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Kindred: the charity fundraiser aiming to shake-up the influencer market

24 Sep 2019  |  David Pidgeon 
Kindred: the charity fundraiser aiming to shake-up the influencer market

A new marketplace that "digitises word-of-mouth" and allows online shoppers to make charitable donations as part of their purchases has launched this week following a period of rapid growth in its testing stages.

Kindred, launched by angel investor and founder of Quintessentially, Aaron Simpson, enables its users to share the products they like and make recommendations on their social channels, whilst promoting savings on some of the world’s leading brands and local stores.

As people accept advocates’ recommendations, a percentage of the sales goes to the advocate, who can choose to give a proportion to a charity of their choice.

The free-to-join platform, which has already signed up 2,500 brands, is the first to link the purchase of a product directly to a recommendation, meaning brands only pay for performance.

According to Kindred's own figures, its audience size at launch is 1.4bn "eyeballs" and brands currently signed up to the marketplace include Disney Store, Mothercare, Pets at Home and Ted Baker.

Within the next 24 months, the marketplace is aiming to secure £50m per quarter for charities.

"We've flipped the influencer business model on its head," Simpson told Mediatel News.

"The market is on a busted flush and everyone and their dog can now claim to be an influencer - but they just don't have the metrics. The real metric is influencing someone to buy something. Kindred is about real influence and real sales."

Kindred allows anyone to become an influencer, but the higher the number of followers and genuine influence someone has, the higher the number of transactions that are possible. The scaled system would be the first to reward genuine influence via a direct and measurable sale, giving advertisers an ROI measure.

The system was devised less than a year ago as negative headlines about the rapidly growing influencer market reached new heights. Globally, some reports suggest influencer marketing fraud - such as buying fake followers - will cost brands $1.3 billion in 2019.

Yet investment allotted to influencer marketing is expected to rise significantly, as much as $10 billion annually by 2020.

Kindred's platform hopes to tackle these issues by ensuring fake followers have no value within the system as the only payment comes from a direct and verifiable transaction.

To stamp out other bad practices, an influencer will be banned if three complaints are made against them by a brand; conversely, 100 influencers can also see a brand dropped from the marketplace should it prove controversial or unethical.

"Digitisation of word of mouth marketing is the holy grail," said Simpson. "You're practising what you post. And we've found a model that proves which [influencers] work for a brand and which ones don't."

At launch, Kindred - which employs around 50 people - has more than 50,000 products in its marketplace and is now looking to work with more brands as it boosts its scale.

"What we want to do is create an army of nano influencers for brands," said Simpson.

Kindred - which has says it has secured "significant sums" for charities in its beta testing alone - also has plans to match fund charitable donations on specific days and months of the year, such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month or World AIDS Day.

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JosephDavis, Professor, University on 24 Sep 2019
“This project sounds very interesting and timely. It can help to separate genuine influence from fake and also assist charitable institutions world-wide.”
JohnSmyth, CSR Office, Unilever on 24 Sep 2019
“Exactly where the industry need to head. Bravo to the people of Kindred. The industry needs to wake up and smell the coffee. No longer will ‘infleunce’ be measured in terms of follower numbers, but more in the effective engagement rates in measures like result whilst, as an added bonus, people can give back.”