How Daymond John Crushed Influencer Marketing


We talk a lot about the benefits of influencer marketing here at Lurn, but there’s nothing more powerful than seeing how it actually plays out in the real world.

There are few better examples of successfully using influencer marketing to take a business to the next level than that of Daymond John and his multi-million-dollar business FUBU.

What started as a small business at home with his mom eventually became one of the hottest brands of the 90’s and one of the biggest brands in the world.

He’s gone on to sell billions of dollars-worth of products and is now one of the most influential figures himself in both fashion and entrepreneurship.

And one major factor that launched his brand into the mainstream was influencer marketing.

So, let’s take a look at how he did it.

From Queens To International Fame


For those who don’t know Daymond John’s story, it’s one of pure intelligence and hustle.

When he was younger, he noticed that a lot of people were wearing wool ski hats with their tops tied off. People were paying around $20 a pop for these hats, which seemed overpriced to him at the time.

To capitalize on that, he worked with his mother to learn how to sew, and they started selling those same hats for $10 each.

After making up to $800 in a single day on those hats, they realized they were onto something.

So, they started selling screen-printed T-shirts wherever they could. Whether on consignment or at fashion events, he was selling his clothes at every chance he could get.

Now, like most great businesses, FUBU didn’t take off overnight.

Even as he saw the potential of what he was selling, he was still working his tail off at Red Lobster to continue generating cash flow to feed his business.

However, the FUBU brand was really starting to take shape, and his father risked a lot by mortgaging his house just to generate more funds for his son’s business.

Despite that early success, it wasn’t until he realized the potential of influencers that FUBU really began to take off.

(Note: Want to learn from the master himself? Check out our FREE course, "Daymond John: 7-Figure Master Plan," to learn how to build a successful business. To learn from Daymond John himself, check out the course here.)

An Influencer Skyrockets FUBU Into the Mainstream


Growing up in Queens, John met a lot of people in the hip-hop industry, and the genre was exploding at that point.

What he did with those connections is probably the most important decision that he ever made.

To capitalize on the popularity of the hip-hop scene, John started asking musicians to wear his clothing with his logo on it in their music videos.

At that point, FUBU was REALLY starting to gain traction.

But what took them to the next level was taking a step from smaller musicians as influencers to a true celebrity.

That celebrity? LL Cool J.

Daymond actually grew up in the same neighborhood as LL, and he had been working with him on a promotional campaign.

As luck would have it, LL Cool J had an upcoming commercial with the Gap around that same time. This was back when the Gap was starting to lose their appeal to younger people in the late 90’s.

When LL Cool J showed up on set for the commercial, he wore a FUBU hat with his Gap clothing. At no point was he told to take it off, and he decided to wear it for the commercial.

To take it to the next level, he even worked the words “For Us By Us” into the commercial—which is what FUBU stands for.

Orders for FUBU clothing exploded after that commercial aired, and Daymond and his team were able to parlay that opportunity into what FUBU eventually became, a brand that has sold billions of dollars-worth of products.

So, what kind of advice does one of the masters of influencer marketing have for you?

How Daymond John Recommends That YOU Use Influencers

Daymond John is an absolute master of influencer marketing, but he didn’t start as that.

And you don’t have to either.

ANYONE can learn how to leverage the power of influencer marketing, even if you didn’t grow up with someone as talented and famous as LL Cool J.

So, how can the average person get started with influencer marketing? 

Daymond John’s advice is super easy to follow.

Think About Your Budget


One of the most important concepts that Daymond talks about is what he calls, “The Power of Broke.”

What that means, in his words, is that money will absolutely not do anything for you except drive you up to your problems in a limousine.

So, what’s that mean for you?

Sure, we all want big name influencers.

Here’s the thing, though—not everyone can AFFORD a big-name celebrity.

If an entrepreneur knows a celebrity that is willing to endorse their product, great!

For those entrepreneur’s that aren’t buddies with LL Cool J, it’ll be important to work within the budget that they have available.

