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Jules Lund hopes to create micro-endorsement marketing model with influencer app Tribe

Tribe logoRadio and TV presenter Jules Lund is set to launch a new app this week which he says could create a new “micro-endorsement model” allowing marketers to harness everyday influencers as well as celebrities.

Lund, who currently hosts The Scoopla on Southern Cross Austereo’s Hit Network, has raised more than $750,000 from investors and assembled a team of startup veterans to bring Tribe to life, with the app set to be lodged with the App Store this week.

“Now the connection economy is in full swing we’ve got the greatest opportunity in history to drive word of mouth marketing at scale,” he told Mumbrella editor Alex Hayes in a podcast.

The app will see brands posting their campaign requirements to the platform and set a fee for a post before allowing influencers – people with more than 5,000 followers on certain social media platforms – to pitch posts in response to the briefs.

tribe guide app

Lund said the idea would create a new pay per post market that “doesn’t exist at the moment” and could create a “micro-endorsement” marketing model, adding while bloggers and vloggers have to sit down with a brand to talk about campaigns “no-one’s going to have a meeting over a $300 post”.

Tribe has identified 250,000 people in Australia with more than 5,000 followers on either Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, a group Lund described as “the power middle”.

On why he thought more brands would be interested in using the platform he said: “You talk about ad blocking at the moment – there’s going to be an enormous rush to content marketing and yet no-one knows how to talk to the people that are creating that from an influencer point of view. They’re going to run down the same channels and go to those same agencies.”

Tribe founder: Lund

Tribe founder: Lund

The idea was spawned from Lund’s own experience working with Southern Cross Austereo’s digital team when he would be asked to create extra content for clients.

“All I wanted was a simple brief that gave me the handles, the thought starters and I would be able to submit content and they would be able to approve it and suggest changes, so I created an app. Then I realised it had the potential to be scalable,” he said.

While more brands are dabbling with influencer marketing Lund admitted there are still challenges in the space, especially around authenticity, fake followers and demographics.

Around authenticity he said: “Your audience regulates that. Very simply if you reap more than you sow you start to corrode the very trust you seek to monetise it, and if you abuse it you’ll have nothing left.”

But he admitted they were still working on ways to drill down on audience demographics and detecting people with fake followers – although he said they were easier to spot by a lack of engagement for people who have a large reach on their posts.

Lund said he hoped to get more brands to put influencer marketing in the mix when they are apportioning budgets, putting more money into the sector.

Tribe CEO: Svirskis

Tribe CEO: Svirskis

While Lund came up with the original concept for the app Tribe now has a team including former Shoply general manager Anthony Svirskisas CEO, as well as ANZ’s head of social segment Jane Martino, digital entrepreneur Matt Berriman, Hamish & Andy’s producer Sam Cavanagh and Havas Worldwide’s strategy director David Gillespie as advisors.

Lund would not name specific investors but said they included media companies and media executives, one of the most successful influencers in Australia and business heads from agencies. “We didn’t have trouble getting money it was about picking and choosing the right strategic investors who could offer the right resource above and beyond the money,” he added.

In the interview admitted the last six months getting the app off the ground had been the “hardest of my life” as he got to grips with various aspects of the business world, but said getting a team on board had helped him immensely.

Asked why they had chosen to roll out as an app rather than a web platform Lund said it was a strategic decision as influencers “live and breathe” apps more than websites around social.

On what the ambitions were for the company he added: “We don’t see ourselves as anything other tan a tech platform, building software to solve workflow issues. Is that scalable, yes, but we’re going to just try and capture this region and then we’re happy to move wherever.”

Lund also confirmed to Mumbrella is contracted with Southern Cross Austereo until the end of 2016.

Alex Hayes

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