Social Tip

Watt turning everyone into influencer through new venture

James Watt
James Watt: innovative technology

Scottish entrepreneur James Watt, co-founder of beer giant BrewDog, wants to turn everyone into an influencer through his new business venture.

Mr Watt says his Social Tip venture, which he unveiled earlier this month, will shake up the £24 billion influencer market.

It will adapt word-of-mouth marketing ito the digital age and he says several high-profile clients have signed up as launch partners.

The start-up is launched weeks after the controversial brewer said he was stepping down as chief executive of BrewDog to focus on new projects.

Social Tip is an app that will “make anyone an influencer” by paying cash to anyone who posts nice comments about a brand. Depending on the reach and quality of their subsequent social media posts they can get back up to 10% of the initial purchase price.

Critics say it will not encourage objective reviews and will lead to waves of positive messages by those simply looking for the cash rewards, ultimately leaving the reviews meaningless.

Keely Theron, business development director at Fuelled, said on LinkedIn: “I believe Social Tip will quickly devolve into a mass of positive reviews for all affiliate brands and the consumer looking for truthful reviews will have no way to separate fact from greed.”

However, one marketing consultant posted: “Given that 90% of all purchases are inspired by recommendations, and with audiences quickly losing trust in conventional influencer marketing, he’s definitely onto something.

“Social Tip could be a total game-changer for a relatively untapped and powerful form of CGC and marketing.”

Launch brand partners include pet food brand Azio Beauty, Bella & Duke, Dash Water, PureGym, Slug & Lettuce, and Tallow + Ash. Also signed up is Wild Pack, a raw pet food provider started by the influencer and entrepreneur Georgia Toffolo, 29, who has been Watt’s partner since last year.

Mr Watt has invested £1 million of his own money but is looking to other investors. He intends to retain a stake of about 80%.

He is assisted by Thomas Matecki, former chief technology officer of Zilch, billed as the fastest fintech to reach double unicorn status, and Georgia Lee, former MD of premium food delivery service Supper.

“This is good old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing, but amplified for the digital age, and scalable through our innovative technology,” said Mr Watt.

“The most powerful marketing we ever had for BrewDog had nothing to do with us. It wasn’t the stunts, and it certainly wasn’t advertising. It was everyday people sharing their love for our products. With Social Tip, we want to release the power of authentic brand love, so that fans get meaningful rewards for posting about their favourite brands, businesses and experiences.”

He said that the traditional influencer marketing has always had a credibility problem. “No-one believes that celebrities or the biggest TikTokers and YouTubers just happen to be really into a brand” he said.

“That’s why the power of conventional influencer endorsement is limited and dwindling. Give me a choice between paying thousands of pounds to a social media personality to fake love my brand, or rewarding masses of genuine, loyal fans, and it’s no contest.”

The venture is being backed by UK tech investment fund Haatch, whose co-founder Fred Soneya said: “Our attraction to investing in Social Tip is threefold; trust in paid advertising continues to fall, rewarding verified purchasers who share on social creates significant ROI for the brand whilst continuing to build loyalty with customers, and backing the B2B Platform which is distributed by the largest brands is the scalable strategy.

“With James at the helm, we’re excited to support Social Tip to become the first and fastest growing platform rewarding true UCG backed by verified purchases.”

“With James at the helm, we’re excited to support Social Tip to become the first and fastest growing platform rewarding true [user-generated content] backed by verified purchases,” he said.

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