Best Approaches to Luxury Brand Influencer Collaborations


Best Approaches to Luxury Brand Influencer Collaborations

What is considered a luxury brand?

What is considered luxury? It depends on who you ask. In the past, luxury was defined by quality, price, and status. But today’s consumers are changing, retail is changing and the definition of luxury is changing, especially for younger consumers.

Today, luxury is not only defined by those characteristics. Luxury also includes the brand providing a once-in-a-lifetime experience, personalized items to the owner, and communities consumers can connect with. For consumers to understand the value brands can add to their lives or social status, marketers seek out the help of influencers to enhance their reputation among their current audience and reach future consumers.

What is luxury influencer marketing? What are the benefits of partnering with luxury influencers?

Through luxury influencer marketing, brands work with influencers to authentically promote their products, driving social audiences loyal to these individuals to interact with the brand and provide them with information showcasing the benefits of owning the luxury product. Marketing can be done through social media platforms, video content, and events. Instagram and, increasingly, TikTok are among the most effective platforms for luxury influencers and brands. A study by Instagram found that over 58 percent of global luxury consumers use Instagram to track lifestyle trends and they engage 3x more with content than those following non-luxury brands.

In 2024, marketers are projected to increase influencer spending by 20%. Working with someone who lives in the spotlight to any degree (A-list celebrity, macro-influencers, and micro-influencers) can benefit your brand because of the exposure they have to drive brand awareness and encourage followers to aspire to attain those products. Not only that but when both parties work together, one of the most significant parts of the relationship is coming together to create something neither party would make on their own.

Influencers provide brands with authentic and engaging content to connect with consumers in a world where traditional advertising avenues are declining. Both the brand and influencer’s audiences will want to engage with the content and products produced through the partnership. So, what type of luxury collaboration is best for your brand?

What are the types of luxury brand collaborations?

Brands can look at these types of brand collaborations to determine which would benefit their marketing strategy:

Luxury Brand x Celebrities: Often, we see celebrities sporting high-end items and living a glamorous lifestyle that the average person can only dream about. Brands collaborate with celebrities for many reasons, such as leveraging their popularity and influence, gaining credibility and visibility with the target audience, and creating a buzz around their products.

Examples of celebrity collabs include:

  • Beyonce x Balmain: The powerhouse singer teamed up with Balmain to create a haute couture collection of 16 exclusive outfits inspired by her album Renaissance.
  • Rihanna x Manolo Blahnik: The singer collaborated with the luxury shoe designer Manolo Blahnik on designs inspired by her tattoos. The shoe line featured different textures, embroideries, and rhinestones.
  • Dua Lipa x Versace: The singer repped the brand and even co-designed Versace’s summer line of 40 looks for women.

Luxury Brand x Macro-Influencers: Macro-influencers, with upwards of 100K followers, often have lifestyles that are as glamorous as celebrities, often traveling to high-end fashion shows and luxury brand events. Although their lifestyles are still aspirational, they often have a specific niche or industry that’s relatable to their followers.

Here are examples of influencers in the luxury space:

  • Chiara Ferragni (@chiaraferragni – 24.3 Million Followers): She is an Italian designer, blogger, entrepreneur, and luxury influencer with millions of followers. She has worked on campaigns and sponsored many brands, such as Guess, Steve Madden, and Dior.
  • Negin Mirsalehi (@negin_mirsalehi – 6.6 Million Followers): Negin is famous for her videos and blogs on beauty, lifestyle, health, and her company, Gisou, with her boyfriend. She has even been on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
  • Leonie Hanne (@leoniehanne – 3.6 Million Followers): Through her German background, she knows textiles, fashion, and business. She has reached a large audience through her blog, Ohh Couture, and has been featured on the cover of various magazines. She has modeled for multiple brands and worked on campaigns for Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Swarovski, and more.

Luxury Brand x Mid-Tier/Micro-Influencers: Mid-tier and micro-influencers are the most relatable and showcase a more attainable lifestyle. According to a study by Bazaarvoice, 56% of consumers say their favorite type of influencer to follow on social media is the “everyday influencer.” Frequently, mid-tier and micro-influencers develop content for a specific niche. This allows luxury brands to tap into a specific audience they would like to connect with and even some consumers that fall into sub-segments of the niche. Micro-influencers encourage peer-to-peer connections and, with a smaller platform, can connect with their audiences more closely, achieving high engagement rates across all platforms. This is why 69% of marketers today work with smaller creators. Individuals in this space tend to have between 10,000 – 100,000.

