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James Watt to launch influencer marketing venture after BrewDog exit

BrewDog founder James Watt said the economics of using influencers had ‘massively changed’ for businesses (Ed Hill Media Assignments/PA)
BrewDog founder James Watt said the economics of using influencers had ‘massively changed’ for businesses (Ed Hill Media Assignments/PA)

BrewDog founder James Watt is launching a new influencer market venture, a month after stepping down as chief executive of the craft beer giant.

On Monday, Mr Watt announced plans for Social Tip, a new app platform which he said is designed to allow normal consumers to become influencers.

The business will allow Britons who post on social media about brands they like, which are signed up to Social Tip, to be rewarded with money based on the level of engagements.

James Watt holding a mobile phone
James Watt announced plans for a new app platform called Social Tip (Ed Hill Media Assignments/PA)

Mr Watt said the economics of using influencers have “massively changed” for businesses, suggesting that they could gain more value from rewarding ordinary people who use, and have paid for, their products.

“On a macro level, a lot of major influencers aren’t offering the return to businesses now that they were a few years ago,” he said.

“What people engage with is changing and people are looking for something more authentic.

“We don’t think there is anything more authentic than customers who actually use and cheerlead your products spreading that.

“Yes, they have smaller individual followings, but there is more benefit to having hundreds of those than spending the same amount on one big name.”

The entrepreneur, who has remained an adviser and non-executive director at BrewDog, told the PA news agency he spoke to his girlfriend Georgia Toffolo, a former Made in Chelsea star and influencer, during his development of the new business.

He said BrewDog largely “grew on word of mouth” and believes Social Tip will allow companies to grow their audience in a similar way.

Mr Watt added: “The businesses we are speaking to are really excited about the prospect of this.

The Social Tip app on a mobile phone screen
Mr Watt said he had partnered with dozens of brands to launch the app (Ed Hill Media Assignments/PA)

“We will be marketing ourselves from day one, so people see the opportunity to make money from their posts, but companies will also be wanting their customers to be aware of this, aware of the opportunity to share their experience while profiting from it.”

The company said it has already partnered with dozens of brands, including Huel, PureGym and Dash water.

Mr Watt will run the company alongside Thomas Matecki, former chief technology officer of fintech firm Zilch, and Georgia Lee, former managing director of food delivery firm Supper.

Social Tip will officially be launched and become available for download in the summer.

Mr Watt, who stepped away from the helm of BrewDog after 17 years, has also invested in “15 to 20” start-up businesses, including leading a £500,000 funding round for soft drink firm Living Things last week.