Luxury brands are all about their heritage, quality craftsmanship, finesse and most importantly possess an air of exclusivity. For decades now these brands have thrived on their prestige and have been extra conscious of the fact that their narrative and storytelling is controlled and guided by them, especially when it comes to marketing. So how is that this scenario has taken a complete U-turn? And why are these brands now consciously entering into this new age of influencer marketing?
Let’s first look at what this rage is all about. Influencer Marketing has been a buzzword for quite some time now. It’s basically a mix of traditional and modern ways of marketing, using influencers like celebrities or bloggers or social media content creators in order to endorse products and services. What’s new is that this kind of marketing also results in the creation of collaborations between these brands and the influencers.
Well, it isn’t the case that luxury brands have been alien to the use of this form of marketing. It’s just that these brands have gravitated more only towards having celebrity ambassadors, endorsements, and partnerships. However there has been a worldwide shift from traditional media to new media or social media, especially now during a time like this when the entire world is facing a lockdown, the consumers are spending time on social media.
Luxury brands have been more than cautious while approaching this form of marketing. However, the scenario is changing; brands are no longer about secrecy, intimidation, and mystery. It’s all about the values, quality, sustainability and more. That is why it’s become even more difficult for luxury brands to retain customers and bring new consumers on board. Especially with the millennial generation resonating to different values and lifestyles.
Consumers today are more conscious and critical of what they are consuming, even as advertisements. Influencers not only have a relationship in the form of engagement with their followers but also a relationship of trust. Most followers know that these bloggers are authentic in their voice and this is exactly what luxury brands need at this point. This has necessitated the need for luxury brands to turn to influencer marketing. A hidden benefit for luxury brands is that these content creators who are fashion icons for their millions of followers usually already endorse products (without paid promotions) which is passive yet organic marketing for luxury brands.
Brands like Chanel, Gucci, and Dior have gone the extra mile to build their relationship with these bloggers by inviting them to fashion weeks in order for their content to reach out to millions and make an impact. Several accounts of successful collaborations are witness to not only increased media value but also conversions in terms of sales.
The famous YouTube vlogger Jeffree Star, for instance, and his love for Gucci was known to all. Gucci took advantage of this opportunity and ended up designing a custom ‘Pink Luggage’ collection exclusively for him. What came next was millions of followers reading about this gesture in detail along with pictures and videos on social media, thereby making him the top influencer for the brand. And as for Gucci, it earned not just media mentions but also sales worth $1.6 million! (Source)
The Influencer marketing industry has grown to become a billion-dollar industry especially with social media apps like Instagram with over a billion users these numbers are here to stay for long. (Source)
Furthermore, with the onset of Artificial Intelligence in this spectrum, there is nothing but more engagement. Virtual influencers like Miquela, Bermuda or Imma who practically don’t even exist and yet have thousands of followers on Instagram. These virtual influencers have already undertaken influencer campaigns for Louis Vuitton and Calvin Klein amongst others.
The only thing that is there for the brand to decide is the kind of influencer they want as their brand representative and the kind of content that they would like to display; is it influencer-driven, a collaboration, an endorsement or what? Especially keeping in mind, the niche audience that they want to cater to and most importantly not dilution their brand identity.
Quintessentially, it can be said that influencer marketing has proven itself to get a large number of engagement and buzz for the brand. The luxury brands that are on board with this kind of marketing are already reaping the benefits for the same. The only crucial thing now is for brands to create authentic content, keeping intact their brand values and equity as more and more people indulge in the luxury world.
About the author: Heena Manghani (MGLUXM Batch – 6)
With a background in Journalism and Mass Media, Heena developed strong skills in communication and content creation. She is currently pursuing her dual city Masters in Global Luxury Brand Management in SP Jain School of Global Management and Politecnico Di Milano.
This article was originally published on The Luxury Network. You can read it here.