Influencers have gained traction quickly in the fashion industry for helping brands, distanced from their audiences for so long, feel more connected to them.
But the growth hasn’t come without its tension. Legacy brands like Neiman Marcus are now outrightly blaming influencers and bloggers for changing consumer expectations faster than they can keep up.
On this week’s Glossy Podcast, Stacie Brockman, co-founder of Metier Creative and previously an editor at one of the original blogging networks, The Coveteur, laid bare how fashion influencers got to this point.
Edited highlights below.
Influencer marketing is out of control
Brockman said that when she was at The Coveteur, influencer marketing was in its nascency. For many brands, it was a cheap way to bridge the gap between highbrow and real consumers. But today, she said, “It’s become the Wild Wild West.” Part of the problem is how many people now think of themselves as influencers. “That mentality has convoluted everything,” creating a bubble, she said. And where there’s a bubble, before long there’s a burst.
The pricing is way too high
It’s become close to impossible to know how to charge for influencer marketing programs, especially in beauty and fashion, where demand is highest, said Brockman. “The idea that these are real people, not on Hollywood pedestals,” is very attractive to brands. But pricing changes and there are no benchmarks: “We’ll put together a proposal and it’s $15,000 for one Instagram. Within a span of month, it becomes $30,000,” she said.
Brands have sticker shock, but they aren’t paying attention to the right metrics
Many brands have in recent months touted the use of micro-influencers who come cheap and offer, theoretically, a targeted audience. But it rarely works out that way. “The brands don’t understand that people come with a very specific audience. While you may like her photos, you have an audience that only wants to see a certain price point,” she said. These Instagram celebrities also change their focuses, and executives often see inflated numbers. “So they think ‘she’s pretty’ and ‘she gets a lot of engagement’,” she said. “But the hot girl usually has guys trolling her, not girls who want to buy the product.”