Managing Successful Influencer Campaigns: Kendall U and Starr Ranch Growers | 116 & West
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3.6.24 | 3 min

Managing Successful Influencer Campaigns: Kendall U and Starr Ranch Growers

116 & West

As a fully integrated advertising agency, we manage influencer programs for national brands looking to expand their reach. Running successful influencer campaigns across industries takes expertise, professionalism, and agility to pivot when necessary. Working with an agency can help you manage contracts and monitor KPIs to ensure your influencer marketing campaign is effective. But it’s much more than that. An influencer partnership is only fruitful if expectations are clear and both parties benefit. Monitoring creative development and establishing guidelines for influencers will help ensure brand consistency. Furthermore, encouraging influencers’ creativity within these guidelines will result in posts that resonate with audiences. What follows are two examples of successful campaigns spearheaded and managed by our team.

Kendall U NIL Influencer Program

Kendall is one of the largest private auto groups in the country, with 38 dealerships across the Pacific Northwest, including Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. As their agency of record for over 12 years, we support Kendall with all their community partnerships, including the Kendall Cares program, which gives back to the communities they serve in various ways. We are always strategically thinking about ways to increase their reach in the local communities where they have dealerships. Kendall Auto of Montana and Kendall Auto of Eugene were chosen as Montana State University (Bozeman) and the University of Oregon (Eugene) have strong affiliations with collegiate athletics. This strong foundation lends itself to better traction for a program with student-athletes as influencers. Enter Kendall U.

How Kendall U Impacted the Kendall Brand

In 2021, when the NCAA passed the Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) regulations, granting permission to college athletes to receive endorsements; we recommended an Instagram influencer approach to Kendall to strategically build relationships with universities in their communities by leveraging NIL to feature college athletes as promoters of Kendall. This program, named Kendall U, has an undertone of the Kendall Cares mission of giving back while capitalizing on our athletes’ followers and loyal audiences. Relationships are formed with Kendall U athletes during the application process, interviews, and contract negotiation all the way through to campaign management.
For the past three years, Kendall U athletes have represented Montana State University in Bozeman and the University of Oregon in Eugene. Bozeman and Eugene are tight-knit communities laser-focused on collegiate athletics, which means the athletes are in the spotlight and under pressure to perform. To ease this burden, Kendall provides Kendall U athletes with a vehicle to take them to and from practice, classes, and any academic or athletic endeavors. Kendall then leverages the Instagram content developed on their behalf, gaining extra exposure to the athlete’s social audiences. Posting guidelines require athletes to provide a combination of content featuring their vehicle, local dealerships, and sporting Kendall U gear out in their community. When Kendall U athletes post on social media, an immediate connection is drawn between Kendall and collegiate athletics, further cementing the company’s commitment to the community and their team’s success.

“My partnership with Kendall has enhanced my life as a student-athlete by having a reliable vehicle that can get me to football practice, work, or wherever I need to go no matter the weather or circumstance.” – Brody Grebe, MSU Football

Many student-athletes apply to this highly competitive program, but only a select few are chosen. We’re proud to say that Heisman Trophy Finalist and Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year Bo Nix was a Kendall U athlete last season. Kendall U athletes must exemplify Kendall’s core values, also known as the Kendall Way, in their lives as student-athletes and representatives of the Kendall brand. Kendall U athlete Jordan Radick (MSU Volleyball) says she most connects with the value “Take ownership and be humble. I always try to own my actions and words. Being true to myself is very important to me.” In over three years of execution, we have expanded the program and seen incredible success across the activation markets and look forward to expanding Kendall U.

Starr Ranch Growers Influencer Campaign

Starr Ranch Growers (SRG) is a Pacific Northwest staple, growing, packing, and shipping fruit with a focus on apples, pears, cherries, and stone fruit. SRG was looking to gain real estate within grocery stores for a few of their proprietary apples. Their JUICI® apple had become popular in several markets throughout the nation but still had markets where growth was stagnant. Increasing consumer demand to drive store placement and understanding the obstacles to gaining real estate and obstacles to getting JUICI® into local stores was our challenge. The solution was to create an interest and curiosity in JUICI® strong enough to get consumers to request JUICI® from produce managers directly at their local grocery stores.

Our agency developed an influencer campaign targeting key markets nationwide. Specifically, we identified micro and mid-tier influencers that resonated with our target audience. Negotiating contracts and managing all content resulted in an impactful and cost-effective grassroots social media influencer campaign. We directed, shot, and designed every piece of the customized influencer packets, including recipes, an SRG introduction card, and influencer guideline cards, with posting requirements, photography guidelines, and hashtag recommendations.

Campaign Results

With 35 influencers across three cities, we garnered 221 influencer-created pieces of content about the JUICI® apple over six months. SRG also saw a 21% increase in new followers across all platforms. And the biggest win of all was that consumers started asking about JUICI® in their local grocery stores. Along with the relationships and business the SRG sales team was doing directly, the consumer demand we generated helped to successfully get JUICI® into three different grocery chains in identified markets where they previously had not been.
Want to start an influencer campaign? Get in touch.