BrewDog Founder Taps Into Girlfriend’s Influencer Expertise for New Venture

17/06/2024
Image courtesy of Alex Shuper

In a bold move just a month after stepping down as BrewDog’s chief executive, James Watt has unveiled his latest entrepreneurial endeavour – Social Tip, an app platform designed to transform everyday consumers into paid influencers for brands. 

The concept behind Social Tip is to reward users with cash payments based on the engagement their social media posts generate for brands registered on the platform. Watt believes this model of micro-influencers will prove more authentic and effective for businesses than relying on major influencers. Interestingly, Watt has revealed that his girlfriend, Georgia Toffolo, a former Made in Chelsea star and influencer herself, played a key role in shaping the idea for Social Tip. The entrepreneur consulted Toffolo during the development process, leveraging her expertise in the influencer marketing space. “On a macro level, a lot of major influencers aren’t offering the return to businesses now that they were a few years ago,” Watt explained. “What people engage with is changing, and they 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.” 

Watt drew inspiration from BrewDog’s own success, which he attributes largely to “word of mouth” marketing. He believes Social Tip will enable companies to grow their audience in a similar organic fashion, but amplified for the digital age. “The businesses we are speaking to are really excited about the prospect of this,” Watt said. “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.” 

Social Tip has already secured partnerships with several prominent brands, including Huel, PureGym, and Dash water, ahead of its scheduled summer launch. Watt will co-found the venture alongside Thomas Matecki, former chief technology officer of fintech firm Zilch, and Georgia Lee, former managing director of food delivery service Supper. 

James Watt and Martin Dickie founded BrewDog in 2007. It revolutionised the craft beer industry with bold, innovative brews like Punk IPA. Starting from a small brewery in Fraserburgh, BrewDog grew rapidly, opening bars worldwide. It is also made a mark by pioneering equity crowdfunding through its “Equity for Punks” initiative.

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