One of the topics I explore throughout the book Winfluence – Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand is that everyone can be an influencer. In fact, the whole point of the book is to say that we need to focus on influence marketing (without the R) so we don’t fall into the trap of thinking we’re only talking about people with big follower counts on Instagram and YouTube.

In the book we talk about the circles of influence where I illustrate you can build influence strategies through your employees, you vendor partners and your customers.

AdoreMe.com uses customers as its influencers, intentionally turning influencer marketing on its head. Its creators community welcomes in passionate brand fans and rewards them with gift cards for more product purchases when they post about the brand to their social followings. 

You can have 10 followers and be an AdoreMe.com influencer.

Ranjan Roy is AdoreMe’s VP of Strategy. He joined me recently to explain the customer loyalist as influencer approach the company takes, why it evolved from experiments with larger audience influencers they didn’t find particularly effective and he answers the question of whether or not that kind of influencer strategy would work in other verticals.

We also dig into the really cool purpose-led brand that is AdoreMe, which is not the only unique thing about the company. Instead of finding ambassador or CRM software to fuel this Creator network, Ranjan and team built the software that fuels their program internally. So we talk about the challenge and opportunity of building your own mousetrap.

Give it a listen and then please, share it with someone who may enjoy the episode as well.

This episode of Winfluence, the podcast, is sponsored by Winfluence, the book! Get a special discount by clicking the button below, buying on the Entrepreneur Press bookstore and using the discount code FALLS20. That earns you 20% off the retail price, just for being a Winfluence (the podcast) listener. Read and learn why we’ve been backed into a corner to think influencer marketing means Instagram and YouTube and how reframing it to be “influence” marketing makes us smarter marketers.


Winfluence - Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand

Order Winfluence now!

This episode of Winfluence, the podcast, is sponsored by Winfluence, the book! Get a special discount by clicking the button below, buying on the Entrepreneur Press bookstore and using the discount code FALLS20. That earns you 20% off the retail price, just for being a Winfluence (the podcast) listener. Read and learn why we’ve been backed into a corner to think influencer marketing means Instagram and YouTube and how reframing it to be “influence” marketing makes us smarter marketers.


Winfluence Transcript – Ranjan Roy – Adore Me

Jason Falls
Hello again friends thanks for listening to Winfluence – The Influence Marketing Podcast. One of the topics I explore throughout the book Winfluence – Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand is that everyone can be an influencer. In fact, the whole point of the book is to say that we need to focus on influence marketing (without the R) so we don’t fall into the trap of thinking we’re only talking about people with big follower accounts on Instagram and YouTube. In the book we talk about the circles of influence where I illustrate you can build influence strategies through your employees, your vendor partners and your customers. AdoreMe.com uses customers as its influencers, intentionally turning influencer marketing on its head. Its Creators community welcomes in passionate brand fans and rewards them with gift cards when they post about the brand to their social followings. You can have 10 followers and be and adoreme.com influencer. Ranjan Roy is Adore Me’s VP of strategy. He joined me recently to explain the customer loyalist as influencer approach the company takes why it evolved from the experiments with larger audience influencers they didn’t find particularly effective. And he answers the question of whether or not that kind of influencer strategy would work in other verticals. We also dig into the really cool purpose led brand that is Adore Me, which is not the only unique thing about the company. Instead of finding Ambassador or CRM software to fuel this creator network. Ranjan and team built the software that fuels their program internally. So we talked about the challenge and opportunity of building your own mousetrap. Honestly, gang this is one of those brands doing things so uniquely, you’ll walk away from today’s episode and rethink how you approach influencers all together. Get ready to take notes Ranjan Roy is next on Winfluence.

Jason Falls
This is normally the point in the program where someone jumps in and says, “Support for today’s podcast …” Well support for today’s episode of Winfluence – The Influence Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Winfluence the book! Winfluence – Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand is available now from Entrepreneur Press. You can find it in bookstores everywhere, but I’ll have a special place to go online and get a discount in just a second so get ready to jot down a note. Winfluence the book is not just a strategic blueprint to help you employ smart influence marketing strategies for your business or clients. But it explains why our common perception of influencer marketing is all wrong. I take you through how to rethink and reframe the concepts to turn influencer marketing into influence marketing, broaden the perspective and open new avenues of leveraging influential people online and offline to grow your business. Here’s the special URL and discount code just for you the listeners of this podcast go to jason.online/buywinfluence. That’s jason.online/buywinfluence. That takes you to the book on the Entrepreneur Press bookstore, buy the book and use the code FALLS20 – all caps – F-A-L-L-S-2-0 and get 20% off the retail price. The address again is jason.online/buywinfluence. Leave a review on Amazon after you read it because select reviews will be read here on the show. Winfluence – Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand is available now. Go to jason.online/buywinfluence. and use the code FALLS20 today.

