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6 examples of brands winning on TikTok

If there’s one social media platform buzzing right now, it’s TikTok, a space that allows users to create and share short lip-sync, comedy and talent videos.  

With an audience of almost half a billion users in its two year existence, and a +237% monthly growth rate between 2017-2018, brands are now thinking about how they can tap into it. 

The platform, which is owned by Chinese tech giant Byedance, and was merged with Musical.ly in 2018, has proven wildly successful among Chinese consumers. This has since transferred to the US, with 2.6m actively users taking to the platform in February alone, placing it as the most downloaded app in the country during Q1. The loyalty of Generation Z and Millennials have been driving usage particularly, with 66% of users reportedly under the age of 30. 

While the likes of Snapchat and Instagram are being questioned – both in terms of popularity on the one hand, and functionality on the other, TikTok has swooped in to grab some of the key market share. Importantly, it’s doing so by thinking about functionality first – its recommendations are much more accurate than other social media platforms, for instance, meaning viewers get better content tailored to their interests, which spurs advocacy for the app further. It has also added the functionality of shopping by allowing brands to drive users to ecommerce-enabled microsites that open directly within the TikTok app. 

As a result, we’re seeing brands and retailers taking to TikTok to push products, increase engagement and drive loyalty among younger consumers. Here are six examples of those incorporating it into their marketing strategy today…

Hero Cosmetics
Hero Cosmetics holy grail patches

Direct-to-consumer skincare brand, Hero Cosmetics, utilized TikTok in its new ‘Get Ready with Me’ campaign, featuring 20 creators sharing their morning routines. The campaign was targeted at Gen Zers, and plugged into a #schoolsurvivivalkit hashtag to tie it to back to school essentials. The videos, which reached 4.3m users, had a 12% engagement rate compared to only 4.5% for Instagram, the brand said.

Uniqlo
Uniqlos #UTPlayYourWorld campaign

Apparel retailer Uniqlo teamed up with Tiktok as part of its #UTPlayYourWorld campaign to promote its 2019 spring/summer collection. Users were encouraged to upload videos wearing their favourite outfits from the collection and would be entered into a competition to get their video played in store. The campaign was available for those in the US, France, Japan and Taiwan and generated over 600m views on the platform.

Burberry
Burberry Fall 2019 campaign

Even luxury brands are jumping on the TikTok bandwagon to gain traction with younger consumers. Burberry challenged users to upload videos of themselves attempting to do a “TB’ hand gesture, reflecting the Thomas Burberry monogram newly instated from creative director Riccardo Tisci. 30,000 videos were uploaded to the platform, generating 57 million views for the brand.

NFL
NFL TikTok Campaign

The NFL signed a two year agreement with TikTok to post content on the platform, including highlights, sideline moments and behind the scenes clips. To celebrate the collaboration, a #WeReady hashtag challenge was created to encourage users to show their support for their favourite teams. The challenge is the beginning of the NFL’s strategy to engage younger consumers in sports, as only 41% of Gen Z reportedly watch sports on television, compared to 75% of Baby Boomers.

Ralph Lauren
Diana Silvers, the face of Ralph Lauren’s campaign

To celebrate the US Open Tennis Championships, Ralph Lauren used TikTok as its campaign platform of choice. Consumers were asked to share a time when they won a real life challenge, by using the hashtag #WinningRL. Ralph Lauren face Diana Silvers, an actress and tennis player, took part in the campaign with a series of three videos that made use of TikTok’s latest shopability widget that lets customers buy directly within the app. Users could discover the brand’s US Open collection, which featured polos, tennis skirts and shorts.

Chipotle
Chipotle’s #GuacDance challenge

To celebrate national avocado day, Chipotle launched a TikTok campaign called the #GuacDance challenge. The food chain called on its customers to upload dancing videos to express their love of the food. The campaign was the platform’s highest performing branded challenge in the US, receiving 250,000 video submissions.

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Retail social media

Revolve to launch branded suite and store at Vegas hotel

Revolve at Palms Casino Resort
Revolve at Palms Casino Resort

Online retailer Revolve has announced it will open a branded suite and retail store at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas next year.

In the past, Revolve has done similar hospitality takeovers during Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, where it rebranded existing hotel properties into the Hotel Revolve and invited VIP guests to stay throughout the duration of the music festival. The permanent branded suite, however, aims to withstand time, versus “a moment in time”, co-CEO and co-founder Michael Mente told WWD.

