The Best Influencer Marketing Campaign of 2018?

One of Britain’s best loved retailers made a bold move earlier this year to buck the high street retail decline through an unprecedented rebrand. Enter, John Lewis & Partners. A rebranding that puts the store’s infamous customer service and expertise at the heart of the brand and communicates a genuine reason-to-believe (RTB) for customers.

 

The rebrand could be seen playing out through ads, in-store, online – you name it. However, it was on Instagram where the new branding really caught our attention through the use of the hashtag #WeArePartners. A campaign that’s part social media, part influencer marketing, part employee engagement, this simple mechanic encourages John Lewis Partners to upload a photo showing life as a Partner (and naturally, products too).

 

Fast forward a few months, and you only need to have a look at the #WeArePartners Instagram feed to see that this has caught the imagination of its employees across the country. Whether JL&P are incentivising the best posts through gift vouchers, free product, or even extra company shares doesn’t really matter. What they’ve managed to create is an incredibly proud, engaged workforce (slash co-owners) to promote their products in an authentic way to their friends and family.

 

 

Trust through Transparency

 

Running a campaign like this isn’t without its risks, but the very nature of the partnership places a huge amount of trust in the relationship and means you’re unlikely to find any Partner’s content going too rogue. What’s more surprising is that John Lewis & Partners link to the unmoderated hashtag directly from their website. As anyone who’s worked on a social media campaign will be all too familiar with, the risk of a branded hashtag getting trolled by a hater/competitor/wannabe comedian is always lurking, so this bravery shouldn’t be overlooked.

 

The majority of #WeArePartners content posters clearly state their JL&P affiliation in their Insta bio, so this type of ‘inside out’ employee marketing is also a smart way of circumnavigating the ASA/CAP influencer marketing regulations – as technically they’re just employees posting about the day job (albeit in a ‘grammable lifestyle space).

 

For all the upcoming marketing hype around the ‘John Lewis Christmas Ad’ and whether it’ll deliver emotionally and commercially, we’d hedge our bets on #WeArePartners being an award-winning influencer campaign any day.