The Evolution of the Influencer EconomyMay 09, 2018
Influencers and marketers weighed in on what works and what doesn’t in the booming market for social media sponsorships. Product placement alone doesn’t cut it anymore.
NEW YORK, United States — About a decade ago, Raina Penchansky, then vice president of communications at Coach, oversaw a campaign involving a collection of purses designed by fashion bloggers. It was when they sold out in a single day that she realized the power of the influencer economy, Penchansky recalled, speaking on a panel Tuesday at Target’s design studio in Chelsea.
In 2010, Penchansky co-founded Digital Brand Architects, an agency that matches bloggers and social media personas with sponsors, a market that by 2017 had swelled to $1 billion on Instagram alone, according to Mediakix, another marketing agency.
“It became clear that they’d be brands themselves one day,” she said of the bloggers in the Coach project, who included Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere.
Also on the panel, hosted by The Business of Fashion in partnership with Target, was one of Penchansky’s clients, Nicolette Mason, a fashion blogger who recently launched her own line of plus-sized clothing called Premme. They were joined by Gigi Guerra, director of curation for Target’s collaborations, and fashion blogger Bryanboy.
Brands now shower Instagram stars with merchandise and feature a select few in their own marketing campaigns. Guerra said Target has an in-house marketing team devoted to scouting and recruiting influencers for campaigns.
The ecosystem is still expanding, extending beyond the biggest names, with even “micro-influencers” targeted by brands for their often devoted followings. That term has a flexible definition; Bryanboy said his more-than 600,000 Instagram followers made him a micro-influencer compared to celebrities with millions of fans.
“I was worried that they were going to tell us that the market will maybe tap out soon, because it’s just so saturated,” said Sophie Bickley, a “micro-influencer” with 22,000 followers on the Instagram she shares with her sister Charlotte, @yin_2my_yang.
Business of Fashion