Ron Robinson has joined Influence Nation as managing director in a move anticipating the influencer agency’s acquisition of his company BeautyStat.
A veteran of Estée Lauder, Revlon, L’Oréal and Avon, Robinson brings extensive beauty expertise, and deep brand and influencer relationships to three-month-old Influence Nation, a subsidiary of digital media firm Direct Focus Online boasting a roster of over 3,000 social-media influencers globally spanning an array of verticals, including personal care, fashion, food, health, fitness, home, technology and travel. BeautyStat has amassed a network of roughly 500 American beauty influencers.
“I have been engrossed in beauty in the U.S. market. Now, I have been totally opened up to literally a new world of beauty globally, and my thinking is more on a global scale,” said Robinson. “If we are working with a brand that is U.S.-based, but is working globally, I’m able to produce content to engage many markets.” Reflecting brands’ interest in leveraging influencer campaigns worldwide, Influence Nation’s team of around 20 people is stretched across New York, Miami, Vancouver, Toronto, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Manila.
Forty-nine percent of the influencers Influence Nation has partnered with are located abroad, and 85 percent of them are female. The agency has digital heavy-hitters in its ranks such as those using the handles @di1ara (1.1 million Instagram followers) and @chaileeson (401,000 Instagram followers), but takes the long view of social-media fame and nurtures influencers with smaller followings to improve their posts and enhance their connections to brands to multiply earnings.
“We have a great database of micro-influencers who we help shape, and we give them opportunities to create content,” said Robinson. “Some agencies might not have the grooming aspect that we have. We cultivate them, and help them grow their audiences and engagement to work with bigger and bigger brands.”
Eager to embrace a role that extends beyond beauty, Robinson emphasized Influence Nation’s broad approach to verticals reflects a mounting understanding on the part of influencers and brands that consumers don’t limit their social-media intake to specific subject matters. He noted, for instance, that an airline company might find beauty or fashion influencers appropriate deliverers of their messages to appeal to a female demographic with disposable income.
“What we are seeing is influencer content being more organic and not solely focused on one vertical. We are seeing a fusion of verticals, if you will. We don’t live our lives using one item or one type of service, and some of what we are creating now from a content perspective crosses multiple verticals,” said Robinson. “When we talk to brands like Hewlett-Packard or Sony, for example, they may want to attract a male, tech-y customer, but they also want fashion meets tech and beauty meets tech. They want to have incremental growth in terms of their audience.”
Robinson introduced BeautyStat, where he remains chief executive officer, in 2009 as a platform to link users with personalized beauty products and disseminate a popular blog. In the years since its launch, it honed a beauty influencer specialty. Among the clients BeautyStat executed digital campaigns for are Laura Geller, Procter & Gamble, Amazon, Ulta Beauty, Unilever, Ahava, Stila Cosmetics and Walgreens. With Influence Nation in the process of acquiring BeautyStat, Robinson mentioned incoming business will be shifting to the influencer agency.