In the recent past, we could find all of the best fashion styles right from within a magazine. Models with unknown names would have the ability to sell a brand’s product with no additional vessel of communication and the magazine was enough validation for consumers to purchase a product that was being promoted in that issue. It was the brand’s job to create a substantial marketing push and that would end up determining the success for that particular product.
Today, the introduction of social media has changed the marketing ecosystem for consumers products in two big ways: you now have the ability to reach customers in more ways than one and, because of this, consumers have a hard time determining which brands they should trust. Consumers see thousands, if not more, advertisements every single day on any particular social media platform. So, whether they follow a brand’s social media account or not, they see brand posts of pages they have liked, sponsored ads, and posts their friends have liked, diluting their feeds further. As a result, marketers are seeing that it is becoming more difficult to find ways for consumers to trust their brand and convert.
Consumers trust people they can best relate to. These are the type of people consumers like to follow on social media. The people consumer’s trust could be someone that they believe is similar to them or someone that they look up to. Most likely, your brand and/or that brand’s CEO do not resonate as well as a person that is similar to your consumer. With that said, marketers are putting more importance on influencers to boost their brand’s awareness as influencers “bridge that trust gap with your social audience,” as Lauren Teague from Convince & Convert puts it perfectly. If your brand’s Influencer is correctly leveraged, they may even be able to change perceptions and reach new audiences for your brand.
Balmain is one of many examples of a brand that used influencers to build their brand. Balmain is an haute couture fashion house that originally sold its product to the top 1% and those who could drop $2,000 for a pair of jeans without blinking an eye. You would think the top 1% and those who could drop that kind of money on a piece of clothing are one in the same; however, those obsessed with style and fashion have, at one time in their lives, experienced a maxed out credit card and/or severe buyers remorse. The main point is that this kind of information to a marketer is a gold mine to reach a new audience and capitalize on the business of fashion. And we have Olivier Rousteing, Balmain’s designer, to thank for finding this.
Rousteing was able to transform Balmain’s follower base from the mere top 1% to a Millenial-dominated audience with the help of today’s biggest social media influencers, Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid. Consumers see Kendall and Gigi as some of the biggest leaders in fashion with even better personalities. Consumers know this because they follow them on Instagram and Snapchat. Young consumers feel close to these influencers because they feel they are able to relate to them in some way. It may be age, “realness,” but what they notice the most is that these models don’t take themselves too seriously. The more authentic someone is, the better liked they are for the younger generation. Rousteing’s ability to determine the gaping hole of opportunity in Balmain’s business became a hook, line, and sinker when he partnered Balmain with H&M to create more affordable clothing for their consumers. As a result, Rousteing successfully leveraged influencers on social media to change the brand’s perception and reached new audiences.