BYGMusic Founder and CEO Krish Sharma was invited last week to speak at the Brand Innovators conference and the BYG team attended three days of speaking events across Los Angeles.

After hearing from some of the top brand marketers in the business today, including Mattel, Taco Bell, Airbnb, Honda and many others, one thing was abundantly clear: advocacy and influencer marketing strategies are more top of mind than ever and these channels are becoming key pillars that support major national campaigns, with content tailored to individual platforms.

Some of the top takeaways:


Keynote speaker Tracy Keim, Vice President, Consumer Marketing and Brand & Education at DNA genetic testing and analysis company 23andMe shared a case study of one of their most innovative recent campaigns and touched on the importance of going as deep as possible into data insights to find your “aha” moment.

She challenged the audience not to disregard what she called “Marketing 101” tactics such as a sweepstakes (as she jokingly made gagging sounds on stage), but to embrace them by finding the right insights and channels to bring your message to life.

As part of a multichannel campaign, the forward-thinking company ran a sweepstakes to give away 23 trips around the world in 23 days. The insight was based on customers not only wanting to know where they came from, but to understand the places they could go. To bring the idea life, 23andMe supplemented a comprehensive TV and digital campaign with travel influencers to help build brand and campaign awareness among the wanderlusters and adventure seekers they were targeting as customers.


Cheryl Gresham, VP, Global Media & Marketing Integration at Mattel, along with each of the speakers on the The Future of Media: Social, Mobile, & Emerging Platforms panel, talked about how critical it is for brands to have influencer marketing as an integrated part of their overall strategy. Gresham also talked about the importance of content strategy, and remaining timely and relevant to your audience on social by having your finger on the pulse of what they are consuming. One example she used is Mattel’s use of parenting and food influencers who have emulated the wildly viral “Tasty-style” how-to baking videos to show fans how to make a Barbie cake.


Jasmine Atherton, Airbnb’s head of Social for the Americas, went through the travel giant’s five pillars of content, which consist of Episodic Content, User Generated Content, #NotYetTrending (a series dedicated to destinations that are off the beaten path), Produced Content, and Right Time Content (topical and newsworthy – but brand appropriate – events).

Many of today’s most innovative brands in marketing, including Airbnb, are tapping into the undiscovered to offer their audience real value (and in some cases, aspiration). They successfully accomplish this by positioning themselves alongside breakthrough creators, places and experiences.

UGC accounts for a whopping 95% of the brand’s content. By leveraging personal stories directly from hosts and guests, Airbnb turns its own fans into social advocates, expanding its reach exponentially. The very nature of the brand and its focus on global travel editorial and authentic human experiences requires them to tap into the stories of real people and influencers.  


For a conference agenda that was jam packed with industry thought leaders, it was interesting to hear the same challenges being discussed in unique ways, but with many common themes. Influencer marketing, content, emerging platforms and authenticity – be it the brand’s own, or through advocates and influencers – are words we heard a lot of over the course of the three days. Thank you again to Brand Innovators for having us. We hope to be back again next time!