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AUCKLAND, Today: Ahead of this weekend’s launch of a significant new NZ gifting hub – Joyable – M+AD enlisted founder Rochelle Sheldon for a timely Q+A session.

Sheldon has established herself as a pioneer and leader in the New Zealand influencer and social media marketing space.

A 2018 & 2019 finalist in the Australasian Social Media Marketer of the Year Awards, she was most recently the chief strategist at Socialites NZ.

Prior to this, she was GM of talent at influencer marketing agency Bloggers Club, where she was first to talent manage notable influencers “How To Dad” Jordan Watson as well as “Happy Mum, Happy Child” Maria Foy.

She also won the 2015 Westpac Millennial Women of Influence Award.

What made you choose this career?
I fell into it really. When my sister got a job on Shortland Street I spoke to her about how she should be known as Kimberley Crossman – not Sophie McKay – and it went from there.

We set up a website, I negotiated advertising campaigns and we grew her brand. 

I then worked for Flossie, then nzgirl.co.nz – one of New Zealand’s most prominent and influential blogs – and then carved out the business Bloggers Club, the first New Zealand agency for bloggers and influencers which began as a community and the sales funnel for bloggers to stop working for free, of which I became GM.

I have a natural hustle love for sales and marketing, and I love people and learning and growing, so it was a natural career fit for me. Plus the timing was aligned for me pave the way in New Zealand for influencer marketing (before it was even called that!).

I have negotiated more than $4 million in brand deals, was the first to sign How To DAD and Happy Mum Happy Child, and help these people and others earn six-figure incomes and make a sustainable career from their creativity, personal brands and community. 

How did you get your start?
My first advertising job was with Val Morgan Cinema Advertising in 2002 while I was studying marketing. I next took over as GM of my mum’s ballet studio which had 1500 pupils across five locations and our own five studio dance school with 19 teachers.

I had to hit the ground running and learn how to market very quickly. I got to experiment and really learn the craft and discovered I had a natural ability and innate passion for it. 

When did you realise you were doing something new/important?
When bloggers quit their day jobs and started living their dream life and getting paid more than ever before, I knew I had aced it! I love helping people shine and this was momentus for me. I love supporting people to believe in themselves!

How would you say the influencer / social media marketing landscape has changed?
It is ever-changing and this is what I love about it. The basics of marketing are the same – it’s just the way in which we apply it.

Influencer marketing is going to change and we are already seeing this from influencers shifting from promoting other brands to starting their own brands and benefiting from running their own business and promoting their own brands.

I hope that influencers start not only concentrating on one platform but spread the net wide – to look at podcasts, growing their email databases and return to owning their own online assets such as blogs and websites.

It concerns me that so many influencers are reliant on a platform that is not theirs – like YouTube or Instagram – and that they have no alternative way to communicate with their audiences if that platform goes down, downhill or is yesterday’s news.

The serious ones know who they are, who they serve and ensure they are not platform-reliant. 

Brands that are still using social media as an afterthought won’t cut the mustard in 2019 and ongoing. Social is meant to be social. Community management and conversations are undervalued by big brands who are still stuck on creative and trying to shove their TV ad into an ad placement that disturbs what we are watching.

Social is about being social, connecting with others and entertaining, inspiring or educating … brands need to start taking this seriously or smaller up and coming companies will take their marketshare because they deeply value their community connections.

I bet you that most marketing managers and CEOs don’t know who their top 10 social media brand advocates are. They have forgotten about the faces and just see numbers. Heart is going to win in the end. 

“I bet you most marketing managers and CEOs don’t know who their top 10 social media brand advocates are. They have forgotten about the faces and just see numbers. Heart is going to win in the end.”

Is it fad or future? How will it evolve?
It is not a fad and anyone that thinks that needs to jump into 2019. Influencer marketing has been going for decades – it just wasn’t called that at the time. I expect to see some changes as people realise that they should perhaps unfollow many and unplug from the connected, discounted world of social and start putting their phones down and getting face time with people – actually connecting, actually getting out into the world. This will then mean brands, influencers and the likes will need to really add value to their people and not use the platforms purely to PR themselves.

What’s your career highlight to date?
Starting my own business Joyable and backing myself. Also backing influencers (who by the way prefer to be called creators!) and having them be paid for their time, expertise and community.

For them been seen and valued for the people they are and the ’new media’ they have worked so very hard to create.

What’s it like working with your sister and one of your best friends?
Haha … I love them both! Kimmie and I are best friends. It is nothing but fun working with her and that is why we have for so long.

I have worked with Belinda Nash, also a Joyable founder, since 2014 on Flossie and nzgirl, for which she was content creator, and on other projects ever since. Each of us brings something special and unique to Joyable.

Kimmie excels at all things creative, video content and media interviews;, Belinda is an exceptional writer and we have some exciting things coming up for Joyable. As the core team, together every interaction and every idea has been nothing but JOY!

How did you first help Kimberley’s brand on social media to now working with her on Joyable?
Kimberley is the creative half of us and I am the business half. In saying that, Kimberley is also incredibly business savvy and I am also creative.

We respect each other and our talents, we work hard (very hard!) and support each other, which started when we launched her brand into the world all those years ago. Joyable is the perfect place for us, both as extremely positive people, aiming to fill the world with joy.

What is Joyable and why are you launching it?
We are Kiwi entrepreneurs passionate about reducing the stress and excess of consumerism and making a huge, positive impact on the planet.

So we created Joyable.co, an online platform for friends and family to collaborate and contribute funds to purchase memorable, meaningful gifts and dream experiences for themselves and others – think Givealittle for gifting!

Joyable can be used for weddings, engagements, anniversaries, birthdays, hen and stag dos, graduation and farewell gifts and parties, schoolteacher gifts and pretty much any occasion when people want to collectively thank and celebrate others.

It basically ends the cycle of crap gifts, replacing it with gifts and experiences people actually want.

Think artworks for engagement presents, honeymoon bucket list experiences for wedding gifts, a neon sign for a 21st, or a new bike for a five-year-old, to a ziplining experience for an 11-year-old.

The aim to to reduce the waste caused by a mountain of presents no one wants – even to regift or sell on TradeMe – and replace them with a lifetime of memories. It means, if you are contributing to a gift, that no matter how much or little you can contribute, you’re still part of creating joy!

What do you hope to achieve in the next few years?
To keep juggling a happy, joyful loving family life while building Joyable into a global business (all from my home office in Auckland) so we can help the wellbeing of people and the planet with the Joyable Fund.

I also want to elevate others like me who were always the 2IC to overcome imposter syndrome and boost their confidence through support, education and inspiration so they can achieve whatever success looks like to them!

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