Photo shows Gianna Cosentino and Will Harris
Darvin President Will Harris makes a cameo appearance in Gianna Cosentino's first video for the company.

Darvin Furniture partners with a natural influencer

Darvin Furniture and Mattress recently introduced its new influencer, but Gianna Cosentino was no newcomer to the Orland Park, Ill., retailer.

“She grew up with Darvin,” said Will Harris, president of the Home Furnishings Association member said. “Her parents always bought Darvin furniture, and when she got married, she became a customer as well.”

Even better than that, she often tagged Darvin on her Bloomstone Bay Instagram page, where she has more than 5,000 followers.

So, it was natural for Darvin to ask Cosentino to become a paid influencer for the Top 100 retailer. “She jumped at the opportunity,” Harris said.

The partnership jumped to a great start.

“Hi, I’m Gianna,” she says in the inaugural video, which debuted on Darvin’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages Jan. 27. “Some of you may know me from my Instagram page, bloomstonebay. Today, I’m at Darvin Furniture, where newlyweds can find a huge selection of quality, stylish furniture, without breaking the bank.”

Company president makes cameo appearance

Cosentino speaks with conviction and a smile while standing in front of a sofa in the Darvin showroom. Viewers might notice a man in coat and tie approaching from behind. As she concludes, he turns to the camera, grins and gives a thumbs up. That’s Will Harris.

The cameo lends a sense of humor to the scene. It’s strictly intentional.

“Furniture is supposed to be fun,” Harris said. The gesture tells viewers that they’ll see smiles and a friendly atmosphere if they visit the store. There’s more of that to come.

“I’m not in the next one,” Harris said, “but I will have cameos in some more.”  And, since he just joined the company a few weeks ago after 16 years as vice president of sales and marketing at Harris Family Furniture in New Hampshire, “It’s a subtle way of introducing me as well.”

Sure enough, Harris made an appearance in Video No. 3 – plugging a phone charger into an outlet in the headboard of a bed. Well done!

Gianna is personable, engaging and genuine

Photo shows Gianna Cosentino
Gianna Cosentino

The use of social media influencers has become a marketing trend. In fact, the HFA offered a seminar on the subject at the recent Las Vegas Market. It was led by Ellen Gefen of Gefen Marketing.

Cosentino, as someone with a local following, would be called a micro-influencer. But she fits the bill perfectly: She’s personable, engaging, knowledgeable and – perhaps most important – genuine. She may be paid to talk up Darvin Furniture, but she was doing that all along. She has credibility. The people who are interested in what she has to say about family and lifestyle matters may be, well, influenced by what she likes and recommends.

[Gefen panel looks at influencers]

The early indications were encouraging. The video drew a modest number of “likes,” Harris said, but more importantly, the posts reached about a thousand people who weren’t previously exposed to Darvin Furniture – in just the first two days.

Cosentino also is writing a blog for Darvin’s website. Her first entry, addressing the challenges young couples face when furnishing their first bedroom, features sensible tips and is illustrated with several photos.

She’ll appear in Darvin channels at least once a week, choosing her own topics and using her own words. Harris trusts her to faithfully represent the Darvin brand.

Any store can employ an influencer who can generate a strong return on investment – if it finds the right one. Harris thinks he has.

“We’ll have to see how it translates to sales, but for now it’s fun,” he said.

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