hummingbird logo

meet the hummingbirds

Whitney Warne & Emily Steele

About the Birds

In July 2018, Emily + Whitney launched a group called The Hummingbirds in an effort to build a community of local influencers + Des Moines advocates. These are humans who show up for their community relentlessly.

With the rise and effectiveness of influencer marketing and a growing group of bloggers, small business owners, storytellers, and community champions in Des Moines, Emily + Whitney decided to gather these humans and mobilize them for the greater good.

Businesses partner with hummingbirds to get the word out about an upcoming event, a new business, or to simply raise awareness about a brand. How does it work? You pitch an idea to us along with a perk for the birds, and we see if it’s a good fit. Once we have birds on board, we take flight and get your message out to the masses.

Our goal is to help our local community thrive.

Cycle bar event participants community builders Exile Brewery event

we've created a service that adds structure + strategy to the most effective form of marketing: word of mouth.

our hummingbirds are not influencers, they are everyday des moines people who use their voice as an act of service. when they create content, people engage. when they talk, people listen.

we are making decisions on where to eat, what to buy, and what to do this weekend based on what our friends are telling us over drinks, at the grocery store, or on our newsfeed.

you can choose a static billboard or paper ad that promotes your product or service, but nothing builds trust + credibility faster than someone else talking about your brand.

some of our amazing clients

  • DAM To DSM Logo
  • Natural Health Logo
  • Iowa Distilling Company Logo
  • The Iowa Speedway Logo
  • Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden Logo
  • Iowa Events Center Logo
  • UnityPoint Health Logo
  • Winefest Logo

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a group of hummingbirds called?

They are called a charm! This is why you’ll see the word charm throughout the website and our core offerings.

what is the cost to work with you?

Depending on how many hummingbirds you want to work with and the complexity of the campaign, our rates start at $399 per month or $1000 one-time.

Do hummingbirds get paid?

Hummingbirds work for perks. If you provide an amazing perk or experience, our hummingbirds will be motivated to sign on for our partnership. Examples range from two free frozen pizzas to three months of spa services (valued at $500+ total). You pay Brand Launch to broker the birds and ensure execution.

What if a hummingbird has a negative experience?

All of our hummingbirds know to share direct feedback with Brand Launch versus posting something negative about their experience. We provide this as feedback directly to the business owner

What if a hummingbird doesn't follow through?

We always overcommit the birds engaging in partnership with you to ensure if a hummingbird is ill or life circumstances change, you’ll still get the number of birds we’ve committed to.

Do you provide photography for hummingbird experiences?

We provide photography for an additional fee. We know that hummingbirds love posting high quality images of themselves + their community, so we advise adding photography to any package. You also have access to all images to use!

How do hummingbirds know what to do?

We create a simple 1-2 page “work order” with timeline expectations, the perk they will receive, brand considerations, and social media assets to tag (including hashtags). We track them internally to ensure execution occurs by deadline

What is the ROI?

Businesses who work with hummingbirds understand that this is a relationship game. While we can certainly track conversions using specific promo codes + clicks with UTM codes, our clients understand they can leverage the visibility and buzz they get for months and years to come. Give hummingbirds an experience to talk about and gain loyal customers for life.

Can we request exclusivity?

We don’t offer exclusivity. We are an abundance-minded business, which means we believe there’s more than enough business to go around for all of us to be incredibly successful. Plus, if our hummingbirds are bringing more awareness to your industry because of multiple partnerships, you benefit.

paint brush swathes

Get to know some of Des Moines’ hummingbirds + why they are a part of the local charm.

two people at hummingbird event
multiple people at hummingbird event
Erin Rollenhagen displaying the book soul uprising
Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens

"Growing up in Central Iowa, I've witnessed the growth and transformation of #DSMUSA and am all in with trying to help it be greater. We're all better when we're in it together with a diverse set of voices and experiences, and I want to be at the table in those conversations. As a small business owner, you have to talk about and promote yourself a lot, so being a Hummingbird is a great opportunity to get out of my own head and use my platform to elevate others."

Brittney Haskins
small business owner

"Des Moines is the greatest place. The people are the best. Honestly it was a cool way to do some of what I was already doing for things and places that I had great experiences at, but instead of doing it myself I got to team with other like-minded people and it made it way better. Also, anything that Whitney and Emily touch turns to gold, so if they want to do something I'll automatically sign up."

Jacob Repp
Des Moines enthusiast

"Des Moines helped me find my true 'me' and I want others to discover more about themselves through the best our amazing community has to offer!"

Karla Walsh
Freelance Writer and Restaurant Marketer

"I love connecting people to what gives them joy. Whether it is a collaboration that they can be a part of, and event or hidden spot they've yet to try, or an organization or person that could shift the path of their life moving forward. Des Moines has so much to offer, you just have to know the right places to look. I love uncovering new people, places, and viewpoints of Des Moines."

Kelsey Russell
Realtor + Wealth Builder

"I have enjoyed working with Brand Launch from the start! As director of marketing for the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, I want to buck the traditional idea of what a public garden is and who it's for. I want to help position the Garden as a community resource that is relevant to and welcoming of a broad audience, and the Hummingbirds have helped show our community that the Garden truly has something for everyone.”

Kelly R.
Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens

"We had a great experience working with Brand Launch for the release of my book. The Hummingbirds were engaged early readers of the book and showed up to our launch event with so much enthusiasm and energy. Their reactions made great early reviews to post as well. Thank you Brand Launch and your wonderful Hummingbirds!”

Erin R.
Entrepreneurial Technologies

"Brand Launch created an amazing opportunity for my spa business to reach new clients. Working with Emily, Whitney and all the Hummingbirds was not only easy, seamless but an absolute joy! Everyone top to bottom was engaged in my business and committed to spreading awareness and excitement about our amazing treatments. The numbers don’t lie and Brand Launch not only delivered on the number of new clients we thought they could bring in, it almost doubled them. If you’re thinking about working with them and the Hummingbirds, do it!”

Angela C.
Skin Soul Body Spa

"My team at Spinutech has been working with Emily Steele and the Hummingbirds to elevate one of our client’s services within the community. Emily and the Hummingbirds have been very engaged and have done a great job showcasing our client’s services in an authentic way. We’ve appreciated this unique partnership and look forward to continuing working with Brand Launch with our current and future clients."

Maggie B.
paint bush swathes
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