Traditional Dad, a satire-filled weblog and novelty T-shirt store. One idea, dad because the “garden whisperer,” developed into an authentic video collection introduced by Scott’s Garden Care. It’s now in its fifth season.

Then there’s Duck Tape Man, whose borderline orgasmic response to the sound of duct tape peeling off the roll is hilarious sufficient to make individuals hit “Share” on a business. 

“The principle purpose we expect social-first is that our work depends on making a reference to the viewers,” says George Ellis, who joined Bandolier as a co-owner and inventive director in 2018. “Whilst you can actually try this with a TV business or different extra conventional strategies, it is extra vital in social, as a result of individuals will reply and have interaction.”

There are many social media businesses on the market, however not many promoting businesses that lead with social-media pondering. That’s what units Bandolier aside. It creates attention-grabbing content material on social-media channels that drives engagement and consciousness across the manufacturers they work with. The artistic is powerful sufficient that individuals wish to discuss it and share it. 

“That is what we would like,” Ellis explains. “The very last thing we would like for a shopper is to place out a bit of labor that pretends to have all of the solutions or serves as a one-way communication. We would like our manufacturers to have interaction with individuals and spark conversations. That means, all of us study one thing or can take the dialogue in a distinct course we by no means would’ve deliberate had we simply created a conventional product spot or put up about product advantages.” 

A lean, imply, content material machine

Bandolier was initially two guys having enjoyable creating content material. In some ways, it nonetheless is. Ellis got here to the agency after stints at bigger businesses like Leo Burnett and Razorfish. A fourth worker, Kelsey Hickok, manages artistic content material throughout the shopper portfolio.

“I must be delegating and bringing on extra individuals,” Stone admitts. “However we needed to get lean with Covid and do all the pieces. I cleaned the workplace, however was completely satisfied to do it. That’s a part of being a enterprise proprietor.”

Bandolier makes use of 4 to 5 sub-contractors and sources freelancers when the necessity arises. The actors in a lot of the movies? “Most of them are my neighbors,” Stone laughs. 

“We’re actually completely satisfied and we’re pleased with one another, working collectively,” he provides. “We prefer to work, as a result of we just like the work.”

Stone and Montemayor snigger that all the pieces about beginning the enterprise was simply enjoyable. From ordering checks and enterprise playing cards to renting an workplace. The truth is, their enthusiasm was so infectious, once they visited Nada Moo! Ice Cream’s facility in search of workplace house, CEO Daniel Nicholson employed them to do his firm’s social media.

And whereas success continues to return, Stone cautions he’s not on simple avenue. “I nonetheless drive a crappy 2014 Subaru,” he shares. “It’s nonetheless a grind. However I really feel completely satisfied and pleased with the work.”

In contrast to most promoting businesses, Bandolier’s development has been centered on what they’re good at, not simply taking each venture that comes alongside. “We’re fairly good with RFPs and explaining to the shopper, ‘Look, we’re most likely the worst individual to rent for that,’” Stone explains. “’However we like what you’re doing and we have now an excellent imaginative and prescient. Can we share with you the imaginative and prescient we have now for this venture?’”

Montemayor defined sticking to what they know and who they’re might make them appear a bit misplaced, however that’s a welcome disruption within the company world. “With our early shoppers, we have been coping with the proprietor, going out, having a beer and speaking about what sort of loopy factor we have been going to give you,” he says. “Quick ahead three years, 4 years and we’re there assembly with Shell Oil company — large, excessive government individuals — and we’re the identical. We’re not going to attempt to match the half. We’re simply going to be ourselves. That’s labored very well for us. Folks discover it refreshing.”

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A novel spin on affect

The case research with @justaconstructionguy is a relatively serendipitous instance of the refreshing method Bandolier brings to the desk. Stone and Montemayor concepted the thought with Cuvee Espresso proprietor Mike McKim, who was delighted staff from native development websites have been coming in for espresso on their lunch breaks. The juxtaposition of grizzled, blue-collar guys having fun with craft, however not pretentious, espresso struck a chord. 

“Why not additionally juxtapose what it meant to be an influencer?” Montemayor mentioned. 

Whereas Omar (sure, that’s his actual identify) did have the dialog along with his daughter, bragging he was now an influencer, Bandolier morphed the dialog into the now well-known Tweet in a second of genius.

“We would have liked one thing to clarify why the account was there,” Montemayor defined. The transfer was a stroke of genius as a result of it created a purpose for individuals to share the account, which led to its huge development.

And in case you’re questioning, @justaconstructionguy’s Instagram account exhibits a 95{bce2ac57dae147ae13b811f47f24d80c66c6ab504b39dda4a9b6e8ac93725942} efficacy charge when run by means of influencer advertising platform Julius’s account well being evaluation. The followers and engagement is actual.

Omar is actual and the entire content material is that which he has a say-so in, however Bandolier drives the ship, utilizing him within the function of mannequin and actor as a lot as supporting his personal course for the venture. 

It seems Bandolier is exhibiting there are extra methods to create affect than discovering somebody who already has it. You’ll be able to manufacture not simply affect, however influencers. The distinction is approaching the affect channel as if it’s a artistic palette. 

“There’s nothing unsuitable with hiring an influencer. We do it on a regular basis for our shoppers,” Ellis mentioned. “However for those who lock your self into that pondering, then it is principally shutting off an entire avenue of creativity. Typically to create one thing new on social, you need to really begin in the beginning: with a brand new character or property.”