Artcile by Julia Dara
FYou may have noticed that luxury fashion brands have ambassadors. And that, in most cases, are celebrities. These representatives usually are people who identify with the brand’s values and lifestyle – and can be the consumer’s first point of contact with it. This celebrity strategy has much to do with influencer marketing, which intensifies into a completely different and improved process on social media. Keep reading to get into it and know how it changes consumer behavior!
INFLUENCER MARKETING & CELEBRITY STRATEGY
According to the Statista Research Department, with millions of internet users browsing social media platforms, “it is no surprise that marketers are harnessing the power of social media’s most recognizable faces for promotion.” Of course, brand ambassadors existed before the internet, but things have changed.
The global influencer marketing market value has more than doubled since 2019, standing at around 13.8 billion U.S. dollars as of 2021. “As influencer endorsement continues to mature as an industry, the size and value of influencer marketing platforms also continue to expand every year, making collaborations between brands and creators more profitable than ever,” says the research. These are great numbers, but some say that influencer marketing is over. But, is it though?
We previously spoke that influencer marketing relies on trust. And if there is no trust, then influencer marketing cannot really exist. Our recent article reflects on what is the point of influencer recommendations if audiences don’t believe they are genuine.
Perhaps there’s another road being explored in the influencer marketing world nowadays: the relationship of trust and power between artists and their fan base. Let’s unpack it more…
INFLUENCER MARKETING & ARTISTS
The strategy of luxury brands to connect with celebrities has a lot to do with marketing with digital influencers. Most people wouldn’t imagine a singer or actor posting on Instagram with the hashtag #ad, just like digital influencers and content producers do.
These artists have the power to influence a large and loyal audience. Probably more than an influencer because the first one is on two different worlds: the art and the media.
In addition, the mix between these two worlds makes them leaders of this marketing strategy because of their fanbase. In other words, digital influencers don’t have the same loyal fans as artists.
K-POP & LUXURY BRANDS CELEBRITY STRATEGY
A practical example of how artists have more power is the considerable number of k-pop artists portraying the face of luxury brands. The contracts of major European brands interested in the influence of these artists have been increasing in recent years.
Only the Blackpink girls already make a strong team: Jennie, as global ambassador for Chanel and Calvin Klein; Jisoo for Cartier and Dior; Lisa for Celine, Bulgari; Rosé as an ambassador for Saint Laurent and Tiffany & Co.
Analyzing the industry’s innovation in capitalizing on Kpop’s loyalty and their massive numbers, Liv Schreiber, Cofounder of BrandCaffeine, says:
“History and cool clothes don’t cut it. People want innovative, new, inclusive brands that take a stance, have a voice, humor and make luxury accessible. Being real is the new luxury.”
Therefore, the significant demand for luxury products from generation Z is due to brands investing in ambassadors who have a young audience on their hands. And this leads us to another topic: how does a luxury brand deal with huge fanbases and exclusivity?
TAKING LUXURY FASHION CLOSER TO PEOPLE
Besides the numbers and marketing strategy, social media bring people together – at least digitally. And you don’t need to go further to understand this. Watching someone else’s stories can make you feel closer to this person, or at least know more about their daily life than when social media didn’t exist.
In this way, a multi-award-winning artist who is active on Instagram brings an untouchable luxury brand to an audience who is young, more engaged, and used to seeing everything up close. That can be a celebrity strategy in the fashion industry.
But if luxury brands’ characteristics are exclusivity, why would they want such a big audience? Liv Schreiber affirms: “Luxury needs influencers to stay relatable. Simple as that! They need to tap into personality and human connection to reach the gen z audience.”
Luxury brands are rethinking their approach to influencer marketing strategies, as Generation Z represents people who may not find the luxury industry’s traditional business model to be very appealing.
“They need to appear more authentic and have to harness the following of popular actresses and influencers like Emma Chamberlain to speak to a younger audience,” says Liv Schreiber. We could be witnessing a significant turnover in the market. Taking luxury fashion to the mainstream and giving up untouchability could be a future impact. This excerpt from an article by Demetrius Williams emphasizes this point:
“The luxury industry is well placed to meet the needs of demanding customers. After all, this industry has built itself on the excellence of its customer experience. Brands that are accustomed to delivering amazing experiences should be able to take what they know and cater to the next generation of consumers.”
ON THE OTHER HAND…
We are talking about a specific audience here who really consider buying a luxury item just because their favorite artist is working with some brand. But we just can’t forget that not everyone identifies with this lifestyle, which can be a negative point for that fan – or artist.
Therefore, brands cannot appeal to perversity and make all young people feel the need to consume what their favorite artists “tell” them. After all, not everyone lives in the same reality.
CELEBRITY STRATEGY TO INFLUENCE POSITIVELY
In this way, we can not talk about influence and forget its cons. We have one of the big problems faced by this: The need and difficulty to influence positively.
South Korean artists – or every artist – go through tense moments to achieve the desired face, dream body and “perfect” skin color. As a result, fans end up following – even unconsciously – these imposed standards. The standards are real. And they are driven by capitalism and affect most young people.
In this way, being closer to a younger audience and presenting them these standards can outweigh an artist’s influence on a fan of acquiring a Prada bag and lead to serious self-esteem problems.
Every influence strategy needs to be done well-thought-out to avoid future problems, either to a brand or – especially – to people.
It’s interesting to see how luxury fashion is moving away from being old-fashioned in the new generation’s eyes. Also, we can’t wait to see if the brands’ worry about being untouchable will last long.
Despite this, we should pay attention to how many young people follow what their favorite artists say without creating a critical sense.
And, of course, not just any fan will buy a luxury item just because a singer has become a Gucci ambassador. This is an exciting strategy, but it can also be a way for fans to find obstacles between them and their favorite artist.
To sum up, we need to care for our young people regarding standards and understand that not everyone has the privilege of dreaming and affording a luxury item. Thus, a fanbase cannot be defined in general. The strategy works, but we cannot leave the other part – who does not identify – aside.
Like this article? Then you must read this one: 6 Reasons Why You Should Consider Entrepreneurship in Fashion.
JULIA DARA is Content Producer at Fashinnovation. FASHINNOVATION, under the coordination of Marcelo and Jordana Guimaraes, is global platform that bridges the gap between the fashion industry and intersecting industries, through our four main pillars: entrepreneurship, sustainability, technology & innovation, diversity & inclusion.