The suite will become a way for the company’s roster of influencers, as well as the general public, to further experience the brand’s universe whenever in town.

Moreover the 1,000-square-foot store, which is only the second physical store by Revolve after its invite-only Social Club flagship in Los Angeles, will have merchandise that reflects the ritual of getting glammed up to go out in the city. Additionally it will also be an opportunity to grow the retailer’s booming swimwear category.

“Those are segments where we feel our brand really resonates with that female Millennial so I think that’s a perfect location,” Mente added. “Every aspect of the fun life that you would live in Vegas, Revolve is very strong in and has the right merchandising mix for the consumer.”

Since launching in 2012, Revolves strategy has centered around supporting the lifestyle of young women who travel and experience life to its fullest. Consequently, the brand’s approach to influencers, as well as popping up in timely events such as Coachella, has become an increasingly important tool for engagement.

“We think that with the Palms it’s the perfect partnership and perfect location for us because the clientele they are seeking to attract and develop and the clientele that the brand attracts are similar,” adds Mente. “That alignment on the same focus and the same consumer was a natural fit.”

Revolve will be joining Palms Casino Resort as it undergoes a $620m renovation, which includes the opening of many new retail and food establishments. For the hotel, the brand’s presence represents an opportunity to further tap into a new audience, and attract more of its top clientele, which hails from Los Angeles.

How are you thinking about retail innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Campaigns

Juicy Couture’s latest campaign pokes fun at influencers

@charlenealmarvez for Juicy Couture

Juicy Couture’s newly launched campaign for fall 2018 nods to influencer behaviour on social media by satirizing sponsored posts.

Using the hashtag #JUICYAD, all photos feature the headline “Paid Partnership with Juicy Couture”, which is also the exact phrase that appears on influencers’ branded posts on Instagram. The campaign also stars influencers themselves, who chose to be in on the joke and create commentary around increasingly stricter social media standards.

As for casting, the brand worked with Winston, a proprietary influencer software, developed by ABG, the owner of Juicy Couture. The software identifies, recruits and manages influencer campaigns and connections such as this ad.

The cast includes seven social media influencers recruited from different parts of the globe, with the aim to express individuality. They include Devon Carlson (@devonleecarlson), Tanya Kizko (@tanyakizko), Issa Lish (@issalien) and Charlene Almarvez (@charlenealmarvez).  Each influencer worked with stylist Daniel Packar to showcase the pieces in a way that corresponds to their personal styles.

To further amplify the collection, Juicy Couture will activate the #JUICYAD hashtag throughout the season, as well as launch a content series on social media. #COUTURECHRONICLES will highlight specific influencer’s lifestyles and how the brand impacts their lives.

Juicy Couture has been undergoing a major revamp over the past few years. A growing nostalgia for 00s fashion and pop culture has given the brand a much needed boost. In 2017, it released a version of its iconic velour tracksuits with what was then the buzziest brand in the industry, Vetements. This year, it held its first ever New York Fashion Week show for the Fall 2018 season in February.

@nissapouncey for Juicy Couture

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Campaigns Editor's pick social media

H&M’s /Nyden crowdsources designs via influencer Instagram Stories

Nyden, H&M, millennials, influencer marketing, fashion, Instagram
/Nyden

H&M Group’s newest brand /Nyden is tapping into Instagram Stories for its latest collection, teaming up with influencers to crowdsource design features.

Influencers are asking their audiences to answer polls to better understand their preferences in a garment, such as closures (zipper or button), embellishments (fringe or sequin) or whether they prefer neutral or bold patterns. The result will be two dresses entirely crowdsourced by the digital audience.

Christopher Skogfeldt, /Nyden co-founder and head of product says: “We want to show that the power of design lies in the hands of the people, not necessarily just designers sitting in their showroom in Paris.” Adding that: “We believe that inspiration and design is happening all the time, all around us. We want to empower people to show more of that and to create together by giving the power back through democratized fashion.”

Nyden, H&M, millennials, influencer marketing, fashion, Instagram
/Nyden

Influencers include Alyssa Coscarelli, senior editor at Refinery29 (@alyssainthecity), lifestyle blogger Javvy (@savvyjavvy) and influencer Amanda Orelli (@eastcoastfox), all based in the US.

