Influencers, Sundance and the Best. Donut. Ever.

I recently took a trip to a little ole’ event. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? The sophisticated call it Sundance Film Festival. I call it the coldest, raddest amalgamation of Bravo-lebrities, brand activations and creative talent that ever was.

I was on the ground with Zeno client Kia Motors America to support activity taking place in Park City, Utah. The company was sponsoring the #KiaSupperSuite where I ate the most delicious donut I’ve ever eaten (from The ChurchKey—brioche, brown butter, cinnamon caramel, OMG), sat among the likes of Spike Lee, and worked with LA-based lifestyle blogger Mr. Kate.

The Kia Sorento and the Salt Lake City skyline (From Kia Motors USA on Instagram)

The Kia Sorento and the Salt Lake City skyline (From Kia Motors USA on Instagram)

Zeno helped Kia partner with the influencer behind Mr. Kate, and it proved to be a successful way to amplify Kia’s activity on the ground in Park City. Mr. Kate is powered by Kate Albrecht, a spunky, fearless and lively purveyor of contemporary design, fashion, lifestyle, DIY and entertaining content. Produced with impeccable taste and quality, Kate’s videos, images and posts reach over 530,000 followers across YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the Mr. Kate blog, where she also sells her own jewelry and merchandise.

Influencers are continuing to be increasingly important to brands as social media becomes more and more critical to getting in front of the right audience and reaching new people with interests brands want to tap into.

Social media masters like Mr. Kate are important for brands to align themselves with because they become a third-party supporter of the brand. Through their channels, they share their authentic, first-hand experience discovering the brand and/or its products, and their audience of trusting followers is introduced to genuine, fresh content that they are truly interested in. In this case, Kate was immediately struck with the interior of the Kia Sorento, posting about the car’s interior matching her trendy lip color.

When selecting an influencer to partner with, brands need to keep in mind that audience numbers don’t automatically link to influence. While a large social following is important, an audience of engaged and participatory followers is the crème de la crème, and one of the things that stood out to most to us when we first recommended a partnership with Kia and Mr. Kate—Mr. Kate’s audience is fast, involved and loyal. They trust Mr. Kate’s content, but most importantly, trust that Mr. Kate is going to provide them with true thoughts on brands and products.

Partnering with Mr. Kate was also a great opportunity for Kia to connect with audiences with fresh interests. It may have been more predictable for a car company to partner with social media experts with a focus on cars or related technology, or that since this activation was taking place during the Sundance Film Festival, for Kia to join with a film or media connoisseur. Kia saw this event as the right agent for making natural connections with consumers interested lifestyle and travel, leaving a picture-perfect opening for Mr. Kate.

Mr. Kate shared images and posts from her time in Park City across her social channels and kept her audience of engaged, vibrant and creative fans apprised of activities going on at the festival. This was a successful way to showcase how seamlessly the 2016 Kia Sorento fit in with Kate’s lifestyle of travel and inventiveness. On Instagram alone, Mr. Kate’s posts from her time with Kia achieved nearly 6,000 likes, strengthening the connection between her social followers and Kia.

12627893_1661798267417515_2083091108_nAll-in-all, the Kia Supper Suite activation in Park City was successful and partnering with Mr. Kate proved to be a creative way to extend the Kia’s social reach. I also found the experience completely refreshing and a nice alternative the usual “work” day. Last, I will leave you with a photo of the best thing I have ever eaten and no, I did not eat all of these (but I definitely would have).





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