What DJ Khaled, Air Jordans and ProActiv have in common

DJ Khaled is the man of the hour. Starting with his real-life jet skiing drama, Khaled has built a following of 4M loyal users on Snapchat who scrutinize his every action. In contrast, Big-Bang Theory, the #1 show on television, attracts a smaller number of viewers than Khaled i.e. slightly less than 3.3M viewers per episode, for probably 100x the budget [Source]. Khaled's escapades include everything from tending to his flowers to roaring at his lion. Along the way, he’s coined several catch-phrases like “Bless Up” and “Major Key”.

His rise hasn’t happened in a vacuum. Khaled has been using his audience just as TV advertisers do: to promote products. As he’s showing his followers around his day to day routine, Khaled often wants them to celebrate success right with a brand he swears by: Ciroc. He’s become a classic influencer marketer.

Before we dive into Khaled’s self promotion, let’s dig into influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing has its roots in political communication theory in the Multistep flow model, which claims that the majority of people are influenced by secondhand information and opinion leaders [Source]. The concept is relatively simple in implementation, get a well-known celebrity or influencer to endorse your product. Better yet, get your product branded by him or her.

Perhaps the best known case of influencer products today are Air Jordans, with an estimated $3B in sales in 2015 [Source]. A close second is ProActiv (with annual sales over $1B), which frequently uses celebrities such as Adam Levine and Olivia Munn. There are endless other examples, including the George Foreman grill.

Influencer marketing is powerful, and if done right, it has monopolistic tendencies. Air Jordans commanded a 58% market share of the $4.2 billion U.S. basketball shoe market last year [Source].

Khaled has done the same with Ciroc. By asking his followers to “celebrate success right”, CIROC Apple is the best-selling new vodka of 2016. Nielsen research has shown that CIROC Apple has sold more cases than any other new vodka product this year [Source].

It seems like DJ Khaled is undoubtedly poised for success and so is Snapchat, giving rise to a whole new set of influencers. I’m curious to see what products they will kingmake next!