Written by Megan Good
You trust them and sometimes you wish you were them. Influencers are everywhere, and the most successful ones are successful for a reason. When it comes to being a top influencer, branding takes the cake. Every top influencer has branded themselves authentically and has brand loyalty with their audience.
Sometimes the best way to learn is through examples, so let’s take a look at what I consider the top 5 influencer brands of 2020 and why.
Huda Kattan @hudabeauty – With over 48 million Instagram followers, it’s safe to say Huda is a very successful social media influencer. This year, Vogue along with other fashion and beauty sources pointed out how her company, Huda Beauty, has topped all other cosmetic brands (including MAC and Kylie Cosmetics) for the most in-demand cosmetic line.
What has made Huda Beauty so popular? Huda’s social media has become widely popular and accepted as a standard in the world of cosmetics by posting content in which she is an expert: makeup tutorials, satisfying skin care videos, and high-quality images of stunning makeup. In addition, as social and political times have evolved, the Huda Beauty brand has always been inclusive of all different kinds of people. As this element of the brand is authentic, it can accent this brand pillar without drawing attention and, therefore, protect itself from backlash.
John Krasinski @johnkrasinski– In early 2020, the US shut down a wide majority of the country to combat the spread of COVID-19. Between the nation’s health and worries of the economy, actor John Krasinski knew exactly what we all needed. On March 29th, John’s YouTube show Some Good News premiered. This ad-free show featured John in his home office as a makeshift news anchor, wearing every day zoom attire (i.e. sans work pants), and sporting a crayon logo drawn by his children. The premise: to showcase heartwarming and relatable stories from around the world.
In the hands of another actor, the show may not have been so successful. Why? Krasinski is known for being down-to-earth, personable, and downright hilarious. With his personal identity infused into the show from every level, from the stories highlighted to the artistic direction, the audience grew exponentially. His authenticity boosted the show’s positive message thereby becoming genuinely uplifting to the audience. Some Good News was so effortless, the internet show ended up in a network bidding war and was ultimately sold to CBS after just eight episodes.
Gary Vaynerchuk @garyvee – Gary Vaynerchuk is an innovator. He has become a leader in using the internet as a money-making device. He is the chairman of VaynerX and the CEO of VaynerMedia which provides Fortune 100 clients with advertising services. With a net worth of $160 million, Gary uses his platform to inspire others in search of the American dream. His YouTube features inspirational speeches for his 2.9 million subscribers and his social media accounts are full of motivational images. With Gary’s backstory of hard work and entrepreneurship, he has branded himself by building this genuine American dream and continues to use that brand to inspire others who may be trying to follow that same path.
Dwayne Johnson @therock - The Rock has had an expansive career, from football to wrestling to acting, and this year he added a new tequila line, Teremana, to his growing list of companies. Johnson, a household name, is no stranger to brand personality and identity. The name Teremana, meaning spirit of the earth, was chosen specifically to accent his Polynesian roots.
Even though this year was hard for established businesses, let alone one just starting, Teremana was able to break through the 2020 curse. With liquor store sales rising over 33%, Johnson sold more that 300,000 units in nine months. Between his reputable name and brand identity, and the fact that Americans were drinking more from home than at bars this year, Teremana has proven to be a hugely successful spinoff brand.
Cristiano Ronaldo @cristianoronaldo – What is it about this soccer player that incites so much interest? He has hundreds of millions of followers and makes around $750,000 per sponsored post. Obviously, his brand started by becoming one of the best soccer players in the world. His first and most important job is his role as a world class athlete. The attributes from that role are then shared with other areas of his life and business like being a family man and selling his clothing brand.
Ronaldo is particularly good at maintaining loyalty from his audience because he remains dedicated to the one thing that made everyone fall him love with him first – soccer. He regularly posts training tips and videos, and even his website is focused on his stats and athletic career before the products being sold. This shows his fans that his priority is soccer and not selling t-shirts which makes them love him even more.
Having passion and purpose for what you are doing, being authentic and honest about who you are and what your brand stands for and standing out in the marketplace are important to becoming a successful influencer. These influencers have mastered transparency and innovation thereby creating sustainable brands we will be watching for years to come. If they hold on to the core identities that resonate with their audiences and find unique ways to stay relevant, we just may see them back on our list for 2021.
Did we miss a power brand that should have made the list? Let us know in the comments!
Until next time...find me on IG and Twitter at @TheLauraBull and on FB at @LauraBullBranding