Can bloggers be used as influencers in the luxury market?
The luxury fashion industry has been going through somewhat of an identity crisis for some years, trying to fit in with new millennium and generation Y and research shows that digital marketing is a topic that luxury marketing can’t ignore (Hiene, 2013). Whatever the case, social media following has become a big deal to brands eager to reach today’s consumer, and they’ll often rely on fashion bloggers to make it happen. Fashion bloggers have capitalised on the trend of luxury brands looking for a helping hand to elevate their digital profile, rewarding themselves the title “digital influencer” (Eytan, 2016). The term was coined when their audience started to shift away from the blogs, and instead started following these fashion bloggers predominantly via Instagram, with many of your favourite bloggers now appearing on the front row of all major shows and have started to appear in more luxury and VIP campaigns. The current argument within the luxury fashion sector is whether bloggers work in luxury fashion marketing. Many argue than bloggers can cheapen the look of these expensive brands and using them can take away the exclusivity that many of the luxury fashion consumers are looking for. With the belief that the blogging world can take away the expensiveness and exclusivity of the brand, picking the right brand ambassadors for the campaign and target audience is an important feature for the success of your campaign.
Picking which blogger to choose can be difficult as there are now so many – but the reality is the VIP target market is less engaged and trusting in bloggers with millions of followers over bloggers with smaller audiences because the relation is less personal, and consumers react well to personalisation (Gordan and Hulls, 2015) and relatability. These smaller and more select bloggers are called power middle bloggers (The Realtime Report, 2013), power middle bloggers provide qualitative blogs with followings between 10’000 and 50’000 monthly visits. They provide the highest quality content but within communities that are highly trusting, even for sponsored articles (Phelan, 2016). These smaller blogs will not be compromised on the “exclusivity aspect” that luxury brands love so much and their audience will be more reactive and provide better results. Power middle bloggers are gently dethroning celebrities and star bloggers; people are looking for fashion, travel, lifestyle blogs when it comes to get inspiration and be inspired, not celebrities, especially within the luxury market.
These power middle fashion bloggers have now started to appear more and more within the luxury sector, one of the most successful and recent blogger and luxury brand collaboration was Coach’s campaign in 2010 which consisted of four fashion bloggers Simpson of What Is Reality Anyway, Kelly Framel of The Glamourai, Karla Deras of Karla’s Closet, and Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere to design limited-edition bags for the company. The four bloggers chosen were four well known fashion bloggers, which at the time was a small pool to choose from therefore they still had a small and exclusive following at the time. A study on the impact of luxury fashion brand’s social media marketing on customer relationship and purchase Intention proves the effectiveness of luxury brands’ SMM on both customer relationships and purchase intention (Kim and Ko, 2010). With this in mind and the successful coach collaboration it proves that digital marketing and that bloggers can work with luxury fashion brand and showed that luxury brands can still have that VIP edge, even with the use of a daily blogger.
The relationship between bloggers and social media within the luxury market will always be one in which people disagree. The idea that bloggers can cheapen an exclusive and expensive brand is the obvious statement. However previous brands have proved that using the correct blogger, usually a smaller and more exclusive blogger, can work within this new technologically obsessed era. This shows that when creating a campaign using bloggers, especially within the luxury market, picking the bloggers, and ensuring they suit your target audience, can influence whether the campaign is going to be successful or not. Consumers need to feel that they can relate and trust the bloggers and with influencer marketing becoming the new content king (Morrison, 2015) it’s even more important for the influencer used to be relatable and to your target market.
Eytan, D. (2016). Are Fashion Bloggers Able to Convert Followers into Buyers?. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/?toURL=https://www.forbes.com/sites/declaneytan/2016/05/11/are-fashion-bloggers-able-to-convert-followers-into-buyers/&refURL=https://www.google.co.uk/&referrer=https://www.google.co.uk/ [Accessed 5 Apr. 2017].
Gordon, K. and Hulls, R. (2015). Consumers want Control of Personalisation in Order to Build Trust. [online] Digitalmarketingmagazine.co.uk. Available at: http://digitalmarketingmagazine.co.uk/digital-marketing-data/consumers-want-control-of-personalisation-in-order-to-build-trust [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017].
Hiene, K. (2013). Luxury goes digital: how to tackle the digital luxury brand–consumer touchpoints. Journal of global fashion marketing, 5(3).
Kim, A. and Ko, E. (2010). Impacts of Luxury Fashion Brand’s Social Media Marketing on Customer Relationship and Purchase Intention. Journal of Global Fashion Marketing, 1(3), pp.164-171.
Morrison, K. (2015). Why Influencer Marketing is the New Content King [Infographic]. [online] Adweek.com. Available at: http://www.adweek.com/digital/why-influencer-marketing-is-the-new-content-king-infographic/ [Accessed 26 Apr. 2017].
Phelan, H. (2016). The Power of the Mid-Tier Blogger. [online] Racked. Available at: http://www.racked.com/2016/5/23/11703698/mid-tier-bloggers-whatvwore [Accessed 23 Apr. 2017].
The Realtime Report. (2013). “Power Middle” Influencer Marketing Campaigns Drive 16x Engagement Of Paid Or Owned Media – The Realtime Report. [online] Available at: http://therealtimereport.com/2013/03/20/power-middle-influencer-marketing-campaigns-drive-16x-engagement-of-paid-or-owned-media/ [Accessed 26 Apr. 2017].