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From TV star to Brandwatch’s Director of Influence

Learn the differences between European and U.S. influencer markets and the role of technology in managing influencer campaigns from Sebastian Wulff.

Andrea Neira
April 2024
Influencer Marketing


We have been lucky enough to speak with Sebastian Wulff, Director of Influence at Brandwatch. Sebastian’s story reads like a Hollywood script: from a Dutch TV star to a pivotal figure in the ever-evolving realm of influencer marketing in sunny Los Angeles. This interview uncovers his intriguing journey, exploring the nuances of influencer marketing and providing a peek into the future of digital content creation.

Andrea: Sebastian, could you share your journey to becoming Director of Influence at Brandwatch?

Sebastian: Sure thing, Andrea. It’s been a wild ride, starting off as a television actor in Holland, which was a blast. Then I noticed how digital media was taking off and decided to pivot towards creating content for smartphones, eventually leading me to LA. Here, I jumped into the influencer marketing trend, joining Paladin Software, which later became part of Brandwatch in April 2022. Nowadays, I'm involved in anything influencer marketing-related, supporting our sales and customer success teams, and streamlining communications.

Andrea: Before Brandwatch, you were captivating TV audiences in Holland. What prompted the move to LA?

Sebastian: Honestly, Andrea, I’ve lived what feels like several lifetimes! Starting in TV was incredible, but I saw the digital wave coming and wanted in. After producing online content and seeing the growth of influencer marketing during my visits to family in California, I was hooked. The culture and, yes, the weather in LA were big draws. Eventually, I joined Paladin Software to lead business development, marking my official move to LA.

Andrea: The transition to Brandwatch and the acquisition must have been quite the experience. How did you navigate that phase?

Sebastian: It was like being on a roller coaster with the most exhilarating ups and downs. Being part of a startup is thrilling, and joining a larger company like Brandwatch opened new doors for growth. There’s an emotional attachment to what you've built, but sharing that knowledge and helping Brandwatch grow has been incredibly rewarding.

Andrea: In your opinion, what are the main differences between influencer marketing in Europe and the U.S.?

Sebastian: It’s all about scale. In the U.S., the sheer size means you need a higher follower count to make an impact compared to Europe. European markets are more segmented, requiring tailored strategies. For instance, being an influencer with 100,000 followers in the Netherlands is significant due to the smaller population. Plus, European campaigns tend to be more personal, whereas the U.S. feels a bit more transactional.

Andrea: Who's been your favorite client to collaborate with at Brandwatch, and why?

Sebastian: Insta360 really stands out. They were ambitious about scaling their influencer marketing and needed technology to manage it all. They run around 60 campaigns a year, manage over 4,000 influencers, and some campaigns have up to 3,000 posts. It’s a prime example of how essential technology is in this space.

Andrea: Considering your extensive experience, why do you believe regulation is crucial in influencer marketing?

Sebastian: Regulation helps mature the industry, ensuring it's taken seriously and transparently. Influencer marketing is about connecting with people, so there's a need for guidelines to protect both audiences and creators. Like actors or musicians, influencers are professionals deserving of clear regulations to support their work.

Andrea: If you had a stage and all the influencer marketing leaders were listening, what message would you like to convey?

Sebastian: First off, I’d probably pee my pants! But then, I’d get serious about the need for more transparency and collaboration. We shouldn’t be stepping on each other's toes to get a piece of the pie. Instead, let’s work together, share the wheel, and create something bigger and better for everyone involved.

Andrea: And who would you pass the microphone to next for an interview in our blog?

Sebastian: I’d nominate Bastiaan Mangentveld, co-founder of TubiTube. He’s got some great stories and insights into the industry. Plus, I think he’d appreciate my jokes!

This interview with Sebastian Wulff wasn't just a deep dive into the world of influencer marketing; it was a reminder of the journey and evolution that comes with embracing digital trends. From TV screens to the digital domain, Sebastian’s story is a testament to the power of adaptation and the bright future of content creation in the influencer age.

Liked the blog interview? Watch the full interview on YouTube, or listen to our podcast here on Spotify.

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