Jason Falls
Ranjan, I’m looking at your Instagram feed. Am I nuts here? Or is all your content sourced from influencers and customers?

Ranjan Roy
A good percentage of our content is sourced from influencers and customers.

Jason Falls
That’s good. So let’s set a baseline here so the audience knows what we’re talking about Adore Me is a lingerie company. I love that your about statement is that you empower women to embrace their uniqueness it’s very much a lingerie company and clothing line that you can easily see is unlike others because it celebrates all body body types. I’m obviously not your target customer myself, but as a non standard size person. I can appreciate that a lot. Why don’t you give us the elevator pitch on what Adore Me is. So we make sure that I haven’t missed anything here.

Ranjan Roy
Sounds good. So Adore Me is a DTC direct to consumer women’s wear brand, launched in 2011. And started with bras and lingerie, we were one of the first to sell bras and lingerie online. And we were also one of the first to introduce inclusive sizing to the category, very early on 2013 or so. Since then we’ve expanded into sleepwear, swimwear, activewear, covering a number of different categories. We’ve even been launching what we call sister brands, a number of kind of smaller brands, in different categories. So really, the the company’s grown up in the last decade, still a fashion startup at heart.

Jason Falls
I also noticed that you have an effort focused on creating sustainable products in particular, a 100% sustainable bra, which is apparently a challenge. Was this isn’t an initiative started internally? Or did you get that idea from customer feedback and explore it.

Ranjan Roy
This was internal, the 100% sustainable bras. So for reference that, you know, typical bra can have anywhere between 25 and 40 components, there’s all different types of material. So, so a bra outlet, which would just potentially just be cotton, is much more easy to kind of, you know, use organic cotton and call it a highly sustainable product, to start getting all those plastic clasps and wonder wire and padding, and everything. So for us kind of internally, it’s been this call to arms of sorts, that we’re all different parts of the organization are kind of working together, trying to create this idea of the 100%, sustainable broad, because again, the idea is if we can actually create a product that every single element of the bra is sustainable, you can apply that to any other type of apparel product.

Jason Falls
Interesting. Yeah, I noticed that and definitely wanted to ask about it. Because, you know, aside from the, you know, sort of appreciating all body sizes and shapes thing, I think it’s a really interesting angle for your company. All right. Now, let me let me get back to the intrigue of how you leverage influencers because that’s what we’re kind of here to talk about on this show. Anyway, I read somewhere that your big idea was to democratize influencer marketing for the company. Tell me what that means. And then let’s kind of get into how you do it.

Ranjan Roy
Yes, democratizing influencer marketing is definitely the at the root of the creator’s program. So so basically adore me, we’ve never been a celebrity driven brand. And especially in our category. Now when Rihanna Savage Fenty would be a competitor, you know, competing on celebrity has just never been something we’ve been great act or even tried to do too hard. But as influencer marketing rose in prominence, you know, in the mid 2010s, especially getting into the last few years, you know, we started dipping our toes, doing some big name work, not quite Rihanna level, but, you know, working with some mega influencers over a couple million followers doing proper contracts. And for us, on one side, we were not realizing the ROI. We’re a very data and metrics driven company. But then on the other, it just it did not feel true to the brand. Meanwhile, at the same time, we’ve been having more and more customers reach out to us saying, you know, they are aspiring influencers. Now they have started their own projects, they want to create content with Adore Me a brand that they love. So So trying to kind of balance those two out was really what spawned creators.

Jason Falls
So by influencer marketing, now, I think you’re basically saying everyone is an influencer, we’re not going to just create campaigns with those with big networks, we’re going to welcome anyone who wishes to share their love or passion for our products. And those are our influencers. Is that accurate?

Ranjan Roy
That is completely accurate. And actually, why we kind of started approaching it as a platform is pretty early on. Even from our marketing side, we tried to work with as many people as we could, but one of the people kind of first conceived of the idea of creators, they call it email, ping pong. And again, as a very metrics driven company, they did even a study over about six months of how many emails on average, it took to negotiate and kind of deliver even, you know, like $150 for one post, to a complete micro influencer. And it was 5.7 emails. So you know, so there’s this constant back and forth. And it’s just from a resource perspective, we can’t allocate or dedicate the time and that would take to let every single person be involved, but we want to allow as many people to be involved as possible.

