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How to Build a Strong Influencer Relationship: 3 German Brands Doing it Right

Alexandra

A strong relationship between your brand and your influencers is essential to successful influencer marketing campaigns.

Building and nurturing your brand’s relationships with its influencers requires an in-depth understanding of your influencer’s needs but also your brand’s campaign objectives. There are many ways brands can work with influencers, such as paid versus unpaid sponsorships, through PR events or product launches. In fact, according to the survey we carried out for our State of Influencer Marketing 2018 report, 42% of professionals claim that product launches are the leading scenario for which they implement influencer campaigns, followed by events and content promotions. In this blog post, we’re taking a look at 3 German retailers that went a step further and came up with great initiatives to strengthen their influencer relations and build up influencer loyalty, going beyond one-time partnerships. Keep on reading if you want to find out who the German forerunners of successful influencer relationships are and what their strategy is.

Providing a platform for development

DEICHMANN is known for its collaboration with celebrities like Cindy Crawford, Ellie Goulding or Slyvie Meis who designed and modeled previous collections of the German shoe retailer. With the rise of influencers as new brand ambassadors, DEICHMANN was one of Germany’s early adopters, already collaborating with influencers and bloggers for many years. To strengthen these influencer relations, DEICHMANN introduced its own ‘Influencer Club’ last February. Its purpose is to create a loyal influencer community in which selected opinion leaders regularly share tips & tricks with each other, can attend various workshops and participate in exciting media projects. The ultimate goal for the shoe brand is to tighten the relationships with digital opinion leaders, making intermediate agencies expendable.

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This initiative was obviously well received by the influencers. “The support we get here for our own performance is awesome – I’ve never experienced that in this form,” said one influencer that attended one of DEICHMANN’s workshops that are held on various topics. Ultimately, the Influencer Club should serve the professional development of influencers, which in the end will be beneficial for DEICHMANN.

Rewarding influencers publicly for their work

Different to Deichmann, who is mostly working with micro influencers, German e-tailer ABOUT YOU has a tight bond with bigger influencers like the models Lena Gercke and Stefanie Giesinger or bloggers Caro Daur and Xenia Overdose. Since their website went live in 2014, the brand has worked with over 60 influencers, or so-called ‘Idols’, who share their favorite looks on their social media channels and also can be found in a specific section on ABOUT YOU’s website. Last year, the German e-tailer first introduced their ABOUT YOU Award, the biggest influencer award show of the year, honoring Germany’s leading social media stars in different categories such as ‘Idol of the Year’, ‘Fashion’, ‘Lifestyle’ and more. The voting takes place publicly via online voting and allows the whole community to vote for their favorite influencer. For this year’s award, ABOUT YOU took it a step further, not only live broadcasting the show on its own social channels but selling the exclusive TV broadcasting license to ProSieben, a German commercial TV channel. The plan worked: the ABOUT YOU Awards generated a reach of over 490 million, which is 12x bigger compared to last year.

Meine Herzallerliebsten❤️ Wo soll ich anfangen? Die Worte die mir gestern gefehlt haben, möchte ich euch heute auf diesem Wege zukommen lassen☺️ Ich bin so glücklich das ist in Worten und Bildern kaum zu schildern🙈 An aller erster Stelle bin ich einfach nur happy immer auf euch und euren ständigen Support zählen zu können🙏🏼 Und das obwohl ich mittlerweile schon so lange im Insta Game bin😅 Es überwältigt mich immer wieder was für eine starke Community ich habe und was für tolle Menschen dahinter stecken❤️ So einen Publikumspreis zu gewinnen bedeutet mir sehr viel, weil dadurch die ganze Anzahl von likes, comments und Followern irgendwie ein bisschen realer und greifbarer werden. Genauso wie Meet & Greets gehören diese Momente für mich einfach zu den wichtigsten meiner Karriere, da ich sehe und spüre das diese Internet Blase doch näher an mir ist als man denkt und echte Menschen mit wertvollen Werten dahinter stecken🙌🏻 Das hat man vor allem gestern anhand der Gewinner beim @aboutyoude Award 2018 gemerkt💕 Persönlichkeit und Authentizität gewinnt am Ende des Tages🙏🏼 Ich bin unglaublich stolz auf euch & stolz auf uns. Auf viele weitere Meilensteine!!!❤️ Ich liebe euch wirklich abgöttisch😄 Thank you @aboutyoude / Anzeige // Photo @sabine_brauer_photos

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With a consistent focus on personalization and inspiration, the German online shop ABOUT YOU has successfully established itself as a social media pioneer in the e-commerce market and successfully built up relations with some of Europe’s biggest influencers. With their own award, ABOUT YOU not only wants to strengthen and reward these relationships, but also benefit from the immense buzz that is generated around the event.

Creating a team of corporate influencers

Otto is a former mail order company which evolved into one of Germany’s biggest e-commerce players. Having worked with influencers of all sizes, Otto’s Online Marketing team is always on the hunt for authentic people that fit the brand image. It wasn’t until last fall that Otto turned the usual influencer/brand tie around and decided to let 100 employees be trained to become influencers on their own. The idea wasn’t to use these influencers for promoting Otto’s products, but to be corporate brand ambassadors who share what it’s like to be a part of the Otto family. The selected employees took courses on social media and employer branding, were trained on different HR communication approaches and presentation techniques.

The goal of training employees to become corporate influencers is to give Otto a face and shift communication to an emotional level – people trust people. Corporate influencers can offer a behind-the-scenes look and thereby deliver tangible, near and real stories of what it’s like to work for one of Germany’s biggest e-commerce companies. The idea is that employees promote Otto’s qualities as an employer via social media which should give the brand more authenticity, make it more transparent and would hopefully attract more fitting future employees. This approach is based on the idea that consumers usually trust influencers more than they do brands themselves, and in a world where skilled employees change jobs more often than previous generations, brands have to find unique ways of attracting new talent while at the same time making sure current employees stay happy and engaged with the company.

If you want to find out more about how brands work with influencers and what influencers expect from these collaborations, then check out our STATE OF INFLUENCER MARKETING 2018 REPORT, in which we interviewed over 800 industry professionals on their views about that topic.

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Alexandra

Alexandra is always on the hunt for exciting and new experiences. Born in Austria she soon left the idyllic country to study Business Administrations in Amsterdam and now works for Launchmetrics in London. Her life motto is 'Dream big or go home', she loves scrolling endlessly through Instagram and is always up for a fun spinning class.

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