Friday, September 23, 2011

Start-Up Watch COD: flavorpill creates a locally centered influencer community focused on culture

As the focus of marketing continues to shift from mass focused to influencer driven, it’s natural that we are seeing more and more communities expressly created for the purpose of attracting and connecting with influencers.
One of the most interesting such communities is flavorpill, a city-centered local activities resource with emphasis on more erudite people and experiences. flavorpill uses a blog like format to publicize some of the most interesting and diverse activities in major metros. They cover cultural events of all sorts, art exhibits, books and readings, films, outdoor activities, and more. It’s the eclectic nature of the content that makes it such an interesting venue.
Influencers are tough to please, but it appears that the editors of Flavorpill have a good insight into what makes this group tick. Rather than prescribing a rigid format and content guideline, the site enables the viewer to see a diverse range of activities with an emphasis on interesting and unusual.
The site also recognizes that there are influencers in a variety of walks of life. Because of this you can find decidedly mature items and events juxtaposed to activities for families and kids. In addition to professional editors, the site also invites members to submit items and events that they think will interest the community.
The roots of the site were in an email list of people searching for great things to do. Their work has expended as their audience has grown.
I would imagine that it is rather difficult to attract and retain an audience of influencers – they are, after all, people who set trends rather than following them. The incredible variety of activities listed on these city sites is key to their appeal.
As you consume more and more of the content on these sites, you become aware that they are trying to do a great deal more than package up an audience. For them, curation is a critical element of the value proposition. They want to focus on the best. Apparently the model holds strong appeal – they have more than 2 million regular users.
They break another one of the emerging “rules” of online communities – everyone that writes for flavorpill is compensated. In fact, they are incented to drive page views. Here’s a video that talks about the core concept of the site. Note that they have added additional sites since this was recorded.
For brands, the site network offers a variety of sponsorship opportunities from standard banners to video, page wraps, and deeper sponsorships including branded content. Local events and businesses are also able to offer giveaways as a means of publicizing activities to this influential audience.
If you’re looking for a way to attract an eclectic and hip urban influencer audience, give them a look!

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