To answer that, let me talk about the Victory & Reseda X Lexus project before you start calling me a “sell-out” and stop reading this website.
As I mentioned before in the last article, I was approached by the agency representing the Lexus brand to participate in this social media-driven “influencer” project that bridges the brand’s hybrid drive models with the activities of Earth Month. Granted, I did my activity the month after Earth Month (normally coinciding with Earth Day in April), we figured we should get this project handled sooner than later.
This project moved pretty fast, and I needed to get a lot accomplished while the subject was still relevant. We secured the vehicle for the project, then mapped out places to go for dining, shopping, as well as scoping out the source of this story, farms.
As I was ramping up this project, one interesting thought made me giggle. The word “influencer” is something that makes a lot of my colleagues groan and grit their teeth. They are not real journalists, they say!
Upon putting on the mirror labelled ”influencer,” I giggled because I do not fit the mold of most “influencers.” I’m a 57-year-old Caucasian, Jewish-born, cis-gender male who happens to be gay, chubby-ish, and a former “Bear.”
Come to think of it, I could be some sort of “influencer.” I do represent a cultural community, possibly a subculture of said cultural community, and is a middle-aged person who also happen to be part of another demographic – members of the American Association of Retired Persons.
Granted, these demographic groups vary in representation. There are plenty of Caucasian cis-gender male “influencers” representing that demographic. How many of them are of a larger body type? How many of them could be identified as a “Bear?” How many of them are over the age of 50?
How many of them have been in the automotive space for over a decade? Let alone working in the LGBT media space for two decades?
Maybe these are the reasons why I was chosen for this project representing the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota.
When you are presented with an opportunity such as this, you want to do your best to follow the parameters of this project and deliver content that engages and interests the audience and the project’s stakeholders. That’s how it is supposed to work.
In putting this all together, I had to swallow my pride and let go of a few things in order to accomplish the outputs of this project. Meanwhile, I maintained a few aspects of what put me on someone’s radar at Lexus – storytelling through words and visuals, my own curiosity, and the want of doing something out of my usual routine.
With that said, I believe I accomplished this project the best way I possibly can.
What have I learned from this project? Let me pivot these to you as sage advice. Understand how demographics truly work when bridging a product with a lifestyle. Embody the experience within the story. Be open to new ideas and different approaches and opinions about the subject matter. Don’t let the setbacks deter you from accomplishing your goals. And, have fun doing it!
One more thing: Always engage. Except when you’re dealing with bots and trolls. You really don’t want to engage with them…
These are not exclusive to the influencer realm. They actually work in in similar spaces, such as marketing, communications, media, customer service, hospitality, and so forth.
Yesterday, the outputs were sent to the main stakeholders. Right now, it’s business as usual.
There is one thing I missed mentioning here. Lexus was the right choice to partner with this project. This would be the result of ten years working with their vehicles towards the publication of content based on them. It has been a great decade working with the brand and this opportunity is seen as part of this site’s tenth anniversary celebration.
A huge thanks to everyone involved from Lexus, including their agency and press fleet partners. Also, a huge thanks to you for following along on this journey from farm to table, including all things that pertain to a sustainable lifestyle.
Onward to the next adventure in automotive media content creation…
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle and expenses pertaining to this story were provided by Toyota Motor North America
All photos by Randy Stern