Engaging with Social Media Influencers to reach your audience and build your brand

This is an event in the On your Marks Networking series taking place at Leeds University Business School on Friday 10 May 2019

Continuing our innovative series drawing on expert speakers from both M&S and the University of Leeds, an expert panel will explore how brands are engaging with social media influencers as a PR channel to reach new customers and promote their brand.

Kendi Guntai (Leeds University Business School) and Charlotte Alport (Head of PR - M&S Menswear, Plan A & Planning) will be joined by Jamie MacAlister one of the new Marks and Spencer insiders who have just launched as brand representatives on social media. They'll be sharing their views on being an influencer for M&S.

About the speaker

Dr Kendi Guntai, Marketing Division, Leeds University Business School

Dr Guantai’s career started in her home country of Kenya, where she worked in hospitality, horticulture, civil society and government. In 2005, she joined the Business School for a master’s degree in Advertising and Marketing. With a keen interest in public communication, Dr Guantai proceeded to pursue a PhD with a focus on public sector corruption and its role in shaping the relationship between the donor community and donor recipient countries. Consequently, she chose to resign from her job at the Kenya Revenue Authority, where she was Head of Customer Services and joined the Marketing Division of her alma mater as an academic. In her current role, she leads post-graduate courses in Corporate Communication and Reputation Management. Passionate in her endeavour to inspire others to achieve exceptional results and make a discernible contribution to society, Dr Guantai was recognised as the ‘Most Inspiring Tutor’ by students in 2018 and went on the receive the Deans Award for Teaching Excellence earlier this year.

Working with corporates is something Dr Guantai relishes, and she particularly enjoys supervising consultancy projects carried out by post-graduate students over summer. She is also responsible for the Marketing Division's partnership with the International Association for Business Communicators (IABC) and is currently in the process of designing a module on Corporate Communications to be offered as part of the Executive Education programme.

In her talk, she will draw from her own research as well as that of her students, to explore how social media influencers can help organisations to better target and build more meaningful connections with stakeholders.

Charlotte Allport, Head of PR - Menswear, Plan A & Planning

Charlotte has worked as a Fashion PR for over 12 years. She has worked in the M&S press office for most of her career looking after areas including Menswear, Kidswear and Sustainability, as well as working on strategy and planning for the wider team. Day to day activity includes generating positive media coverage and third-party advocate support aligned to business strategy. Work with influencers ranges from brand ambassadors, journalists, stylists, bloggers, radio and TV presenters, industry experts, celebrities and social media influencers.

Charlotte will discuss the types of influencers the press office works with, different types of engagement and output, as well as examples of how influencers can bring your brand and stories to life. Practical tips on how to identify relevant influencers for your brand and objectives, best practise, tailoring approaches, logistics, regulations and how to build an influencer plan will be covered. Live examples will be showcased to illustrate inspirational influencer content. Internal engagement, maximising communication across own channels, building ongoing relationships and networks, analysis and reporting will conclude.   

Jamie MacAlister, M&S Influencer and Brand & Marketing Manager - Menswear

Jamie has worked in retail, utilities and third sector marketing for 13 years, crossing various disciplines including brand strategy, direct marketing, above the line advertising and CRM. He recently became an M&S Insider, tasked with showing the broad range and appeal of the menswear offering while connecting with the new core M&S customer. Jamie will discuss his experience as a new influencer, the role that he plays in building relationships with his followers and his past experience in marketing that's enabling him to drive commercial and brand success for M&S.