When it comes to promoting new season collections, many fashion brands use influencer content to complement as well as boost awareness of their main marketing campaigns. 

For British retailer Jack Wills, this content is now taking centre stage. Instead of dedicating a large budget to professional photo shoots, Jack Wills has been working in conjunction with social media influencers to create content to promote its new collections.

According to influencer management platform Takumi, which manages the activity, the strategy has been highly successful. Recent influencer content for Jack Wills’ Sporting Goods collection generated 29,600 likes, 750 comments, an engagement rate of 2.99% - all with a reach of over 1m.

So, why is influencer content proving to be the best choice for fashion brands? Here’s a bit more on the case study, along with what we might learn from it.

Resources and budget

There’s no doubt that social media has dramatically changed the fashion industry as a whole. Last year, Brooklyn Beckham was chosen as the photographer for Burberry’s latest ad campaign – in no small part thanks to his millions of Instagram followers (and perhaps his famous parents). Similarly, Kendall Jenner was chosen to be the face of Estee Lauder, over and above other models or celebrities with less influence on social. 

Alongside general reach, another reason fashion brands are turning to influencers on social media is that these campaigns can be much easier to facilitate – in terms of both time and budget.

For Jack Wills, a brand that launches new collections every few months, new photo shoots and related ad campaigns can be time consuming and budget draining. While working with top Instagrammers doesn't immediately solve all these problems, influencers can potentially provide a greater variety and volume of content, as well as a built-in distribution network.

Greater authenticity

One of the main challenges within influencer marketing is creating content that is authentic, and that it does not appear salesy. Of course, this remains a even more difficult considering the fact that consumers are increasingly demanding of relevant and personalised social interactions, meaning the hard sell just doesn’t work anymore. Then again, neither does being too subtle, with transparency also being of vital importance to consumers.

So what’s the answer? For Jack Wills (and many other brands), it is to work with micro-influencers – online creators who have a smaller but more highly engaged audience.

Alongside this, Jack Wills ensures authenticity by choosing influencers who are a good fit for the brand in terms of their personal style, interests, and values. To promote its sportswear collection, for example, it has worked with influencers such as personal trainer and fitness author, Max Lowery. Meanwhile, for more trend-led items, it has worked with menswear blogger, Jake Spencer.

In this sense, Jack Wills’ influencer strategy is also part of its aim to appeal to a wider and more diverse audience. While it has typically been thought of as a brand for affluent teenagers or young millennials in the past, it is now targeting an older audience – one who might not have considered wearing the brand before. With 59% of all 18-29 year olds said to be using Instagram, it is the perfect platform to reach them.

Greater control and creativity for influencers

As well as brands reaping the rewards of authentic influencer content, it seems the influencers themselves are also benefitting from these kinds of relationships. Essentially, it means that creators are given greater control and freedom over the content they create, which is then used as advertising for a brand. It is far removed from the days of posting a one-off product promotion, with no real input or creativity from the influencer themselves.

So, what other fashion brands are putting this kind of content first? 

1. Brandy Melville

In March 2016, US retailer Brandy Melville generated 9.3m likes on Instagram, making it the top fashion brand for engagement. As well as a heavy focus on ‘lifestyle’ rather than just the clothes themselves, one of the key reasons for its success was the online influencers it used. During a single month, Brandy Melville increased its following 1.6%, with 53,000 new followers added.

Jimmy Choo

Luxury fashion brands are also realising the power of influencers. Jimmy Choo, for example, capitalises on the credibility of style influencers – i.e. fashion bloggers who are known for being on the cutting edge of the industry.

Each year it holds its #ChooTravels event, documenting it in an editorial shoot, as well as allowing the influencers to post related content on their own channels.

Mejuri

Finally, it’s not just big fashion brands that are putting influencer content first. Fine jewellery brand Mejuri recently undertook a similar campaign to Jack Wills, partnering with six top fashion influencers to launch a limited edition collection. Working with a diverse set of influencers, each specifically chosen to represent the brand’s aesthetic, the campaign resulted in an increase in engagement.

Subscribers can download the Measuring ROI on Influencer Marketing report.

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Nikki Gilliland

Published 19 October, 2017 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (1)

Craig Hanna

Craig Hanna, Digital Business Consultant at the-gma.com

Interesting examples. I'd also be interested in seeing someone write about examples where brands miss the target! Authentic is a great buzz word but hard to achieve and empowering influencers sounds great but what happens when it doesn't fit with the brand?

This is such a new area (relative) and I don't think best ways of working have be established. These issues and others are being discussed at our http://waveinfluencersummit.com/ next month. Brands as diverse as Ryan Air, L'Oreal and GE taking part (Over 100 brands signed up to speak or attend so far).

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