Friday, January 26, 2018


This continues to be a hot topic, and it will continue to be so long as brand CEOs, managers and marketing folks keep dipping into the till to pay off popular boys and girls in the hopes of being relevant to the Millennial demographic. 

It has now seeped so far into the public awareness that various sources beyond the Urban Dictionary are defining it.


1A person or thing that influences another.
‘he was a champion of the arts and a huge influencer of taste’
‘genetic factors are key influencers of your metabolic rate’
‘Frank's been a teacher and cultural influencer for years’
1.1Marketing A person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media.
‘influencers can add serious credibility to your brand’

Ultimately, brands will push the envelope as far as they can until the FTC or the public at large gets tired of the never-ending game of Manchurian Candidate Kabuki theater that is the "influencer trade".  It is false, it is deceptive and it is manipulative.  And I would like to think that the powers that be could be a little less disingenuous (lacking in frankness, candor, or sincerity; falsely or hypocritically ingenuous; insincere: Her excuse was rather disingenuous.).

But I'd like to propose that the guys and gals writing the checks at HQ consider a different way to go about this whole influencer thing.  Now back at the turn of the century, there were a few people out there who were influencers before such a thing existed.  And they did it in a way that was honest, forthright, and understandable.

While it is very true that Hublot became a sensation through the tireless work of Jean-Claude Biver, there was another guy who made Hublot and its story his passion, which then became his career.  While Mr. Biver can be thought of as the father of Hublot, in many ways Mr. Margolis is the American uncle.  This did not simply happen because Mr. Margolis demanded several thousand dollars to feature Hublot in his communication.  It happened because Mike was passionate about Hublot, and his passion was contagious.  And here is the key thing - YES - he became an employee of Hublot - but that did not make his passion any less real, or his communication any less honest.  In many ways it did just the opposite.  It was a way of saying - yes, I work for these folks but I'm also a fan.  And I am going to go to every event, pour coffee, shake hands and kiss babies to spread the word because I believe in it.  

It is safe to say that in many ways Mike was the prototypical brand evangelist for the watch industry.   And I think that is the way many watch buyers and fans would like to see things evolve.  

An instafamous influencer is a gun for hire.  While they may appear in a brand's SIHH video with other instafamous influencers, they will then turn around and cash the check for yet another brand to feature them in their social media feeds.  So if you bought brand X based on the desire to be like them, you will then not be like them in next week's instagram feed ; )

Guy Kawasaki became Apple's evangelist.  And in his way he did as much (and in some cases more) than Steve Jobs in spreading the good word.

At a time where things are in flux, the industry does not need more bullshit.  It needs more transparency.  And it needs some sincere people who are truly passionate about what they are promoting, not merely bottom feeding for the next instafamous check.

Bring back the evangelists!

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