The Ultimate Guide to Influencer Marketing for Luxury Brands

Brian Mechem

Brian Mechem

Today, when brands have to compete for buyer’s attention, traditional advertising has its constraints. Brands have realized that keeping up with new and emerging ways of communicating with their consumers and buyers is the only way to sustain them. Influencer marketing is one such strategy that is benefiting brands today.

We see global brands like Nike, Adidas, and others partnering with influencers for their campaigns. We also see small local businesses partnering with micro-influencers.

But can influencer marketing work for luxury brands as well? It depends on how you do it. Let’s look at the ways luxury brands can leverage influencer marketing.

1. Luxury Brands Must Warm Up to Influencer Marketing

Luxury brands have been slow to step into the arena of influencer marketing. They aim at exclusivity, and do not want to get lost amidst other non-luxury brands. Inevitably, they have realized that the impact of influencers can do wonders for a luxury brand as well. The right partnership can help your brand convey your message effectively.

When the luxury brands launch a new product or a new campaign, getting a celebrity influencer to endorse your brand is one of the best ways to reach your target audience.

When Apple launched the Apple Watch, they partnered with influencer iJustine. They wanted to get their premium product increased visibility through a mid-tier influencer. The influencer helped the brand execute a successful unboxing campaign. She was able to garner more than half a million views with 23k likes.

Luxury Brands Must Warm Up to Influencer Marketing

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2. Why Should Luxury Brands Work with Influencers?

Out of sight can be out of mind, as the adage goes. Luxury brands should work with influencers because they can use the established, celeb influencers as an extension of their brand’s identity. An effective top influencer can make the brand look more niche and luxurious. Luxury goods are aspirational, but people need to be aware of them in order to aspire to buy them.

Luxury brands can remind the aspiring populace about their existence in creative ways with the help of influencers. Influencer marketing can also help them stay relevant. Because of the reach of the influencers, they are able to reach out and engage with all of their potential customers who may have overlooked their banner ads and display ads.

Why Should Luxury Brands Work with Influencers

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Dior’s hashtag-led campaign, #DiorLoveChain, created waves in the luxury industry. The campaign involved a mix of traditional celebrities and micro-influencers, which helped the brand make a significant impact.

3. Being Relevant is More Important than Reach

Relevance is vital for influencer marketing success. It is important to reach to the demographic your product is intended for. And you can do this through influencers who can influence purchase decisions on a social platform where your target audience is the most active.

If you choose the wrong platform or the wrong influencers, you’ll end up wasting your money and you will not get the desired returns. You will be wasting your efforts on an uninterested audience.

So you need to execute campaigns over a social platform that your target audience is most likely to use. Just because Facebook has the biggest user base doesn’t necessarily make it the right platform for your brand.

Sony Alpha, a premium camera Instagram feed invites different accomplished niche photographers to share their photographs on the channel by taking over their feed. This is done through an influencer takeover campaign, where the chosen influencer takes over the account of a company or a product for a limited time. Here the aim is to reach camera lovers who know their tech and their lenses, and who don’t hesitate to pay top dollar for a premium luxury product.

Being Relevant is More Important than Reach

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4. Luxury Brands Need to Let Go of Their Need for Creative Control

Luxury brands play on the positioning and perception of their products. They carefully create an image of their product that is aspirational. One of the biggest challenges luxury brands face when they partner with influencers is that of creative control.

This is mainly because they are afraid of the lack of continuity. They are afraid their products would not be presented in the style and manner in which they want it presented. What can be done to allay your fears?  

You should zero in on the right celebrity influencer after a lot of deliberation. You should understand the personality of the influencer and ensure that the content provided by the influencer is a match for your brand in terms of visual and tonal quality. In other words, you should work with influencers to whom you can hand over complete creative control.

Lately, for luxe brands, model and influencer Bela Hadid has been the top influencer. She has the celeb attitude and personality that influences the clientele of luxury goods.

5.  Luxury Brands Need to Find the Right Influencers

The general perception is that the buyer of a luxury brand is not influenced easily. The key is finding the right influencer. There are now tools such as Grin, which can collect data on influencers and help you find the right fit. Research and vetting of digital influencers is crucial for luxury brands.