/Nyden launched in April 2018 as the antidote to seasonal, trend-led shopping. Instead, it presents collections as ‘drops’ and collaborates with pop culture figures relevant to its young audience – such as British singer Dua Lipa and LA-based tattoo artist Dr. Woo – to design its limited collections. Both from a retail and design perspective, the brand is borrowing from streetwear’s success formula of generating hype through exclusivity, while putting creativity and community at the forefront.

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Campaigns Editor's pick social media

Adidas Originals speaks to influencers via personalized billboards

adidas Originals influencer marketing billboard campaign
adidas Originals campaign

Adidas Originals’ latest offline campaign speaks to a group of influencers individually through a series of personalized billboards in Los Angeles and New York, promoting the launch of the P.O.D. shoe.

The brand worked with Clear Channel Outdoor to create 16 out of home ads calling out each influencer, including Tony Mui, who works at Complex magazine and hosts a YouTube channel; Kalysse Anthony, model and stylist; and Scott Reyes, an LA-based photographer.

Each billboard references the influencer’s social media handle and a message directly related to their personal lives that they have shared on social media, with a call to action to head to the nearest Adidas store to pick up the new sneakers. User Jacques Slade (@kustoo), for instance, was told to grab a pair for his next unboxing episode, while Tyler Glickman (@t_glick) was congratulated for recently getting married.

Adidas has been increasingly experimenting with personalized marketing to engage with an audience that is highly distracted by their digital behaviours. During 2018’s Boston Marathon, the sportswear brand created 30,000 personalized videos, one for each runner participating, by using data generated by the RFID-enabled running bibs. That data, combined with footage from seven different cameras stretched throughout the course, generated individual videos available to watch and share online after the race.

At the same time, out of home advertising is experiencing somewhat of a reawakening as marketers tap into the young consumer’s need for creating content. At this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Glossier president and COO. Henry Davis, explained that billboards are a great strategy for the cult beauty brand because they are just the beginning of the conversation – as consumers spot the billboard, they feel compelled to photograph it and create and share (digital) content themselves, thus taking ownership of that conversation with the brand.

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Campaigns film

SK-II launches campaign to empower women to embrace their age

The Expiry Date - SK-II
The Expiry Date – SK-II

Japanese beauty brand SK-II has launched its #INeverExpire campaign in the US after a successful reception in China, focusing on empowering women to embrace their age.

The campaign centers around a video called The Expiry Date, which has so far garnered over 100 million views globally and opened a discussion on Asian age-related pressures. To make the content more relevant to the American audience, the brand chose key influencers, among them actress Chloe Bennet, who kicked off the campaign this week, and #Girlboss founder Sophia Amoruso.

In total five women are starring in a series of video interviews, which will be released throughout this week, where they discuss the premise of the campaign and from their personal viewpoint, the societal pressures they believe are put on women in the US.

SK-II has been playing in this space for some time. Its most famous campaign to date is the Marriage Market Takeover, which highlighted China’s “leftover” women –  women above age 25 who are deemed too old to be marriage material. The viral video showcases so-called “marriage markets” that take place all over the country and see families putting out ads for the marriage of their female offspring. It then ends in an emotional message of Asian women defending their singledom status to their families. It was viewed over 1.2 million times in one day.

The#INeverExpire campaign, as well the Marriage Market Takeover, both sit under SK-II’s brand philosophy titled: Change Destiny. Launched globally in 2015, the ethos focuses on communicating female empowerment through a series of campaigns and other marketing activities that encourage women to take charge of their own destinies.

Marriage Market Takeover by SK-II
Marriage Market Takeover by SK-II

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business digital snippets e-commerce film mobile social media Startups technology

What you missed: Nike scavenger hunts, AI changing how we shop, Reebok’s Oscars letter

Nike's scavenger hunts
Nike’s scavenger hunts

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion business, digital comms and tech industry news over the past week.


