A couple of months ago, we started a series of meetups about Influencer Marketing. So, to celebrate the beginning of Paris Fashion Week, I proposed the following topic: “From bloggers to influencers: how Influencer Marketing has disrupted the fashion world.”
One of the main characteristics of Influencer Marketing is the fact that bloggers and influencers have the ability to shape customers’ purchasing decisions. This is true because they take care of their community, create close ties with them and, most of all, they are credible. Of course, social media and blogs democratize conversations, but we’re not following bloggers because we want to have a voice, but because they are one of us.
This is irreversible and brands are adapting to this new paradigm. Today, L’Oréal named Kristina Bazan as its new brand ambassador. For those who don’t know her, she is one of the most influential fashion and lifestyle bloggers in the world. Her blog, Kayture, is a blend of fashion, beauty and lifestyle articles. Personally, I think this is one of the few blogs filled with interesting and enriched content, not just a boring, autoreferential and newsless pieces. And to back up what I’m saying, here’s her article NYFW recap (again, Kristina is one of the few bloggers that took the time to write a recap of the entire Fashion Week). She truly cares about her audience and is passionate about what she does.
— Kristina Bazan (@Kayture) 6 October 2015
From a blogger to the coveted role of ambassador of a major international brand, alongside the likes of Blake Lively, Karlie Kloss and Naomi Watts, Kristina Bazar has been chosen because “she shows us that any woman can create bold and sophisticated makeup looks, and feel good about herself,” said Cyril Chapuy, L’Oréal Paris brand global president. “She designs her own beauty and has this incredible ability to openly share and inspire women all around the world. That’s the type of message L’Oréal Paris will always stand for.”
This leads us to ask two questions: Is L’Oréal opening the way for bloggers to become brand ambassadors? As these fashionistas are invited to fashion shows and sit in the front row next to celebrities, do brands have the same approach for celebrities and bloggers?
Firstly, it’s true that some fashion bloggers, such as Garance Doré, The Blonde Salad, Leandra Medine, Bryan Boy, can be now considered celebrities. The lines that define whether we talk about a very famous blogger or a celebrity are blurred. This is an open debate which has no answer, yet. However, I would like to point out some facts that highlight the differences between these two categories:
The same brand strategy can lead to different outcomes whether you pick a celebrity or a fashion blogger
Celebrities are inaccessible
Part of the appeal of a fashion blogger is a sense of closeness that it is not always present with a celebrity. As Kristina Bazan stated when talking about this: “My wish is to use this new voice, this new amazing role as a spokesperson to spread a positive message about beauty and make all women around the world feel and know that they are all worth it.”
Celebrities seem unattainable, no matter who they are. It’s fairly logical: if you see a celebrity wearing something, of course you want it, but if you see a blogger wearing it, then you can have it (or get the feeling that you can actually have it).
Sponsorships don’t seem authentic any more to consumers
It’s a fact. The articles written by independent experts are on average 58% more efficient than sponsored content to create brand affinity and influence the purchasing decisions of consumers (2013 Nielsen Study). Luxury consumers seek the experience of ordinary people to guide their purchase decisions. This is especially important in sectors such as luxury and fashion, where preferences are highly subjective and brand preferences depend on things like experience, quality of the product and portability.
Brands are becoming more and more aware of the fact that celebrities have an important reach, but fashion bloggers have the power of helping brands to indirectly tune into their target. They are taking care of their community more than other celebrities can possibly do. L’Oréal is disrupting so called celebrity marketing, and I expect that many other brands will follow its lead. “For us, it’s a major step in our communication strategy,” said Joffredo about Bazan’s appointment.
Is this a new era? The best is yet to come, but it seems clear that, at least for Kristina Bazan and L’Oréal, there’s only one step from 21-year old fashion blogger to a worldwide celebrity.