The beauty industry is booming – it is currently a $500 billion global industry. Many would attribute the growth and proliferation of the industry to the use of social media influencers.
From Advertising Week’s Influencer Marketing track sponsored by ANA, Taylor Lorenz, Staff Writer at The Atlantic, sat down to chat with Maureen Case, Executive Chairman at Naturopathica, Reza Izad, CEO and Co-founder at Studio 71, and James Charles, Creator and Entrepreneur. The panelists all contributed their own thoughts, from the brand perspective, to the agency perspective, to the influencer perspective.
With nearly nine million loyal subscribers, James Charles is intimately and immensely acquainted with the relationship between influencers and beauty brands. Charles explains that the connection between influencer, especially a video influencer such as himself, and an audience is like no other because viewers feel like they are talking to a trusted friend. This trust allows for influencers to recommend products and drive brands’ sales unlike any other marketing medium.
The panelists, especially Charles, all agreed that though influencer marketing opens up remarkable opportunities, aligning brands with influencers is imperative. Charles insists that every brand sponsorship or partnership he engages in is well-thought out, is a brand or product he has previously expressed passion for, and is a brand that makes sense and would come off authentically to his engaged audience.
Case, who has worked with brands such as Estée Lauder and Le Mer, states that according to Nielsen data, 84 percent of consumers which consume social media and YouTube are driven to make a purchase. Influencers certainly have the power to genuinely connect with audiences, which leads to purchases and thus drive sales.
However, influencer marketing is not currently an option for every brand. Case explains that luxury high-end legacy brands such as Chanel or Dior choose to not engage in influencer marketing because they have longtime brand codes to uphold. Because of these brand codes, influencer marketing is a risk they may not be willing to take.
A concern the panelists express about the current state of influencer marketing is oversaturation. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of influencers who are willing and able to partner with brands. Some of the oversaturation is due to smaller-scale “micro-influencers” who also have the ability to bring brand and product awareness to drive sales.
Some assert that ‘micro-influencers” can be just as, if not more, effective than large-scale influencers with millions of followers or subscribers. This is because according to Izad, a leader in talent content and management, audience engagement and loyalty need to be considered and balanced between a sheer number of total audience reach.
Charles, Case, and Izad agree that though the amount of influencers is oversaturated, influencer marketing is here to stay. Izad believes that though influencers will never go away, the change will instead come from how influencers rise, how audiences engage, and how brands and influencers grow.
Influencer marketing’s ability to gain momentum for brands is obviously not a force to ignore or expect to go away anytime soon.