Under the Influence: How to Promote Absolutely Everything Online
11 October 2016
Johanna Bjarsch Follin
After graduating from university, Fredrik Segerby, Fredrik Andersson and Didrik Svendsen moved back in with their parents to start building something that eventually would come to revolutionise the marketing industry. This ”something” became Tailify, a platform for influencer marketing on Social Media. The LINK met Fredrik Segerby, CEO of Tailify, at their brand new London HQ to talk about Tailify’s exciting journey from his parents’ kitchen to the frontier of marketing.
”Back when we started three years ago, we couldn’t even define what Tailify was. Influencer marketing as such was not a concept, at least not on social media,” Segerby tells The LINK.
Segerby’s parents' kitchen acted as Tailify’s office for the first six months, where the founders tried to figure out how the influencer marketing industry works. They were lucky to talk to the right people, made sure to fail quickly and ultimately built their product, taking Tailify to where it is today; from a sunny kitchen in Stockholm, via Copenhagen, to London.
Tailify is a platform for connecting social media influencers with brands. Social media influencers, for those who have not heard about the phenomenon before, are people on social media with a great deal of followers, who post content and pictures about their clothes, cars or watches, and thereby influence their followers into liking certain brands or products. What Tailify does is to help influencers work more professionally with brands, by providing a marketplace where advertisers can find influencers and create social media advertising using influencer marketing in a transparent manner.
Segerby says that the inspiration for Tailify come from the founders’ own experience.
“As we realised how social media influencers affected our taste in clothes and accessories, we also saw a giant business opportunity as the industry lacks transparency”.
The journey from the parental kitchen to where Tailify is now is like a Cinderella story for entrepreneurs.
“We realised that no small companies could afford to try a new marketing channel as part of their media mix, so we gathered our courage and knocked on the big companies’ doors. We managed to make Disney and Unilever our first customers, which of course has been invaluable as a reference for future customers,” Segerby continues.
Tailify was one of the first-movers in providing solutions for influencer marketing, which of course gives opportunity to define the industry and to stay ahead of any competition. But being one of the first also come with some challenges.
“What we have experienced, and what is probably true for every new and disruptive idea, is that when providing a completely new solution to a specific market, in our case marketing, there is a need to instill a feeling of security and trust in the product. For Tailify, that translates into making people understand that influencer marketing is a viable media channel, and that social media is the next natural progression in how we consume media,” Segerby tells us.
Today, influencer marketing is one of the trending searches on Google, which Segerby takes as a confirmation that things are headed in the right direction. Influencer marketing is becoming a natural part of the media mix for companies. Tailify has definitely played a role in legitimising this new marketing channel, and Segerby makes sure to acknowledge the whole team as vital to Tailify’s success. He emphasises how important it is to recruit the right people.
“It is important that everyone in our company feels that they contribute and really make a difference while working with us. As we are still a small company, we work a lot and we work closely together, so it is important for us to find the right people and to all get along. I believe one should not take on a job at a startup only to be able to afford bread on the table, but one needs to be truly motivated and aligned with what the company does, to feel that it is worthwhile. We have been lucky in recruiting the right people both when it comes to skills and personality. We are a great group and that is one of the main reasons behind Tailify’s success. We all share the successes, and that open atmosphere and culture is essential for feeling that we are all working towards the same goal, and that we are all part of making Tailify what it is,” he says.
It seems like this kind of team effort is a working strategy, Tailify seems to deliver one successful social media campaign after another. Still, some campaigns stand out from the rest.
“The most fun campaign, and also one of the most successful ones so far, has been working with Hellmann’s, the mayonnaise brand. Bold and brave Hellmann’s changed the recipe of lussekatter, this 150 year old Swedish recipe, and added mayonnaise to the mix. Promoting mayonnaise on Instagram may seem a bit mad, but we were able to implement the campaign together with the influencers in a creative and humoristic way, which actually made Hellmann’s have their all time best selling month. #mayointhebun was the hashtag used for the campaign, which was loved by the influencers, and became the talk of the town during the campaign period,” Segerby tells The LINK.
Segerby laughs when saying “I will probably regret saying this, but if you can promote mayonnaise on Instagram, then you can probably promote anything, in one way or another, using influencer marketing”.
Using influencers as such, is not a new phenomenon; people and icons influencing other people’s purchase decisions have always existed, but in slightly different ways over the years. Just think about how Kate Moss influenced people’s perception of Birkenstock sandals - nobody wanted to wear Birkenstocks until Kate Moss wore them on the cover of Vogue Magazine in 1993. Going from being completely out of fashion, suddenly everyone wanted to buy Birkenstocks.
The shift we are seeing now, and the difference from 1993, is that the influencers have moved online. It makes engaging with the influencers much easier. It’s also easier to become an influencer today than it used to be; no need to be a supermodel or a movie star, today’s social media platforms can make anyone an influencer overnight.
The market is fast-paced, but Segerby is convinced that even though platforms might change, the underlying need will be the same.
“The platforms for influencer marketing, be it fashion magazines or Instagram, may change over time, but the concept of influencers will exist in one way or another forever,” he says.
Segerby has a clear vision of what role Tailify will play for influencer marketing in the future.
“Our ambition is to make Tailify the go-to marketplace for influencer marketing for brands and influencers of all sizes. The market is currently askew and it is mainly the big companies and advertisers with big budgets that can afford to test influencer marketing. The reason there is little or no opportunity for smaller brands to work with influencers at scale is, according to us, the lack of tools for efficient management of relationships with influencers. We want to make all companies, not just the Disney’s of the world, to be able to buy influencer marketing in a professional and secure way. Our vision is to become that hub, that 360 degree solution,” he says.
So what are Segerby’s tips for being a successful entrepreneur? “As an entrepreneur you must be able to fight on, whatever it takes. The one thing you can know for sure when starting a company is that things will not be going your way all the time. You will face some rough downsides and tough challenges, so you need the ability to wake up in the morning and keep on going, no matter what,” Segerby says.
To all aspiring entrepreneurs out there he also has a piece of encouragement:
“The ecosystem for starting a company provides perfect opportunities, and right now may be the best timing to start a company. If there are people out there with ideas or thinking about starting a company, do not think too much, just start doing it. And don’t be afraid to talk about your idea. At Tailify we have always been open about talking about our vision, and the feedback and input we got from that has taken us to where we are today”.