the global influencer economy, the dark arts of influence and why brands can’t afford to play if safe part 1 by Robb Young on BOF today

https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/professional/tracking-global-influence-part-one?utm_source=Subscribers&utm_campaign=b4806fd98e-12-350-for-a-pair-of-adidas&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d2191372b3-b4806fd98e-417402485

Dear Shaded Viewers,

I started my morning reading this informed and witty article by  BOF’s  Robb Young. I encourage you to visit the site and read it in its entirety.

“On the Snooki effect:

“But most tellingly, perhaps, the sensation that was Snooki reveals how the business of influence has a darker side that some fashion insiders will seek to exploit — and an ambiguous nature that leads more than a few executives to distraction.”

“There is a wicked new marketing strategy currently sending shock waves through the high-stakes competitive world of luxury fashion. It’s devious, delightful and deliciously dirty,” wrote Doonan in his salacious column for the New York Observer back in 2010, aptly called “How Snooki Got Her Gucci.”

“Brands can be disappointed with the outcome of a halo-effect investment even without a PR disaster. When big money is paid to a big-name celebrity, the return on investment (ROI) is a factor of relevance as much as it is of risk. According to Gil Eyal, whose influencer search and discovery firm HYPR counts Michael Kors, Pepsi and AOL among its clients, one of the most poignant examples of this is when Estée Lauder-owned Bobbi Brown signed Sports Illustrated model Kate Upton as brand ambassador.”

The halo-effect delusion

“The whole point of influence is influence itself, not the influencer,” offers Haggai Klorman, co-founder of Preen.me, a digital solutions agency with beauty clients ranging from Charlotte Tilbury to IT Cosmetics.

It is true that an influencer can occasionally be catastrophic or critical to a brand’s success, but it is usually the substance of the influence strategy behind the influencer that determines the broader business outcome. Though a very important part of the equation, the influencer is just one factor in a complex influence dynamic.

“It was a three-year multi-million-dollar endorsement deal, [but when you examine] Upton’s audience demographics, 80 percent of her audience are males who are interested in humour, basketball, football and gaming. Not only was Upton’s audience predominantly male, but they had no interest in cosmetics,” says Eyal.

“On the flipside, he suggests, is Australian beauty brand Becca, which was also acquired by Estée Lauder. Becca collaborated with YouTube beauty influencer Jaclyn Hill after she used the Shimmering Skin Perfector in a 2014 video, causing sales to skyrocket. Eyal believes this was a success not only because Hill’s brand affinity for Becca was considered authentic, but also because the brand did its due diligence on Hill’s audience demographic — which is 91 percent female and genuinely interested in beauty and fashion.”

“In China, a new breed of sarcastic, sceptical online influencers from the country’s “diaosi” (“loser”) subculture started infiltrating the country’s fashion market last year thanks to blogger Papi Jiang. Although it is challenging to find the right brand fit for commercial partnerships, their rise demonstrates the growing appeal of unscripted quirky influencers with integrity.”

“In fact, seven out of the top 10 Weibo posts by beauty brands studied featured a male star,” says Liz Flora, editor of Asia-Pacific Research at digital agency L2.

The Weibo posts by male pop star Luhanpromoting L’Occitane, for example, generated 186 times more engagement than the brand’s average for its own account, and L’Occitane said he was a major cause of a 250 percent increase in China online marketplace sales. “Our report also found that he generated 89 percent of Cartier’s total Weibo interactions last year,” Flora adds.

Take Oh Hyuk, the leader of Hyukoh Band, an underground indie band in Korea, who went mainstream having had exposure in TV programmes like Infinite Challenge. With a shaved head, face piercings and plucked eyebrows, the striking bad boy made it on the cover of the Chinese and Korean editions of Dazed, but is only on the radar of a few international brands.

“He’s known for his fashion sense and works with a very talented stylist, Kim Yeyong… who’s styled numerous covers for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar,” says Inhae Yeo, the Korean founder of communications agency Oikonomos

“In China, a new breed of sarcastic, sceptical online influencers from the country’s “diaosi” (“loser”) subculture started infiltrating the country’s fashion market last year thanks to blogger Papi Jiang. Although it is challenging to find the right brand fit for commercial partnerships, their rise demonstrates the growing appeal of unscripted quirky influencers with integrity.”

“Shinoda explains that fashion outsiders are filling the void left by fashion insiders. “There are a few buyers who are influencers, like Poggy from United Arrows, Miss Yoshimi Nagao from Takashimaya or Mrs Yukari Negishi of Ron Herman. But, ironically, fashion journalists here are not good at their Instagram. Yu Masui might be the only good one, actually.”

“Citing a “certain pride in isolationism” and “a popular Russian proverb ‘what’s normal to a Russian is deadly to a German,’” Amato believes that “consumers in CIS countries aren’t that interested in things that are at the top of the agenda for Western European and American brands right now, like sustainability, inclusion on the runways, ideas of model size and disavowing fur and so on,” he claims.”

“High net worth individual (HNWI) millennials in Africa are multi-dimensional. They remain hip while running multi-billion-dollar corporations. They own the world’s most exclusive timepieces and luxury vehicles, yet they still find the time to visit their local street-food vendors,” Igbokwe explains. “It’s like this, the luxury consumer in sub-Saharan Africa travels by private aircraft but they still patronise local tuk-tuk tricycles to get from point A to B.”

And to clarify where these sound bytes came from:This article first appeared in BoF’s latest special print issue: The Age of Influence. The issue — which includes our special report on The Business of Beauty — is available for purchase at shop.businessoffashion.com and at select retailers around the world. If you sign up to BoF Professional before June 29, 2018, you’ll receive this issue as part of your annual membership, which also includes unlimited access to articles, exclusive news and analysis, invitations to networking events and our members-only iOS app. Subscribe here today.

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Diane Pernet

A LEGENDARY FIGURE IN FASHION and a pioneer of blogging, Diane is a respected journalist, critic, curator and talent-hunter based in Paris. During her prolific career, she designed her own successful brand in New York, costume designer, photographer, and filmmaker.

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