How Kim K’s SKIMS Influencer Marketing Campaign Made $2 Million in Minutes Thanks to Diversity & Inclusion

We’ve talked about the Kardashians a lot on here, and for good reason, because they’re always bringing something fresh to the social media game. Kim and Kylie undoubtedly run the most successful Kardashian businesses, and we have previously examined KKW Beauty and Kylie Skin launches that have done unbelievably well on social media, and proceeded to sell out within hours. 

This month, Kim K launched a new brand: SKIMS, which is a line of “solutionwear” that aims to sculpt women’s bodies, no matter their shape or size. While this passion project got off to a rocky start with her attempt to patent the word ‘kimono’, the brand has more than bounced back considering it made USD$2 Million within minutes of its launch. This not only supersedes competitors in the industry, but also reflects a much better takeoff compared to the Kardashian’s other ventures (which have also done incredibly well). 

Here is how her campaign performed as a whole:

Her massive social media efforts obviously played a big part, and I break down the reasons how & why this particular campaign did so well. 

1 – The Kardashians Finally Use Influencer Marketing

In the lead up to the launch of @kylieskin, all we saw on the Instagram page was aesthetic shots of pastel pink packaging, and Kylie herself. Of course this worked: she’s Kylie Jenner. She also single-handedly brought back billboard advertising in the digital age. But have we ever stopped to think what might have happened if she had gone about promoting the drop with influencers instead? Kim K did the same with the launch of her Mrs. West and KKW x Winnie collections. No influencers were hired — Kim herself appeared on all the promotional material. 

This time, however, SKIMS features 10 fresh faces, the majority of whom are actually nano & micro influencers. 

This list is missing @alabamastatter, whose account is private. As indicated via the coloured boxes, purple represents nano influencers, blue represents micro influencers, and pink represents macro influencers, relative to the general demographics in the US. 

What this move has done, in line with the principle behind influencer marketing, is that it generated buzz about SKIMS beyond the already massive audience that Kim K has.  

The three influencers that brought the best engagement on their own feeds are @fallarame, @krystianity, and @arielleestoria — all of whom are nano influencers. 

Arielle, for example, got more than 400% more likes on her post for SKIMS than her average, and the engagement rate on her post is 4 times more than the average for nano influencers in the US. 

Comments on her post tell us how pivotal she was to the campaign. The fact that people were drawn to her shows how important the faces and personalities behind campaigns are. By working with influencers like Arielle, SKIMS as a product became a lot more relatable to the average woman. It carried an important message, and moved beyond static materialism. 

Nano influencers give brands a great competitive advantage, and it is best to hire them before they become too large. 

2 – Backing a Social Cause

@alicemariefree is the account belonging to Alice Marie Johnson, an ex-convict that Kim K helped to free with her current work in the field of law. Johnson was sentenced to life without parole for a non-violent drug offense in 1996 and was released earlier this June after Kim met with Trump himself to discuss prison reforms and personally advocate for Johnson’s case. 

Johnson’s video on the @skims Instagram page is one of the top performing posts in total, making it alongside posts of Kendall Jenner, Kourtney, and Khloe Kardashian. 

People are always moved by a good story, and including Johnson in the SKIMS promotional material was a very commendable PR strategy. It gave the entire collection and brand a heart, and gives consumers an idea of where exactly their dollar is going. 

3 – The Appeal of Film Photography 

The third reason appears to be a minor aesthetic decision, but the way in which brands aesthetically market their products makes a big difference. A lot of the promotional material for SKIMS was shot on film, which is quite atypical for the Kardashians. Take this image of Kim K, for example. 

The thing about film and Polaroid cameras is that there are no do-overs or editing processes, which adds a level of authenticity and candidness to the pictures that digital photography lacks. This is very different from the high production value shoots that usually characterise KKW Beauty, as well as Kylie Skin & Cosmetics. 

Again, it makes the consumer feel closer to the product. Women in real life don’t have airbrushed skin nor are they flawless, and this approach to marketing is apt for a product like solutionwear. 

4 – Diversity: Different Body Shapes

One of the biggest pulls for a consumer when they decide to purchase something is whether they can see themselves using the product. Often, this is inhibited by a lack of representation, but SKIMS has moved past this obstacle by hiring models and influencers of various body types. 

This not only displays the versatility of the product, but also opens the possibility of purchasing and owning it to a much wider target audience. The Instagram campaign proves that the product works well on body types that range from model bodies i.e. @kendalljenner, to young mothers i.e. @honeyandsilk, to grandmothers i.e. @alicemariefree.

5 – Inclusivity: Different Skin Colours 

What @fentybeauty did with foundation, @skims is doing with underwear. How many times have you found yourself disappointed by a pair of ‘skin coloured’ pantyhose or ‘skin coloured’ brassiere, fundamentally because the fashion world’s conception of ‘skin colour’ has not moved beyond Caucasian tones? While the range of SKIMS is not extremely extensive, it is an amazing start which sets the brand apart in its industry

Furthermore, by hiring models that look different from one another, it shows a certain commitment to ensuring that every woman can see herself in the product. 

Millions in Minutes 

It is no wonder that SKIMS did so well — a cohesive and fresh social media campaign goes a long way. Nothing that Kim did for SKIMS is particularly revolutionary; she just tried something different. Think about the last couple of campaigns that your brand has run and ask yourself: What can you try that you haven’t tried before? What is the best way to authentically connect with your audience?

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Written by Deesha Menon

Influencer Marketing at Popular Chips. Interested in social issues, narratives, books, social media, and machine learning.

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