Magazines are losing their power as the exclusive gatekeepers in fashion, as they used to be the brands’ best way to broadcast its message to an audience of potential customers. Now the internet and social media have changed that, and brands have to target small communities online in ways that speak to them.
Tribe Dynamics is a company that identifies influencers and estimates the “earned media value” of their activity around brands, eg. LVMH, as brands move more and more of their advertising spending online. Conor Begley (co-founder and president at Tribe Dynamics), gives an example below about the way influencers are shaping the images of luxury brands.
“I’m showing them a bunch of data on Chanel. The number one influencer for Chanel is a guy named Jeffree Star. For those of you that don’t know Jeffree Star, he has pink hair, he’s tattooed from like head to toe—and his neck too—he will routinely smoke weed in his videos […] We show them this data, and somebody from this luxury brand says, ‘Hey, we know this is really important, but we wouldn’t want Jeffree to be our number-one influencer.’ I talk about inclusivity versus exclusivity and not really controlling the conversation, etc. We go home, we look at the data; he was the number-one influencer for that brand as well, they just didn’t know it.”
Star is a make-up artist and social-media personality with a large following. Shortly after that meeting, Begley said, Star caused a stir by posting a YouTube video in which he cut up a $5,000 Chanel bag with a glowing-hot knife. Chanel doesn’t need to make Star the face of its brand, Begley pointed out, but it would probably be good for the label to create a relationship with him since he’s having an impact on how his many fans perceive Chanel. Gucci, in fact, has done just that and made custom products just for him.
Please note that magazine editors are now often influencer's themselves with their own personal followings separate from the companies they work for 😉.
Read the full Quartzy article here