Here are three examples:

  • Yatri Pabari (@y.a.t.r.i – 25.1 Thousand Followers): She is a former womenswear designer with a minimalistic luxury style, using a wardrobe that can be worn and restyled in multiple ways. Her page showcases multiple posts promoting Chanel.
  • Gemaén Jordan Taylor (@gemaentaylor – 66.2 Thousand Followers): He is a South African model, TV show host, and blogger passionate about luxury wear and unique styles. His high engagement rate has earned him sponsorships and partnerships with various designer brands.
  • Lauren Caruso (@laurencaruso_ – 53.4 Thousand Followers): She is a freelance writer, creative consultant, and digital media strategist who has worked with outlets such as Harper’s Bazaar and Allure. Her growing Instagram following has allowed her to work with luxury brands such as Burberry and Marc Jacobs.

How do you select a luxury brand influencer?

When choosing an influencer to work with, it is essential to ask the following questions:

  • Does this person align with my brand’s values?
  • Do they curate content that resonates with my audience and meets our aesthetic?
  • Are they reputable?
  • Have they worked with other brands, and how successful were those partnerships?
  • Are they representing an industry your brand wants to tap into with this collaboration?
  • Do they have a social audience following that meets your requirements for brand awareness for the campaign?
  • Are they using the social platforms your brand wants to utilize?
  • Are they a fan of your brand and can create authentic content?
  • Is this going to be a short-term or long-term relationship? 70% of creators say long-term campaigns are their favorite way to work with brands because they can form a deeper relationship with the brand.

How will the content resonate with luxury audiences? Here are some examples:

  • Ensure that the influencer is aligned with your brand’s goals, objectives, and KPIs for the content and campaigns.
  • Be approachable and human to connect with consumers.
  • Create brand awareness and content that matches the audience’s preferences.
  • Be authentic and tell the story of your brand. Give people a reason to develop an emotional connection.
  • Show how the products could be styled and used.
  • Create high-quality images, videos, and aesthetics showcasing the brand.
  • Develop engaging and shoppable content. Instagram has nearly 130 million users tapping on shoppable posts each month.
  • If there is a movement going on that consumers care about, such as sustainability, there is an opportunity to authentically weave that into the influencer’s content.

Successful Luxury Brand Collaborations

Brand collaborations are not a new concept, especially in the fashion world. One of the groundbreaking collaborations was between the art and fashion worlds, Salvador Dalí x Elsa Schiaparelli in the early 1930s. The partnership captivated the fashion world by incorporating Dali’s art into iconic dress designs. Today, Schiaparelli still pushes the boundaries of what the world typically sees, from Doja Cat’s 30,000 hand-applied Swarovski crystal outfit to Kylie Jenner’s fake lion head outfit.

A more recent influencer collaboration that worked well was the Bretman Rock and Balmain collaboration with an all-pink Barbie theme for one of their newer collections—the collection aimed to promote being inclusive, with it being an almost 100% unisex collection. Bretman Rock is known to push the societal gender image of fashion in his style, perfectly aligning with the brand’s purpose and considering the audience’s desire to have clothing they can be unique and stylish in, regardless of gender.

How is success measured?

Now that you have gone through your influencer campaign, how do you measure its success? Some metrics to consider include:

  • Reach: Number of individuals who may view the influencer’s content.
  • Engagement: The number of interactions (likes, comments, shares) the influencer’s content receives.
  • Clicks: The number of followers who have clicked on the links to the brand.
  • Sales: The number of the influencer’s followers that purchase from the brand. This can be measured by special codes and purchases made directly on socials, but it is harder to determine if consumers seek out the brand on their own without using links sourced from the influencer.
  • Earned Media Value: Exposure of the brand on social media (impressions and engagement) minus the cost of paid advertising.

Today, consumers look to influencers for inspiration and information on the latest fashion, accessories, and hospitality trends. Marketers in the luxury space must evaluate influencers in their niche and determine the best fit for their brand. Their audience should have a trusting relationship with the influencer and proven success from prior campaigns.

From there, the primary purpose should be creating a connection with consumers, showcasing why the products are unique and personalized, and allowing consumers to emotionally connect to the brand and perceive the items of high value. Looking towards the future, it doesn’t appear that influencers will be going anywhere any time soon, so if your brand hasn’t jumped on the most relevant trends and influencers to boost your brand, it may be time to evaluate your marketing strategy in the social and influencer space.

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