Social Influencer Marketing with Surfers and Surf Culture


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The Soul Surfer as an Influencer for Your Brand

Choosing the right social influencer can be a tough task because their persona has to align precisely with your brand’s image and attract a specific target audience. Not to mention, their actions are a direct reflection of your brand’s reputation. Despite these obstacles, social influencing has become an explosive source for marketing products to larger audiences, instilling desired brand images and generating sales.

With so many types of influencers, media channels, and content platforms, choosing the right influencer for your company's goal becomes a complicated task. With this in mind, one common source of influencer marketing is rooted in the beauties of surf culture and may fit harmoniously with your brand. In this blog, Hollywood Branded will classify one type of social influencer, The Soul Surfer, and discuss their value in reaching niche audiences, spreading brand awareness and driving sales. 

Torence Martyn - Soul Surfer - Influencer

The Impact of Social Influencers

The expanding practice of social influencer marketing has boomed in recent years and has been known to produce positive buzz for brands of all industries. In fact, 89% of marketers suggest influencer marketing is equal to or better than other marketing channels. Meanwhile, according to DMI Daily Digest, 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations for their purchase decisions while 60% say social influencers have inspired in-store purchases. But in order to be successful in influencer marketing one must choose their influencer selectively.

By understanding different models of social influencers, your company can choose an influencer with confidence. This week, we will cover if your brand is a fit for the chill vibes and exploratory nature of the gnarly and nautical: The Soul Surfer.

Lululemon social influencer marketing with surfers

Who The Soul Surfer Is

The Soul Surfer lives a life beyond what is deemed "realistic" by society. A lifestyle that is only available to the young or talented. They make a living surfing, making memories with friends, traveling on epic excursions, and creating entertaining media of them doing so. This makes them an attractive model because their followers would prefer a life of discovery to the corporate conditions of modern life.

Since this model values personal happiness to the temptation of making a dollar, The Soul Surfer makes a living through sponsorships. These sponsors not only fuel their wicked expeditions but they also gain publicity in doing so.

Soul Surfers do what they do for the pure enjoyment of surfing and living. Because of that, they may live a life of uncertainty both in and out of the water. Yet whichever element they find themselves in they often embrace the unpredictability fully. This is accomplished by making an adventure out of every unknown undertaking, all while exuding a mellow attitude and a curious demeanor. Ask yourself, does this character match your brand and target audience?

Rob Machado social influencer surfer

The Content They Create

The Soul Surfer’s preferred media often includes pictures and videos of them surfing or traveling in an artsy and aesthetic fashion. Beyond that, their content often curates stories of remarkable trips. These stories cultivate curiosity by means of traveling to legendary surf locations. There will be bumps in the road and terrible conditions throughout, but in the end an unforgettable memory was lived and shared with their fans. The emotional whirring of a surf excursion can be felt in their videos thereby opening up the hearts and minds of their viewers for judgement-free consumption.

As a result, this receptive audience is much more inclined to consume their content, free of intense criticism. This creates an excellent opportunity for brand integration and product placement. Preferred media outlets for these influencers are YouTube videos, where short films consist of 5-30 minute stories or compilations. Additionally, other social media platforms are also included in order to increase their own popularity.

Quicksilver Surfing Advertisement

As previously mentioned, these outlets create opportunities for brand integration and product placement. Placing brand logos on their surfboards, gear, and road trip vehicles is another easy exposure method that is very commonly used. Lastly, endorsements and recommendations for products can be made either on their YouTube accounts or other social media platforms.

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Who They Attract

The Soul Surfer model has roots embedded in somewhat of a niche culture. Targeting this unique lifestyle is an excellent investment when trying to expand your company into a localized but sustainable community. Depending on the exact influencer, their audience often consists of coastal residents and explorers, as well as individuals with an admiration for surf culture.

Given that surf customs are mostly contained to the coasts, it makes The Soul Surfer an excellent source for captivating locals who live in surf towns. Additionally, given its limited availability, surf culture is widely admired outside of beach towns making it a coveted novelty. That uniqueness attracts those who know nothing about surfing by creating curiosity and awe.

This can be angled to expand their following to even more unrelated products. Beverage companies, such as energy drink and alcohol companies, may be a bit far from direct relation to surf culture, but by partnering with surfers, these brands can be introduced to individuals in which they usually do not try to cater to. Outdoor items and beach commodities such as sunglasses, sunscreen, and flip flops are easy partnerships to create with surfers, as well. Most obviously, brands that have created surf attire such as waterproof watches, board shorts, and wetsuits are ideal brands to partner with surfers.

Beach Bum Marketing Campaign in Surfing

Matt Becker X 805

One example of The Soul Surfer model can be seen in Matt Becker, a powerful surfer and influencer. 

By possessing the right degree of humility, Becker admits he’s never been good enough to surf competitively. Meanwhile, his talent contrasts his own view with nominations for “ride of the year” and being asked to surf in professional big wave riding tournaments.

Outside of surfing, Matt is a fisherman and has become popularized given his knowledge of the ocean through surf and sail. Even though competitive surfing wasn’t his route, he established an image reputable enough to acquire sponsors. This can be seen in low-budget films and YouTube videos that display his value to the marketing world.

He’s been called a cool, calm, and interesting guy with 5,500 Instagram followers and YouTube videos with upward to 40,000 views. This makes him an ideal candidate for social influencing. One company, 805, noticed his value and reached out. Given his popularity and persona (and the fact that he’s from Santa Barbara, 805’s origin city), he was a perfect match for the brand. Becker represents everything the Santa Barbara beach culture is and is an exemplary model for 805. Even though 805 is a beer company, they expanded their awareness through branding images on his surfboard and other apparel. 

Matt Becker X 805 Marketing Campaign

They even filmed a short story commercial with Becker and presented it on their own YouTube account, which attracted over 41,000 views and counting. This number perfectly illustrates how The Soul Surfer can spread brand awareness and execute your company's goals. Moreover, Matt’s soul surfin’ character has been used to attract thousands of consumers to brands like WSL, Hurley and Carhart, again revealing the value of this model in marketing.

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The Final Wave

In the end, it’s a wise endeavor to engage in social influencer marketing when considering brand awareness, image and sales. Equally as important is the process of narrowing down what type of social influencer your company is looking for. In this case, The Soul Surfer is characterized as a daring, free spirited and adventurous individual.

Does this match your brand and target audience?

The Soul Surfer’s function is to surf, create content, and spin it into exultant narratives that can be associated with your brand. This can be seen in a plethora of unrelated industries such as food and beverage or more closely connected brands such as outdoor companies. Common tactics of implementation are sponsorships, brand integration, and product placement.

If you're interested in expanding your brand awareness, reaching new audiences and generating more sales, be sure to reach out so we can help connect you to the right social influencer.  In the meantime, check out some of the blogs our team has written on social influencer partnerships!

Want to learn more? Check out our e-book on social influencers and learn everything you need to know to get started!

The Only Guide You Need To Hire Social Influencers E-Book