L’Oréal Paris has signed up five British beauty bloggers to create content on an ongoing basis as it looks to “craft a different type of relationship” when it comes to working with influencers.
The brand’s self-proclaimed ‘beauty squad’, which has a combined reach of 5.5 million, will be revealing the brand’s latest products, creating “fun and engaging” content as well as attend key beauty events including London Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week and Cannes Film Festival.
Speaking to Marketing Week, L’Oréal’s UK general manager Adrien Koskas discusses how the brand is hoping to craft a new relationship working with influencers, how it looks to avoid consumer fatigue and why other brands get it so wrong.
What was the strategic thinking behind this move?
It was quite natural for us to move in this direction as consumers are really changing the way they interact with brands and are very engaged on social media. We wanted to have a special partnership with our influencers and use them to speak about the brand and create great content including new product development, how-to guides and tips. Often consumers are looking for this type of content online and we wanted to be the brand providing that to them.
It is an ongoing partnership. They have been working with us for some time now, but we wanted to make it more official. We see it as a two-way relationship where they challenge us and we work alongside them. It’s very healthy for us as well to have those challenges from them in terms of the content we create, the tone of voice, as well as the products we launch. [These influencers] are true beauty addicts. So it’s a very healthy relationship – they reviewed many products across different brands. They are a voice for the brand to think differently about our products.
Should brands use influencers on a long-term basis instead of for one-off events?
Absolutely. That’s why we use the word relationship. I don’t want a ‘one post one cheque’ type of contractual relationship. That’s not what we’re looking for. It’s the same way we work with spokespeople on L’Oréal Paris. We work with people by forming a human relationship for the long term. Sometimes I look at social media and think: ‘Wow, I can’t believe [that brand] forced the influencer into this.’ That’s not the type of relationship we want.
“I don’t want to be like other brands where they try to use one influencer after the other for one launch or event – it just doesn’t seem very genuine and sincere.”
Adrien Koskas, general manager, L’Oréal Paris UK
How is the brand hoping to develop its relationship with the influencers?
First of all, we’ll make sure all five girls are as involved as possible. Obviously we want to create a lot of content for our consumers, to help consumers find what they’re looking for online in terms of beauty advice. Our event strategy is also becoming critical to us. They will be attending big events like Paris Fashion Week, so they can share their experience with the rest of the world and give their followers and our fans a behind-the-scenes or front-row view.
How is the brand ensuring consumers won’t get ‘influencer fatigue’?
I think for me it’s about the sincerity and genuineness of the relationship and that there’s a true love for the brand and the product. Consumers will walk away from influencers that have been bought by brands, where there is no story behind it or are doing just one-offs. It depends on us being the biggest beauty brand in the UK to craft a different kind of relationship. When it comes to influencers, we want to shift the industry towards something that is more genuine.
In terms of the influencers themselves, can they still maintain their independence?
That’s a fair question. There’s no exclusivity request from us on any point. They have full freedom in terms of editorial and what they can produce or say. We are not forcing or pushing them to speak or post about anything or to exclude any brands. They are free to comment or say anything about any brand. That’s the base of our relationship. I know they will continue to talk about other brands too, or sometimes be more critical. So I’m pretty confident and this is an open discussion with them – they keep their freedom and editorial point-of-view.
L’Oréal’s UK CMO Hugh Pile will be speaking at the Festival of Marketing, which is running on the 5 and 6 October at Tobacco Dock, London. For more information about the event, including how to book tickets, click here.