What’s important to consider here is what the budget is for the advertising campaign and who a marketer can afford on that budget.

Sure, the lower cost influencer may not have the same size reach, but they will still be able to reach an audience that the company may have otherwise been unable to reach.

Plan out what your influencer marketing budget is, and then look for influencers that will help you to stay within that budget!

Find the Right Fit


Let’s say you know someone who’s famous.

And you have a product that you need to sell.

The instinct would be to ask that famous person to support your product and help to advertise it…right?

Well, this isn’t necessarily the case.

Not all influencers are the right fit for a specific product or service. You need to make sure that the influencer and product fit makes sense. It will be glaringly obvious if the relationship between the product or service and the influencer is forced.

For example, Coke doesn’t want someone endorsing their product if they’re always out in public drinking Pepsi.

It just doesn’t make sense for them to do that.

If you don’t have someone who actually believes in what you’re selling, the relationship won’t work.

Once you find the right fit, you can start working on building a campaign around that influencer.

Start Small


It would be amazing if we all had access to a high-level influencer, but the reality is that most of us don’t.

Some people are just too many degrees away from a celebrity to ask for their influence. Still, there are local and small-scale influencers that just about anyone can access if they put in the work.

To start building a following based around influencer marketing, a marketer needs to consider what their connections and budget will allow for.

If an entrepreneur is starting a small business from the ground up and they know zero celebrities, they can start local with smaller scale influencers.

They can meet with local community leaders, influential people in a neighborhood, respected businesspeople in the area, the local media, and so on.

Getting a spot in the local newspaper and/or getting the endorsement of a local leader can be a big deal for a small business.

The same goes for online businesses.

There may be mid-tier influencers that are more accessible than top-tier influencers that may be willing to endorse a product.

So, instead of reaching out to someone with millions of followers, a small business owner may consider reaching out to a business owner with thousands of followers.

Sure, the influencer won’t have the same level of reach as an influencer with millions of followers, but they can still help to get your name in front of the right people.

If you don’t have access to any high-level influencers right off the bat, don’t sweat it! Keep building your business until you are able to take the final step.

Move to BIGGER Influencers


Once a business has both social and financial credibility, they can start looking at seeking out bigger influencers.

Now, don’t get me wrong—a business owner doesn’t have to jump from a small-scale blogger to a huge celebrity!

Instead, a marketer can step up the influencer ladder and find bigger and bigger influencers to endorse the product. Eventually, they can grow the business to the point where they can attract bigger influencers.

And here’s the thing—the business needs to GROW to attract bigger influencers.

Even if an entrepreneur can convince mid-tier influencers to support their product, the bigger influencers in the niche probably won’t be interested if the product isn’t any good.

And you definitely will need some cash to get those bigger influencers.

Most influencers (especially bigger influencers) aren’t willing to put their reputation on the line for free. Instead—if a business wants bigger influencers—they need to be ready to pay the big bucks!

This is another reason why scaling is important. As a business grows, they can afford bigger expenses.

This includes paying more expensive influencers.

By the time a business is ready to hire a high-level influencer to endorse their product, they should be at a point where they are able to pay that high-level influencer.

Now, don’t get me wrong—if you know a big influencer that is willing to back your product on a personal level, by all means, see if they would be willing to help you out.

Otherwise, you’ll need to consider how you can move up the ladder.

Start Building Your Network of Influencers


Daymond John intelligently leveraged his network to find an influencer that was willing and able to take his business to the next level…and YOU can do the same!

Start building up your network of influencers. Remember, if you don’t know any big names, start smaller!

Even if you are connected to a celebrity, make sure it’s a good fit before pitching them on supporting your product or service publicly.

With the right influencers, you’ll be able to get your product or service in front of millions of new potential customers!

(Note: Want to learn from the master himself? Check out our FREE course, "Daymond John: 7-Figure Master Plan," to learn how to build a successful business. To learn from Daymond John himself, check out the course here.)