San Francisco Bay Area-based influencer marketing agency, CLEVER believe advertising, as we know it, is on its way out. In a world where Photoshopped images are plastered to every surface in the city, it is difficult to imagine something a little more... real. Well, Clever is out to make that happen.
CLEVER began in 2009, a pivotal point when the PR industry and influencers were trying to figure out how to work with each other in the most professional way. "Our founders had the unique perspective of working with both sides," explains Justin Robinson, Clever's Talent and Operations Director. "We saw an opportunity to help influencers and businesses be successful. From there we've built a business where we can help Fortune 500 companies do the same thing: get their message to the best influencers who can experience and share their products with engaged communities."
A Girl Named PJ for Bach's RESCUE line.
CLEVER works with a vetted network of influencers across all social media platforms. They connect athletes, beauty experts, makers, food lovers, and even pets to the right companies to strike the sweet spot of customer engagement. Brands like Lipton, Lenovo, and Kimberly-Clark have collaborated with Clever to get engagement up and promote brand awareness in new markets, all with the help of an army of real people on the web.
And it's working. Clever has received the Shorty Award for Best Small Agency, WOMMA's Gold Award for Marketing, PR News' award for Best Viral Campaign, and Digiday's Content Marketing award for Best Agency/Client collaboration.
Melyssa Griffin for Lenovo.
Perhaps their greatest project was with the Make-A-Wish Foundation in the Bay Area. When Miles, a five-year-old boy recovering from cancer, was granted a wish, he wanted to be a superhero. Clever worked to create a social media strategy to hype the city-wide event and help get the word out. Clearly, they knew what they were doing. Batkid is one of the most well known digitally organized events with nearly two billion impressions worldwide.
Clever does all of this great work without an office of their own. "A major piece of our culture is that we all work from home, so we have to be radically transparent," explains Justin. This style of working takes a special kind of employee. Allison, the Business Operations Associate, explains that communication is not only key, it's vital to the ecosystem of the workplace.
"We always talk. Everyone is on the same playing field—if you have a problem, you point it out, talk about what you can do better next time, and move on." Because the team is fairly dispersed, a Bay Area Breather acts as a weekly place to catch up and work together, for those who need that valuable (offline) face-time.
"Breather is a great solution for us, because they're all over the Bay Area," says Edita Rodriguez, Clever's VP of Client & Membership Services. Of course, Clever's network extends beyond San Francisco. They also have team members located throughout Chicago, New York and Los Angeles (where they sometimes need space), as well as Seattle, Dallas, and Phoenix.
Salty Canary for Lipton.
If the future of marketing is as Clever as it seems, we're happy to be able to help facilitate them in making it happen.