Influencer-owned Brands: The Do’s and Don’ts

Countless social media influencers have tried to start up their own brands. While there are numerous success stories out there, there are also many who have failed. An example of a social media influencer whose brand did not work out as well as they had hoped is Beauty Influencer X.

The Don’ts

Here, I take a closer look to find out why the brand didn’t succeed as well as the influencer had hoped.

1. Branding and Engaging Followers

The influencer did not understand their personal brand.

As an influencer, you are your own brand. The clothes and brands you endorse are a part of who you are. The clothing line owned by the influencer did not hold true to who the influencer was as a person.

For example, the influencer often wore body-hugging clothes whereas the clothing line featured mostly baggy clothes. Also, the influencer did not generally post content about fitness, yet the clothing line offered pieces related to fitness fashion.

2. Understanding Your Followers

The influencer likely had little understanding of their follower demographic.

Statistics from Popular Chips reveal that a significant portion (26%) of the influencer’s audience were below the age of 18 years old. This indicates that they likely have a lower purchasing power and are, therefore, less likely to purchase merchandise from the brand.

Furthermore, this influencer seems to assume that follower numbers are absolute.

While Beauty Influencer X has follower numbers in the millions, almost 26% of the influencer’s followers are fake or inactive. This would, therefore, translate to lower engagement and, thus, sales.

These were some mistakes that this influencer (and probably a number of others too) made in developing their own brand.

The Do’s

Let’s now look at success stories that we can learn from – Jenn Im [Founder of Eggie] and Arielle Charnas [Founder of Something Navy]

1. Branding

Jenn wears her collection.

She also states that the clothes on Eggie reflects her personal wardrobe.

Eggie

Why is this important – because consumers are more likely to be convinced by someone who believes in their products.

Her clothing line is also representative of who she is as a person: Korean-American.

Her clothes are mostly very American-style. She has also released two festival collections because festivals like Coachella are big in America.

On the other hand, she stays true to her roots as a Korean. Her brand name itself is Korean-inspired – Eggie means baby in Korean (though not romanised as Eggie but the pronunciation is similar). She has also released a particular collection that features Korean words or designs linking back to Korea.

2. Engaging her followers

Arielle released teasers to her June collection by pieces. After the first sneak peek, she asked followers what kind of outfit they were keen on seeing next.

She then released the sneak peek based on their vote.

She also shares behind-the-scenes (BTS) images and clips of the brain-storming session.

Consumers ,therefore, feel like they are a part of the creation process.

She took a step closer to customer co-creation when she asked followers for their opinion on a particular product.

3. Understanding their followers

1st Case Study: Jenn

Jenn understands her follower demographics well.

The majority of her personal followers (61%) fall within the age range of 18 to 35. This implies that they likely have some spending power. Looking at the prices of her clothes, they fall within the mid to high-end range [$25 to $100], which is reasonable given the age of her followers.

2nd Case Study: Arielle

On the other hand, Arielle understands the kind of content that followers like, and she acts on it.

Her followers love seeing her children on her personal Instagram feed as 5 of her top 10 most engaging posts feature her children.

Popular Chips

In response to the love her children received on Instagram, she created a clothing line for girls.

Key Learning Points and What This Means For Your Brand

So, what does this mean for your brand then?

While this article was mainly about influencer-owned brands, these learning points can be applied to brands looking towards influencer marketing as well.

1. Understand your Brand Well and Stay True to your Brand

For example, if your brand positions itself as a luxury brand, avoid engaging influencers who endorse brands that have a contrasting image or influencers who have an audience that are unlikely to have sufficient purchasing power.

2. Engage your Audience

This can be done in multiple ways depending on your brand.

Like Arielle, you could create posts on social media that get followers to respond in terms of comments or likes. You could also use behind-the-scenes clips to make followers feel involved.

Alternatively, if your brand does not typically take a personable approach towards your social media accounts, one simple way to engage your audience is to find out what content appeals to them and recommend your influencer to adjust their posts accordingly.

3. Understand your Followers

Be clear on the demographics and interests of your followers. Employ Popular Chips to get the necessary insights. This will ensure that you create content that resonates with them and you engage influencers that appeal to them.

If you are keen on more articles about Influencer Marketing and brands, do check out what strategies Pepsi and Daniel Wellington have taken towards Influencer Marketing.

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