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Jul 2, 2018

An inside look into the influencer marketing phenomenon

Influencer Marketing: The Wave of the Future?

A guest article by Xenia Barth, VP Marketing, Hair, Henkel North America

Xenia Barth

Xenia Barth, VP Marketing, Hair, Henkel North America

Connecting with consumers in authentic ways — and ultimately, inspiring action — is a never-ending challenge for marketers like myself. The launch of Henkel’s Schwarzkopf brand Gliss™ Hair Repair collection in the United States was no exception.

To position this European favorite for success in the States, our digital marketing team embraced a non-traditional approach that did not include television advertising. Instead, our high-impact digital/social campaign centered on authentic, grassroots communications, and four friendly faces.

At the heart of this innovative campaign were Lizzy, Abby, Caitlin, and Mandy. Real women with relatable hair concerns, these fab four are also top-tier social media influencers.  

The use of social media influencers for digital marketing has become standard practice at Henkel — and a must for any modern-day marketing campaign. A 2016 TapInfluence study with Nielsen Catalina Solutions found that influencer marketing content delivers 11x higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing. And in a 2016 Twitter/Annalect study, 49 percent of people reported that they rely on recommendations from influencers when making purchase decisions.

With their own personal brands and loyal followings, these popular personalities can help a company gain instant credibility with consumers. That’s because the communication feels less like an ad and more like a helpful hint from a friend. And with the Bliss of Gliss campaign, we took things to a new level by casting our influencers as talent in online videos.

Members of the GLISS® influencer team share the “Bliss of GLISS” with their loyal and ever-growing fan bases

Members of the GLISS® influencer team share the “Bliss of GLISS” with their loyal and ever-growing fan bases

In 30-second video spots, Lizzy, Abby, Caitlin, and Mandy tell their own unique “Bliss of Gliss” story highlighting their favorite Gliss formula. Lizzy, for example, shares how Gliss helps her avoid a “bad hair bun day” and Caitlin explains how Gliss helps her hair recover from the toll travel can take.  The videos also use simple imagery, like a puzzle, to show how Gliss’ award-winning Hair-Identical Keratin brings out the best in hair.

Each influencer also created 25 pieces of original content to share with followers on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and blogs, like Caitlin’s Southern Curls & Pearls. Our four influencers were supported by over 1,000 micro-influencers to generate online reviews.

The 360-degree campaign also integrated the influencer videos directly onto Schwarzkopf brand product pages and distributed them as video content to top e-tailers, including Amazon. Paid video impressions across hundreds of beauty and lifestyle websites further boosted exposure. Customized retailer programs included geo-targeting to connect consumers to special promotions in their area and maps to the closest store.

The results — much like those of Gliss products themselves — were head-turning. The campaign achieved a more than 20 percent increase in brand awareness and more than 16 percent increase in purchase intent. Our accessible Gliss ambassadors garnered more than 5 million YouTube views, and more than 150,000 Instagram impressions, in the first month alone.

The “Bliss of Gliss” campaign succeeded by putting a high-tech twist on a time-tested tactic: word of mouth.

It seems that hearing trusted taste-makers recommend Gliss products is much like a recommendation from a friend. The campaign generated hundreds of thousands of posts, likes and comments from enthusiastic followers, such as “I will grab some on my next CVS trip.”

And that’s music to the ears of any marketer.

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