TOP STORIES
  • Inside the wild world of Nike’s high-tech scavenger hunts [Mashable]
  • No clicks required: Artificial intelligence is changing how we shop, Boxed CEO says [CNBC]
  • Reebok just sent an open letter to the Academy Awards asking for a new award to honour fitness trainers [AdWeek]
  • The evolution of retail personalisation, in five charts [Glossy]

BUSINESS
  • Aldo to buy Vince Camuto in a merger of shoe brands [NY Times]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Dior and Louis Vuitton are the fashion brands with best Instagram Stories engagement [BoF]
  • How H&M is using Instagram to drive buzz for its latest brand, Arket [Digiday]

MARKETING
  • Shoemaker Kickers capitalises on FOMO to spur purchases [Digiday]
  • Boohoo enlists all-female crew for #AllGirls ads, but critics claim diversity vision is lost in casting [The Drum]
  • Female empowerment imagery more effective than sex appeal in ads, says Facebook [The Drum]
  • The fashion influencer has found a new gig [Refinery29]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • 3 things retailers can do to compete with Amazon [Retail Dive]
  • GGP looks to revive its malls with interactive concept stores [Glossy]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Streetwear brands are tapping the creative power of AR [JWT Intelligence]
  • The end of typing: The next billion mobile users will rely on video and voice [WSJ]
  • Here’s what you need to know about voice AI, the next frontier of brand marketing [AdWeek]

START-UPS
  • With “return bars” and “returnistas”, Happy Returns is eliminating the hassle of returning online orders by mail [LeanLuxe]
  • This virtual try-on system for clothing might actually work [Engadget]
Categories
e-commerce social media

Burberry leverages popularity of WeChat’s top fashion blogger with exclusive DK88 launch

Burberry announced its exclusive launch of its new DK88 handbag with Mr. Bags through a game on WeChat
Burberry announced its exclusive launch of its new DK88 handbag with Mr. Bags through a game on WeChat

First Strathberry, then Givenchy, and now Burberry – luxury brands are learning that it pays to work with China’s authority on high-end handbags when introducing their collections to Chinese consumers. On Monday (May 3), Burberry partnered with Mr. Bags for an exclusive online WeChat shop launch of its leather DK88 handbag, which was also released in the United States just one day after the Met Gala.

The featured colour for the launch, chosen by Mr. Bags, is called Bright Toffee and is currently only available for purchase in China on Burberry’s official WeChat shop, running for 18,500 RMB (about US$2,683).

The DK88 bags are also available on the WeChat store in four additional colours: Blossom Pink, Slate Blue, Dark Chocolate, and Black, some of which are not currently listed on the US website (though Burberry CEO Christopher Bailey has said customisations would be available). While official sales figures so far have not yet been released, at press time the special-edition colours were sold out. If previous performances are anything to go by, Burberry likely has made a significant dent in the wallets of Mr. Bags’ loyal followers.

As part of the campaign, Burberry also created a WeChat game that invites users to use the shake feature on their phones to ‘paint’ the DK88 bags. With each shake, a new bag colour is revealed, along with a description on what the colour says about the person who likes it. For example, those who pick pink are “passionate” and “optimists,” while slate blue lovers are “gentle, delicate, elegant, and quiet”.

From there, the game gives users the option to send a personalised message to a friend featuring the bag colour of their choosing, or they can go into the WeChat store and read up on more details about the bags and ultimately make a purchase. Customers are given the option to make payments using WeChat, Alipay, or Union Pay. Mr. Bags also tells customers on his WeChat post that first-time buyers can email a screenshot of their order to him, and he will pick out two lucky winners to receive a special gift.

Mr. Bags said in his post announcing the collaboration that he chose the Bright Toffee colour because it’s the most representative of the brand for Chinese consumers, as it’s a similar shade to the tan tones in Burberry’s iconic scarves and trench coats. So far, the response from his followers has been positive, aside from the disappointment expressed by many commenters about certain colours being sold out.

Collaborations between fashion bloggers and luxury brands are not uncommon in China, but e-commerce partnerships through WeChat has been an emerging trend as an increasing number of fashion houses get comfortable with hosting sales on the popular social media platform.

In one of the most recent examples, top Weibo fashion blogger and influencer, Gogoboi, opened a WeChat boutique where he curates and sells clothes and accessories from luxury online retailers like Yoox and Farfetch. Burberry’s endeavour comes as the brand reported a rise in sales at a “high single digit” rate in mainland China.

By Jessica Rapp @jrapppp

This article was originally published on Jing Daily, a Fashion & Mash content partner.

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Comment social media

Comment counts: Getting your influencer game right is more important than ever

Luxury brands need to prioritise how influencers contribute to the balance of honouring brand heritage and driving their bottom line, says Glenn Ebert, senior strategist at SapientNitro.

Influencer marketing
Selena Gomez now commands $550,000 for a post on Instagram. (Image via @selenagomez)

Ad Week recently deemed Selena Gomez the most lucrative influencer for brands to collaborate with on social media. She charges $550,000 for a post on Instagram. “Instamodels” Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid (who recently launched a social-media driven capsule collection with Tommy Hilfiger both via social and in-store) command up to $300k a post.