Jason Falls
So I know you’ve got you know, a place on your website where these customer influencers can sign up to be a dormy creators the promise of providing content for the company, at least Based on the little call to action I saw was that you want them to tell stories and capture content from the comfort of their own home and get rewarded for it. So I guess the first question for, you know, a potential creator, and also for me is, what rewards are in there for the influencers, when they contribute to you?

Ranjan Roy
Yep. So right now, it’s just gift cards across dormy.com. And we’ve been expanding that to our other brands as well. But within the dormy family, its product and gift cards. And that’s actually been a key part of the platform so far, because we really wanted to make it where the only people that that’s gonna attract are just naturally fans of the product, people who want to buy it from the brand, and where the products and use the products and already have some affinity for the products, versus it just being a financial transaction, even if it’s, you know, a couple 100 bucks Max, still, the moment it becomes a purely financial transaction, we realize it changes the nature of the type of content being created, or the person’s motivation. So so that has definitely been kind of a core part of how we built the platform at this initial stage.

Jason Falls
Was there a concern when you built this and shifted to this say, let’s democratize you know, influence marketing and use our customers as our influencers? Was there much concern or much consternation over? Well, what if we get, you know, 100 people in here who have an average of 40 followers, and it really doesn’t have the scalability that we want? Was that ever on the table?

Ranjan Roy
Yeah, I mean, there’s always we want it to be valuable for everyone involved. But, but still, that again, that’s the beauty of when the reward is product. And the I mean, the creator is creating content using your products. Still, even if it’s only 40 followers, and they barely, you know, there’s no likes and engagement or anything. Still, that means that you have a happier customer out there in the world. So like absolute worst case, someone is now more connected to your brand than they were before. Then obviously, the better and better the case, the more and more other people are kind of watching, following engaging liking just traditional social media metrics. Sure.

Jason Falls
I guess another question that might surface for me. And I’ll ask both the audience and you Ranjan, to forgive me here a little bit. But I feel like I need to ask for forgiveness, since we’re two guys talking about a lingerie brand. But this this customer creator community is opt in from the from the Creator. But these women can post whatever they want. And their participation is tracked by them. I think tagging the brand, I assume. But you don’t really have content approval under that type of scenario. Are you worried at all that someone might post content that is, let’s say, crossing the lines of good taste?

Ranjan Roy
Yep. So So platform moderation, content, moderation clearly is a topic at the forefront of everything in technology right now. So I can promise you that is definitely been top of mind since early on for us. So So a couple things, when someone signs up. And basically you kind of link your Instagram account, your sign up for the platform, there is a very brief vetting process where a couple of the people on the creators team, they’ll just very quickly, you know, look through your profile. And again, we’re not trying to exclude anyone. But if there’s anything completely off brand, you know, they’re having or too far on the salacious or pornographic side, which we’ve encountered before, there’s definitely not everyone has been approved, because that’s exactly something that we do, think about and worry about. But in reality, we’ve encountered almost no problems to date. And again, obviously, with scale, these things could amplify. But it’s when they’re creating the content, the product is the reward. They have general creative freedom, but there’s some direction and instruction in terms of kind of themes and everything. People are just having fun with this, people are enjoying it. It’s still definitely in the at least honeymoon phase for now.

Jason Falls
That’s great. So I’d love to know a little bit more about the technology you’re using to make this all work I know adore me, at least from what I’ve read considers itself a technology company as well as a fashion or clothing company. We talked briefly before we started recording about the technology. You did not use a software solution off the shelf that’s out there that you could do this. And there’s literally hundreds of options out there. You built something custom. I wonder why that is.

Ranjan Roy
Yep. So one, our team is about 40% on the technology side, whether that comes in engineering product UX. So building things are something that feels more natural In general, but again, that whole building versus by question is always probably pertinent in many technology decisions. For us, we wanted to build something very specific we wanted, again, to enable that transaction of a gift card is generated, when your content is posted, and your new tag the brand, and it’s our system scans, and registers and automatically generates that gift card. So all of these things are really specific to our existing infrastructure, technology infrastructure. Again, you’re not going to unless you used some third party software to already generate your gift cards. And that is, you know, natively tied to whatever Ambassador platform you’re using. Like, there’s a number of different considerations are really specific details that can break along the way. So that that was a big driver, but then the other we’ve found, and I can, you know, like tell you about one of the things that’s already been happening, once you build that core technology product, other things happen, you learn other things, you see other opportunities. And for for context, word, Instagram preferred partner. So again, we have direct access to the API, which is how people actually can post directly, they’ll upload to the creators platform, and will post to Instagram. But also an added benefit is they see all the analytics on their posts directly on the creators platform. So we built nice little dashboards for everybody. Now, a micro influencer does not have access to traditional tools like Social Blade, or they’re just priced out of the those spaces. So we’ve already started seeing tremendous feedback, positive feedback around the depth, the analytics dashboard that we’re providing for the posts that they’re uploading through creators. And we see, alright, so this is an area, that micro influencers need some new tools, you know, like there just aren’t tools that have really been built for them. So that is the type of thing we’re working on more. And as we launch additional sister brands, scaling this platform to kind of reach all those different sister brands that are built internally and are part of the dormy group, you know, has been a technological challenge, but something we’ve built. But now we have discussed, you know, we’ve had inquiries from other brands. So maybe we’ve been talking about, especially brands, we kind of share values and align with potentially to start inviting them onto the platform as well.

