Fyre Festival and the Power of Influencers

Fyre Festival

Like the rest of the country, I’ve been drawn to the spectacle of the Fyre Festival documentaries on Hulu and Netflix. I wasn’t as familiar with the catastrophe of the “festival that never was,” so I was shocked at each new layer of deceit the documentaries uncovered. As a public relations professional who manages client events and trade shows, the level of anxiety I felt watching the festival sell out while those involved were saying it could not be executed in time, almost made it unwatchable.

The interviews with the influencers and discussion around the marketing of the event impressed me* as a PR professional, as well. At NST we oversee numerous influencer marketing programs for our clients and for more than 20 years have extolled the benefits and the power of partnering with the right people who influence behavior change in their target audiences.

More than uncovering the shady business practices of an entrepreneur, this documentary highlighted the power of influencers. One person interviewed in the Netflix documentary noted that for a festival to sell out in its first year was incredible.

The entire marketing campaign was built on a brilliant influencer word-of-mouth campaign that lived almost solely on Instagram. For example, when first announcing the festival, they asked their influencers to post just a photo of an orange tile to break through the clutter of the busy Instagram feed and provided a link in the notes with the festival website. But just because your brand may not be able to afford to pay Kendall Jenner $250,000 for one Instagram post, it doesn’t mean influencer marketing won’t work for you.

The first step is identifying who your target audience turns to for information. For one of our clients, that includes ongoing relationship and content development with farming and HVAC influencers. Do these people have millions of followers? No. But why would they? Only farmers and HVAC professionals watch their videos – and watch and engage they do! At NST, we identify influencers who affect behavior change – and just because an influencer has millions of followers doesn’t mean they have influence on your brand’s audience.

That influencer marketing works is proven by companies spending more on influencer marketing every year. If your company is looking to start or grow an influencer marketing program, contact NST so we can help you design the right program for your brand.

*Though the Fyre Festival’s influencer and Instagram marketing were impressive, the marketing team also may have knowingly participated in promoting a festival they knew was going down in flames. At NST, one of our values is “Do what is right. Right is right. Wrong is wrong.” Our team would not work for a company that deceives consumers and partners.