There is no disputing that influencer marketing across all facets of the fashion industry has proven itself to be more than just a trend. Yet, as the fees influencers charge per post continue to rise, how do brands justify the spend?

The first question for defining an influencer strategy is, how do brands decide on which influencer to collaborate with? The unfortunate truth is many fashion brands are guilty of vetting most influencers from a sense of “gut feeling”; be it from members of a brand’s digital team, the rolodex of creative director, or the little black book of the public relations team. The suggestions can come from anywhere. I once heard of a CMO whose 13-year-old son suggested who to partner with, based on who he thought was “cool”. Either way, qualitative assumption and emotion often outweigh consideration of analytics and impact on the bottom line when developing influencer content and collaborations.

No one likes to quantify his or her friends. However, given the dire times and budget crunches some players in the industry, including the likes of Burberry, HUGO BOSS and Prada, are facing, it’s become a necessary evil. From shallow metrics like reach and engagement with content, to more serious matters of getting the most out of your production shoot spends, influencer marketing can be a smart move for luxury brands if the fit and timing is right. But it can also be a huge liability if executed poorly or without a cohesive creative vision.

Beyond defining benchmarks and measures for success to justify influencer spend, including comparing content engagement against brand performance, cost-per-engagement and the ability to convert to sale, brands also have to be aware of the legal minefield and potential consequences of influencer collaborations.

American ad regulatory agency the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has stepped up its efforts to go after brands and influencers alike who don’t disclose sponsored content more explicitly, recently making examples out of social media powerhouses such as L’Oréal and Aimee Song (of popular fashion blog Song of Style) for not properly disclosing content. While not as blatant in making an example of luxury brands, the UK regulatory agency ASA also recently published more explicit guidelines for YouTube vloggers, outlining the obligation they have to make promoted content and sponsors more plainly clear.

Meanwhile, however, the data doesn’t lie. Many brands are finding content created from influencer collaborations consistently outperforms its in-house content. Furthermore, it’s produced at a fraction of the cost of the once-standard, multimillion-dollar photo-shoots with celebrity photographers, where the outcome is often better suited for print.


A photo posted by Susie Lau (@susiebubble) on


Yet, as emerging mass brands like Brandy Melville rely entirely on them, the temptation is strong for luxury brands to become too invested and drunk off influencer campaigns, given the strong response the content receives on social channels. If recent critiques and headlines from the old fashion guard are any indication, luxury brands walk a tightrope of perception collaborating with influencers.

With the exception of newly adorned style saviour Alessandro Michele’s spring/summer 2017 presentation for Gucci, much of what defined the recent Milan Fashion Week was not the clothes, but rather a proclamation from industry bible Vogue against influencer culture.

In their respective recap of the week, various editors voiced their annoyance on influencers and style bloggers soiling any air of prestige in Milan, and how brands such as Versace and others should be praised for not giving into a trend, whilst deeming the influencer and blogger presence at some shows “horrible” and “pathetic”.

While influencer elite BryanBoy and Susie Bubble were almost instantaneous in their rebuttals on their own social media channels, calling it hypocrisy and old school “bullying”, it epitomised just how polarising yet poignant the issue has become within the industry.

Influencer marketing, like fashion, is not a one size fits all approach. As the practice continues to gain momentum and varying levels of acceptance across the industry as a whole, it should be an increased priority for each brand’s creative and social teams to better define how influencers contribute to the balance of honouring brand heritage and driving the bottom line.

As tempting as the bandwagon may be, brands still should be highly selective in whom they seek out to collaborate with. This even more so if the said brands are seeking to maintain (or attempt to attain) “luxury” status: a construct today’s social culture and influencers are helping redefine with every new post and engagement.

Glenn Ebert is senior strategist at SapientNitro. Comment Counts is a series of opinion pieces from experts within the industry. Do you have something to say? Get in touch via info@fashionandmash.com.

 

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Comment social media

Comment counts: Why we need to protect influencer autonomy

Brands partnering with influencers must ensure to respect their individual voices to guarantee the exchange of natural, relatable and engaging messages says Georgina Rutherford of IMA (Influencer Marketing Agency).

influencer marketing
One of influencer Marta Riumbau’s posts for the #myhavaianassummer campaign

They started out as bloggers; new-age authors dedicated to growing devoted fanbases through their outward-facing publishing platforms marked as favourites in our internet browsers. Then with the rapid rise of social media, they transformed into digital influencers; a tribe of thought leaders with the power to engage interested audiences on a big scale.