Does the influencer have the right demographic of followers who can be potential customers for your brand? Can they properly engage the audience you need to reach?

According to a report by eConsultancy, 40% of respondents feel mid-tier influencers work best for luxury brands. But if we look more carefully at the numbers, we find that 17% of the respondents believe that top-tier or alpha influencers help luxury brands the most.  

Luxury Brands Need to Find the Right Influencers

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Alpha influencers are wasted on non-luxury brands. They are important only for really high-end, niche luxury brands. Brands who have a few high-end customers who quite possibly form a very small but significant part of the respondents.

Your brand need to identify the right mid-tier or even micro-influencers who can create suitable content for your luxury brand

6. Ensuring a Meaningful ROI Remains a Challenge for Luxury Brands

Luxury brands want a position that is niche. They want to be seen at the right places by the right people. That is one of the reasons they have taken their own sweet time in coming on to the platforms which are popular and are inhabited and accessed by the general population.

Brands built around exclusivity do not willingly want to be on platforms that are all about accessibility and mass engagement. But after having realized the necessity of being on these social platforms, they struggle to justify their presence on them.

It is important for you to determine if real value is being added to your brand by being on the social platform, and by investing your budget in influencer marketing. You need to make sure that you are getting the desired returns.

According to the previously-cited report from eConsultancy, the success of a campaign in which an influencer was used is measured differently by luxury and non-luxury brands.

Ensuring a Meaningful ROI Remains a Challenge for Luxury Brands

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Revenue generation is an important measure of success for 62% of luxury brands. Image building by press coverage is also more important for luxury brands. Luxury brands aren’t too concerned about the number of shares they receive.

It ultimately depends on your luxury brand to see if your goals are being met and if you are getting the kind of returns you were expecting. So use influencer marketing tools such as the one mentioned earlier to track your ROI and see if you’re getting the desired returns.  

7. Influencer Program Should Be Seen as a Part of the Bigger Picture

Luxury brands should make influencer marketing a part of their comprehensive marketing and sales program. An influencer campaign for luxury brands needs to be part of a broader approach, part of the bigger picture.

Isolating the strategy will not give you the desired results. It has to be a part of an extended program where it can amplify the outreach in a way that fits the personality of your brand.

In the days of traditional advertising, brands could convey their standard message to everyone with the help of TV, radio, and print ads. Influencer marketing offers brands a major opportunity to create relevant stories and get their brand messages across on new and emerging mediums that reach even the highest pavilions of glamour and power.

Architect turned blogger, Pari Ehsan, pairs designer looks with museum masterpieces. She has more than 200,000 followers on Instagram. The exclusive and esoteric look and the result met the needs of brands like Chanel, which did not hesitate to partner with her.

Influencer Program Should Be Seen as a Part of the Bigger Picture

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She models and shares the Chanel couture collection in her inimitable style on Instagram and her followers lap it up. For Chanel, she is one piece of the big marketing jigsaw puzzle for their couture collection, along with their fashion shows.  

Wrapping Up

Luxury brands do have their reservations where influencer marketing is concerned. There is a constant battle between the effort to stay exclusive and aspirational on one hand and ensuring you stay relevant to the emerging market on the other.

You can hedge the chances you take on the influencers by carefully selecting the right influencers to partner with. Your brand need to ensure that the goals, values, and personality of the influencer fit your requirements and voice. A lot is happening in the influencer marketing luxury brand space.

Your brand need to be clear about your goals and objectives. You must know what metrics you are aiming for with each influencer you get on board. Influencer marketing for luxury brands is a way to be heard and seen by potential customers who aspire to own your luxury goods.

By riding on a medium which is accessible, influencer marketing is one of the best ways to register your luxury brand’s presence elegantly into a target customer’s heart and subsequently into their mindspace. The goal is to encourage them to buy the dreams your brands is selling to them.

If you have any tips to add, feel free to leave your comments below. We would love to hear from you.


Brian Mechem

Brian Mechem

Brian Mechem is COO and Co-Founder of Grin, a software solution for companies who run influencer marketing programs. Grin's software powers some of the best influencer programs in the world, providing insights on ROI and adding efficiency to the influencer marketing process.

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