Jason Falls
Yeah, my next question was going to be so when did was does adore me become a software company for for other brands to do that?

Ranjan Roy
It’s, I mean, I mean, obviously, the Amazons of the world are the inspiration in some ways, but But yeah, build building software that becomes valuable. Because again, you know, we have like, well over 100 million in revenue 350 plus employees, like, pretty good scale. So if we build software that solves really important problems for us, we know that that will be valuable, and to every DTC brand out there. That’s great.

Jason Falls
So let me pose this question to you as well, I think the success and the response rate you’re getting probably has a lot to do with not just a good product, but one that feels a need, that has an emotional effect on the audience. So women of various body shapes and sizes, quite frankly, have been ignored and overlooked by fashion brands. For centuries. The ones that have emerged in the last few years, like adore me seem to tap into that overlooked or even disrespected, audiences desire to be recognized. And suddenly, those brands have legions of passionate advocates, which you guys have obviously successfully tapped into, again, kudos to adore me and you guys for filling that need and recognizing that consumer. My question is this, if you Ranjan, were to move on to another company and sold power tools or makeup or kitchen appliances or furniture. Would this type of customer based influencer strategy work as well?

Ranjan Roy
That’s a great question. I do I do think so. And to me, I mean, there’s one side the specifics to the norm, you brand, the dormy relationship with their customers, as you said, inclusivity, especially from the size perspective is something central to the brand. But, you know, in so many ways, customer reviews and testimonials and kind of customer content is something that has driven a lot of online commerce since its inception. I mean, if you think about it, Amazon reviews now to me personally, they’re, they’re tough to navigate, and not as useful but you know, for a time they’ve really helped drive you know, drive conversion. And to us, it’s it’s just knowing that the customer is or the influencer in this case, is creating some kind of content, which will feel much, much more genuine than some big celebrity, just making some kind of like, glossy generic post. So it’ll already be much more effective. And to me now, if in the micro influencer world, you know, if you have 1000 5000 10,000 followers, chances are that they, your followers will have a closer relationship with you or look at you in a slightly different way that’s less detached, then if they’re following some mega celebrity. So I think it really is that testimonial aspect of the micro influencer posts would work in anything. Again, whether it’s laundry or power tools, or, you know, sportswear, whatever it is, I think having people with kind of niche dedicated communities and, and talking about the products you’re using and wearing, and love, I think is effective and important.

Jason Falls
Again, absolutely love the purpose and focus on empowering women and finding sustainability innovations in the space as well. adore me is filling some needs out there that had been needed for a long time. I applaud you for that for sure. Where can people find you online if they’d like to connect? And then where can people go to learn more about adore me or even become creators?

Ranjan Roy
Yep. So you can go to a dormy.com to shop and see our entire suite of products. If you go to creators.dormy.com you can sign up to be a creator. And I can definitely put my provide you my LinkedIn URL and people can find me on there and happy to connect with anyone interested.

Jason Falls
Awesome. We’ll make sure that link and all those links are in the show notes and whatnot. Ranjan thank you so much for spending some time with us here. I really appreciate you sharing your sharing your unique approach to influencers.

Ranjan Roy
Thank you very much, Jason.

Transcribed by otter.ai

The Winfluence theme music is “One More Look” featuring Jacquire King and Stephan Sharp by The K Club found on Facebook Sound Collection.


Winfluence - Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand

Order Winfluence now!

This episode of Winfluence, the podcast, is sponsored by Winfluence, the book! Get a special discount by clicking the button below, buying on the Entrepreneur Press bookstore and using the discount code FALLS20. That earns you 20% off the retail price, just for being a Winfluence (the podcast) listener. Read and learn why we’ve been backed into a corner to think influencer marketing means Instagram and YouTube and how reframing it to be “influence” marketing makes us smarter marketers.

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