When Keith Weed was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame last month, he talked about the future of marketing. Today he is making headlines by investing in that future. The 35 year veteran of Unilever retired from that company last month and has wasted no time in writing his next chapter. He is a major Series A investor in Tribe, a platform for connecting brands with appropriate micro-influencers who can deliver brand-relevant content with reach at scale through multiple social media platforms.
Weed told The Drum he was interested in the business because marketers struggle to create good content quickly, and Tribe is a potential way to “solve the challenge.” Weed has been an outspoken proponent of ethics in influence marketing. Weed gave a speech at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting last February, Weed emphasized that consumers needed to be able to trust Unilever brands, which led to a company-wide crackdown on social media problems. His program included only investing in platforms that protect children, that responsibly tackle gender stereotypes, and that do not contribute to divisiveness. Under his leadership the company invested in block-chain tech to protect against fraud and is a proponent in better metrics. He said of consumers: “We can’t do anything to damage that trust – including the choice of channels and platforms we use,” and issued a challenge: “social media must win trust back.”
Tribe raised $7.5m from investors like Weed to grow. It currently hosts 53,000 influencers, each with followings of 3,000 or more. Weed told the reporter it is only the first of many planned investments in marketing innovations.
Lisa Merriam is a brand and content marketing consultant. She serves on the board of directors for the American Marketing Association of New York.