How brands can make influencer marketing more efficient and sustainable

Influencer marketing, as well as celebrity marketing, are great leverages to increase brand awareness and, as a result, sales. By interaction with the right influencer, a brand can grow a loyal and friendly audience, which is, as we already know, the best asset and golden ticket to further sales and development. Though these two strategies started to be applied not that long ago and are still considered “non-traditional” — the results of such advertising campaigns are significant. In addition, looking from a financial perspective, they are far less cost-intensive. Let’s vet some examples:

Bottega Veneta: in 2019 the brand, under the tenure of Daniel Lee, has sent hundreds of their freshly sewed pouch bags to influencers and street-style stars before SS20 New York Fashion Week and almost all of the pieces were living their starlit hour in or under the arms of Shea Marie, Lisa Rina, Jessica Wang, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. This smooth move has done Bottega Venetta’s pouch the IT-bag of the year.

Or let’s recall the grand return of Dior Saddle bag — after being captured on countless celebrities and influences, it is now the first suggestion Google gives you when typing “saddl…”.

Daniel Wellington: Swedish watchmaker is perhaps one of the biggest adheres to influencer marketing. The brand has abandoned all the traditional paid advertising on social media and became a multi-million dollar brand in less than five years by working with influencers, and it has been a success — the company’s revenue was around $220 million in 2015 (the brand started as a 15 000$ startup).

Some may think that these strategies work only for those, whose name is already on everyone’s lip, but they can actually make your upcoming brand a star. Take a young Ukrainian fashion brand Cultnaked. The signature piece of the brand is a “skort” — a tight skirt under which you have the concealed shorts so that a girl can feel sexy and dance with the confidence that some parts of her body will not be caught by the public eye. The turning point of Cultnaked’s development was a request from Kylie Jenner’s stylist. So Kylie wore the skort once, posted a picture on Instagram, and voila — now almost all the Hollywood has this piece in their wardrobes.

It’s not a secret that every day thousands of brands are sending their press-kits or samples to influencers and celebrities in the hope to snatch their own piece of glory. But have you ever wondered what imprint these shippings put on our planet?

When preparing our sustainability report for DressX, we decided to go deeper into this matter and do research on the environmental impact of garment distribution to influencers. Let’s consider the following scenario — there is a fashion brand that produces and sends its dress to the influencers, so they could make a post wearing this garment on social media. Let’s assume that the brand produces 100 dresses solely for influencers, and sends 100 parcels with one dress each.

We made the following assumptions:

  • Dress weight — 400 g

We calculated the carbon footprint of sending 100 dresses all around the world, using DHL carbon calculator. This calculator includes the amount of carbon emission from one airport/port to another, but also the aggregate carbon emission to transfer the parcel from the city to the airport/port. We used the fastest way to deliver the parcel.

Mindblowing, isn’t it?

Looking through these indicators I started to think of the alternative influencer and celebrity marketing mechanisms and here they are:

  1. Instagram masks

The tool is already integrated into one of the most powerful social media platforms. Why not use it?

Some of the designers have already employed this feature to promote their collections — for example, Ukrainian hat producer Ruslan Baginskiy has made the Instagram mask that gives an opportunity to try on all the pieces of his couture collection. Looks fabulous, doesn’t emit carbon, or pollutes the air.

2. Virtual influencers

Who said that the influencers should be real people? In 2018, Prada made a bold decision and employed virtual influencer Lil Miquela to help promote their Fall 2018 collection. The virtual celebrity released multiple pieces of content to help Prada increase visibility, such as animated GIFs, Instagram videos, and a virtual tour of the event’s Prada booth–all the while wearing digital versions of iconic Prada designs.

3. Digital clothing

The first raylets of this technology appeared in 2018. The Fabricant by all means was the pioneer of digital fashion, producing digital collections that in a very short time became extremely popular. Although, their pieces existed only in the digital dimension. And in two years, in 2020, we decided to launch DressX that allows any brand of physical clothing to digitize their collections. By using this technology, now any brand can make its pieces digital, send them to influencers, and get the same (or even bigger) result from the influencer marketing campaign and at the same time, remain sustainable and environment-friendly.

All in all, the technologies are being developed, new mechanisms are being invented, and this process has just begun. We are at a time of immense challenges to sustainable development. It is also, however, a time of immense opportunity. And it is my sincere belief, that the spread of information and communications technology and global interconnectedness has great potential to accelerate human progress and to bridge the digital and technological innovations across different areas, including fashion.

Co-authored with Eelena Saraniuk

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