BrewDog founder launches influencer marketing platform

James Watt has launched influencer platform Social Tip, designed to counteract “conventional” ways of marketing, which are becoming “less and less effective”.

Social Tip founder James Watt

BrewDog CEO James Watt has launched his new venture today (17 June), an influencer platform called Social Tip, which counts brands including Huel and PureGym among its client list.

Watt founded brewery and pub chain BrewDog in 2007, and was CEO of the business until he stepped down last month. He has now founded Social Tip, a platform designed to “make anyone an influencer”, giving a financial reward to people who post about brands.

Watt has launched the company alongside former Zilch chief technology officer Thomas Matecki and Georgia Lee, the former managing director of food delivery service Supper.

No CMO is yet on board, but Watt confirmed to Marketing Week that one will be appointed as the company develops.

It took BrewDog 11 years to appoint its first CMO. Jon Evans was appointed to the role in November 2018, but left the business in January 2019 just three months after taking on the role. Shortly after his stint at BrewDog, Evans, who is now chief customer officer at ad effectiveness consultancy System1, told Marketing Week the brewer was not ready for a CMO at that time.

In 2022, it brought back the CMO role, appointing its brand and marketing director, Lauren Carrol, to the role.

BrewDog brings back CMO role as CEO promises to create ‘new type of business’

While Watt has indicated he will look to appoint a top marketer at Social Tip imminently, the motivation for the platform itself is that “conventional ways of marketing are becoming less and less effective”, he wrote on LinkedIn.

“People don’t trust adverts, they don’t trust influencers or marketing,” he wrote.

Social Tip’s algorithm calculates the value of a post, based on views and engagement, and makes payment to the poster’s Social Tip account.

“This is good old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing for the digital age and scalable through our innovative technology,” says Watt.

Watt claims that the best marketing enjoyed by BrewDog was created by its fans.

“It was everyday people sharing their love for our products,” he says. “With Social Tip, we want to release the power of authentic brand love, so that fans get meaningful rewards for posting about their favourite brands, businesses and experiences.”

He claims that the launch tackles a growing lack of trust in ‘traditional’ influencers.

“No-one believes that celebrities of the biggest TikTokers and YouTubers just happen to be really into a brand. That’s why the power of conventional influencer endorsement is limited and dwindling,” says Watt.

Other brands working with Social Tip from launch include Bella & Duke, BrewDog, Punchy Drinks, Serious Pig, Slug & Lettuce and Virgin Pure.