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An Influencer Evolution, Starring the NFL (Taylor’s Version)

By Gillian Janicki and Logan Trautman for PRNews

In the dynamic world of marketing and brand promotion, the traditional approach to influencer partnerships is evolving. Conventional influencer relations strategy involves identifying and collaborating with influencers deeply rooted in a particular niche, such as food, travel or fashion. However, an alternative approach is emerging—one that involves partnering with influencers genuinely interested in your brand, even if their audience might not traditionally align with your product or service.

What’s currently the best example of this trend? Let’s examine Taylor Swift and her unexpected impact on the NFL. Taylor’s loyal, curious and engaged following, traditionally Gen Z and millennial women, were certainly not the NFL’s target demographic before this season. However, with sparks flying between Taylor and the Kansas City Chiefs’s Travis Kelce, the national FOX broadcast that first featured Taylor at a Chiefs game was the highest-rated NFL game of the week among women in three different age demographics, according to FOX Sports. Since then, a survey from LendingTree revealed a 13 percent overall increase of interest in football, with a particularly significant rise among Gen Z and millennials.

Capitalize on Unexpected Influence

Although this partnership between the NFL and Taylor Swift was not planned, the NFL needed to seize the opportunity while it was timely and relevant. (After all, Taylor and Travis could have broken up before the next Chief’s game, right?) The NFL took its first step by adapting its social media bios to incorporate Taylor Swift’s influence and has since continued to publish posts featuring Taylor cheering for Travis and, most recently, embracing him after his AFC championship game. This move signifies a shift towards embracing new fans and transitioning them to committed followers.

The ripple effect of strategic, unexpected partnerships extends beyond a single collaboration. By focusing on building continued interest with a new audience and then loyalty, brands like the NFL can expect a continued return on their investment—in this case, approximately $331.5 million. These collaborations can also raise the profiles of original brand ambassadors. It’s safe to say that Travis Kelce was previously unknown to thousands of Americans who may not have been football fans, who now use his name in regular conversation.

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