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 woman (@barbzlovescarbs on Twitter) posted a screenshot of her dad’s new Instagram account in April of 2019, claiming he turned an “influencer” to show to her he may 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 actual 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 12 months. 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 on the concept a development man who digs espresso may 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 folks. It has received back-to-back regional recognition in AdAge’s Small Company of the 12 months 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 appliance for the publication’s Small Company of the 12 months Award alone options layers of questions on shoppers, artistic strategy, progress and income. Bandolier has chops. However they aren’t conventional advertising-agency chops.

“We by no means supposed 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 observed Montemayor’s expertise for developing with attention-grabbing concepts to execute by way of social media as he pitched ideas to the corporate’s management. They didn’t fairly get it. 

However Stone did. He snuck Montemayor’s concept binder away from the corporate, figuring out in the future they might have an opportunity to place among the concepts into follow. Just a few years later, they collaborated on a foolish music referred to as “Beer Pong Anthem” with musician Thom Shepherd. Stone reached out to folks internet hosting beer pong tournaments across the nation and requested them to play it on the occasions, then submit it on their social media pages.

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

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,” advanced into an unique video sequence offered 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 folks hit “Share” on a business. 

“The primary cause 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. “When you can actually do this with a TV business or different extra conventional strategies, it is extra crucial in social, as a result of folks 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 speak about it and share it. 

“That is what we would like,” Ellis explains. “The very last thing we would like for a consumer is to place out a chunk of labor that pretends to have all of the solutions or serves as a one-way communication. We wish our manufacturers to interact with folks and spark conversations. That manner, all of us study one thing or can take the dialogue in a unique course we by no means would’ve deliberate had we simply created a conventional product spot or submit 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 consumer portfolio.

“I ought to be delegating and bringing on extra folks,” Stone admitts. “However we needed to get lean with Covid and do every little thing. I cleaned the workplace, however was glad 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 many of the movies? “Most of them are my neighbors,” Stone laughs. 

“We’re actually glad 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 giggle that every little thing about beginning the enterprise was simply enjoyable. From ordering checks and enterprise playing cards to renting an workplace. In truth, their enthusiasm was so infectious, once they visited Nada Moo! Ice Cream’s facility on the lookout for workplace house, CEO Daniel Nicholson employed them to do his firm’s social media.

And whereas success continues to come back, Stone cautions he’s not on straightforward avenue. “I nonetheless drive a crappy 2014 Subaru,” he shares. “It’s nonetheless a grind. However I really feel glad and happy with the work.”

In contrast to most promoting businesses, Bandolier’s progress 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 consumer, ‘Look, we’re most likely the worst particular person to rent for that,’” Stone explains. “’However we like what you’re doing and now we have an excellent imaginative and prescient. Can we share with you the imaginative and prescient now we have for this venture?’”

Montemayor defined sticking to what they know and who they’re could make them appear a little bit misplaced, however that’s a welcome disruption within the company world. “With our early shoppers, we had been coping with the proprietor, going out, having a beer and speaking about what sort of loopy factor we had been going to give you,” he says. “Quick ahead three years, 4 years and we’re there assembly with Shell Oil company — massive, excessive govt folks — 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 rather well for us. Individuals discover it refreshing.”

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A novel spin on affect

The case research with @justaconstructionguy is a quite serendipitous instance of the refreshing strategy Bandolier brings to the desk. Stone and Montemayor concepted the thought with Cuvee Espresso proprietor Mike McKim, who was delighted employees from native development websites had 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 stated. 

Whereas Omar (sure, that’s his actual identify) did have the dialog together 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 wanted one thing to elucidate why the account was there,” Montemayor defined. The transfer was a stroke of genius as a result of it created a cause for folks to share the account, which led to its large progress.

And in case you’re questioning, @justaconstructionguy’s Instagram account reveals a 95% efficacy fee when run by influencer advertising platform Julius’s account well being evaluation. The followers and engagement is actual.

Omar is actual and all the 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 possibly can manufacture not simply affect, however influencers. The distinction is approaching the affect channel as if it’s a artistic palette. 

“There’s nothing fallacious with hiring an influencer. We do it on a regular basis for our shoppers,” Ellis stated. “However when you lock your self into that pondering, then it is mainly shutting off an entire avenue of creativity. Generally to create one thing new on social, it’s a must to truly begin at first: with a brand new character or property.” 


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