What makes this tribe so remarkable? Influencers are a class of their own, a species that continues to evolve. They transform and adapt according to the consumer and that’s why nobody wants to miss out.

Everyone from broadcasting networks to big-name brands want a piece of the action. Influencer-brand collaborations take many forms, and industry players are continually looking to work out how they can claim such individuals as their own.

It’s time to take a step back and leave the power where it belongs: with the influencer.

Why? The beauty of influencer marketing lies in the fact it is online word-of-mouth. People influence people. A Nielsen study confirms that 84% of consumers say recommendations from friends and family are the most influential and trustworthy source.

Influencers have worked hard to earn their followers’ trust so they can be considered as important as friends or family members. It seems the industry forgets this when they expect to be able to acquire influencer power as part of their own brand image.

 

Good ??? Morning ??? Brasil #myhavaianassummer

A photo posted by Marta Riumbau (@riumbaumarta) on

Take NBC, for example. With the aim of inspiring millennials to tune in to the Olympic Games, the television network enlisted German YouTuber Flula Borg to feature in a series of videos starring US Olympic athletes. The content was to be shared across NBC Olympics’ owned social channels including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.

To enlist a popular content creator to connect with this particular target audience is a great idea. Perfect, in fact. However, if the content were to be shared on the influencer’s own social channels, where he has an intimate connection with his following, then they would have utilised the power of the collaboration to much better effect.

What NBC is doing is not ‘wrong’, but is would be advantageous for a brand to capitalise on the direct relationship between an influencer and their following. Without this connection, the influencer loses their most important weapon: authenticity.

Authenticity is the key ingredient to successful influencer marketing. Consumers are now savvy enough to sense dishonest online marketing, so influencers who are true to themselves appeal to an audience who seek a relationship built on trust and credibility.

It also plays a big role in ensuring that brands do not get lost in the noise of the influencer world. Many opt for short-term paid partnerships rather than manifesting long-term relationships with influencers who truly fit their brand, but the reality is that influencer marketing is built on real relationships and honesty. Finding influencers who know and are dedicated to their audiences is the solution to appealing to consumers in the most genuine way.

So why is it that brands seem to overlook the importance of this bond between an influencer and their audience, sharing collaborative content on their owned channels instead? To build their owned audiences. But things have changed and brands have to remember that consumers would rather listen to other consumers. The top ranked accounts on social channels by subscribers are testament to this – there are hardly any brands to be seen. This shift is what Douglas Holt calls “crowdculture” in the Harvard Business Review.

Social media allows individuals to become powerful cultural innovators, creating better content than brands ever could and pushing them out of the picture. For this reason, brands are better off letting the influencers do the talking instead of pushing branded content through their own channels.

 

Havaianas did this really well with its recent initiative aimed at introducing the iconic brand to a younger teenage audience (as pictured here). A number of European vloggers joined the brand on a trip to Brazil where they immersed themselves in the country’s cultural heritage. Each influencer shared their experience through video content unique to their individual styles with no e-commerce links, minimal product push and the simple hashtag accompaniment: #myhavaianassummer.

By keeping the ball in the influencers’ courts, allowing them the freedom to share original content through their own voices, Havaianas got the most out of influencer marketing. The brand was provided with a diverse range of exciting content that directly targeted a large percentage of its target audience. Furthermore, it also secured a set of strong ambassadors that can grow and develop with the brand.

The industry does not need any more cookie cutter brand-spokespeople or new-era media icons. It needs more content creators. More passion. More dynamism. More individuality. Because let’s face it, influencers still have the freedom to take an angle that most advertisers or journalists can’t.

It all comes back to the fact that people listen to other people, not brands. Brands have to accept that traditional branding models have been flipped on their head. They need to let go and allow influencers to take control, so that the message is conveyed in the best possible way and the influencer can preserve their own voice; the voice the audience connected to in the first place. Want to reach that audience? Trust the influencer.

Georgina Rutherford is marketing manager at IMA (Influencer Marketing Agency). Comment Counts is a series of opinion pieces from experts within the industry. Do you have something to say? Get in touch via info@fashionandmash.com.