Fashion brands don’t sell products, they sell social currency.
If a company is too focused on advertising a product for what it is, chances are, your customers will have a hard time seeing its value.
In marketing terms, what fashion brands sell is called “social value”.
Social value is about fitting in, by showing belonging to a particular group, as well as standing out from the crowd.
The challenge with selling this type of value has to do with how to communicate this value to your audiences. Fashion companies cannot rely on their owned media, as this is not a very persuasive approach to share your message. Owned media refers to the content directly created by the company, which is often perceived as untruthful, as a brand has every interest in presenting its products in the most attractive way possible.
Social value is delivered through earned media, or content acquired through third-party publishers.
You guessed it, influencers are a big part of an earned media strategy.
Because of this, influencers have a lot of power over brands. Influencers can play a very important role in delivering social validation and help the brand develop a more authentic feel, by borrowing credibility through third-party sponsorship.
Influencer marketing has become really popular these days, but there is a lot to discuss when it comes to the benefits and challenges of marketing your brand through influencers.
In this post, we’re going to try and help out by providing a list of the top reasons and challenges that come with this strategy.
Benefits of Influencer Marketing
Here are some of the most valuable benefits of influencer marketing.
Benefit: Build a Stronger Brand Awareness
One of the most immediate benefits of using influencer marketing connects to expanding your reach as a brand. By working with personalities that have developed large followings, you can aspire to connect to a very large audience pool, one that can be responsive to your products and communications.
This can be relevant for your brand, especially if your company is starting out and you’re dealing with a lot of noise coming from the industry.
If you are dealing with a saturated and noisy market, getting the word out and building a strong buzz can be helpful to develop an early community around your products and services.
At the same time, it’s also important to remember that awareness does not mean sales, and even a well-implemented publicity strategy may not provide short-term economic rewards.
Benefit: Develop a More Authentic “Feel” for Your Brand
Authenticity is an important aspect of your brand, as it relates to how your company is perceived by your audience.
Usually, authenticity is connected to three different characteristics.
- Authenticity is connected to your brand’s history and legacy, or the history of its founder.
- Authenticity is also connected with the unique processes connected to the manufacturing of your products.
- Lastly, authenticity is connected to the purpose the business is pursuing, ideally not putting economic rewards above all else.
These associations can be challenging to build for your brand, as brands need to do a lot of educational\informational outreach to discuss these topics and turn them into strong cultural dimensions of their company.
As you may have guessed, influencers can really help on this end of things as they can provide “validation by proxy” or lend their own credibility to your company to confirm and stand by the values that your company is embodying.
Benefit: You Could go “Viral”
Although going viral is not simple at all – as organic reach in social media is constantly shrinking – partnering with the right influencer can be a successful way to share your message across multiple platforms and potentially gain support from social media algorithms.
Of course, going viral is not something that can be planned, as there is not an exact recipe to ride the wave of social sharing. In this sense, if your goal is to go viral, know that chances are very slim, and influencer marketing may not be a viable approach to achieve this goal.
Benefit: A Versatile Tool for Any Business
Finally, the last benefit of this approach revolves around its versatility. Almost any business can benefit from influencer marketing, making this a possible course of action for a wide variety of industries.
Great! Now that we’ve touched upon the benefits connected to influencer marketing, it may be fair to discuss some of the possible shortcomings associated with this strategy.
Challenges of Influencer Marketing
Here are some of the most relevant challenges of influencer marketing.
Con: It’s Hard to Measure
The first element to take into account relates to measurement. Influencer marketing can be really hard to measure in terms of returns on investment. As mentioned above, a big leap in brand awareness does not necessarily mean a leap in sales. In this sense, it can be difficult to budget how much money you’d like to spend on your influencer campaign if you are not able to fully assess your profits.
Con: It’s Difficult to Choose The Right Influencer
The influencer world is complex and fragmented. It can be difficult to scout the right influencer for your business knowing that you are looking for many different things at once. You need someone who can connect to your target audience, someone who shares your same values and goals, and someone who can deliver results. These are not simple characteristics to come by, let alone finding all three in the same individual.
Con: It can cause PR issues
As Influencers have long careers, there is a non-negligible risk that a successful partnership today, could potentially backfire a few months or years down the line, as in the case of a PR scandal. In this sense, choosing the right partnership should entail also a long-term perspective focused on considering the impact of possible PR issues on your brand.
Con: It May Not Provide Long term Feasibility
Last, but not least, it could be argued that when working with influencers you are technically borrowing their credibility and validation.
This will only work for some time before your brand needs to substantiate its promises and claims without resorting to third-party collaborations.
In this sense, it could be difficult to see an influencer marketing approach as a long-term strategy.
Great! Now that we’ve touched upon all of the relevant information, it’s time to draw a few conclusive remarks.
There you have it! In this post, we’ve discussed some of the most important opportunities and challenges associated with influencer marketing.
If you’re interested in reading more on this topic, here’s a book we recommend to help you scale your business and develop a broad and engaged audience.
If you’re interested in reading more about marketing applied to the creative industries, don’t hesitate to explore our blog, where you can find a wealth of free information for you to delve into. Enjoy!