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Blogger relations: She's a blogger and she's looking good

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2 November 2010
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Fashion Blogger Relations round up

Fashion Blogger Relations round up

It would seems that bloggers have a tremendous power of recommendation with their regular audience.

One of our (RAAK’s) biggest successes was doing blogger relations with Katie from What Katie Wore. With one blog post she increased sales of our client fourfold. No kidding.

Even if their audiences are small compared to say traditional magazines, the influence they carry is far greater.

PR thought leader Brian Solis coined the term of marketing to an audience with an audience. Matt Cutts talks about how to get this audience talking to their audience in this video. Old Spice did it in their recent massively succesful campaign, when they made dozens of videos speaking to Twitter users with huge followings on Twitter. These users shared Old Spices videos with these audiences. And the rest is history.

In terms of reach and influence, big bloggers are the pinnacle of this marketing to an audience with an audience principle.

As we gear up to collaborate on another social media project for a fashion brand (Take on Ted), we thought it would be good to do a bit of a round up,  particularly on what big brands are doing with the biggest fashion bloggers.

Not just blogger window dressing

Susie Bubble of the blog Style Bubble remains one of the most interesting fashion bloggers out there. She recently resigned as a features editor with Dazed and Confused to focus solely on her blog. Brave move. But as we pointed out before, her popularity online already exceeded that of the magazine she helped edit.

COS took the perfect tack to rope in Susie’s considerable fashion influence. They actually read her blog! Suzie explains:

COS: Would you like to style the windows of our stores?
Me: Errr…. is this a convincing prank coming from a totally legit-looking domain email?
COS: Nope, we’d like you to style windows at the Regent Street, Covent Garden and Westfield stores.
Me: YES, yes, YES! *Emails boyfriend in excitement as we are both COS fanatics*

The gist of that imaginary convo there is pretty simple. I have indeed expressed my love for COS on numerous occasions and somewhere in COS’ lofty head office, someone picked up on this. “Hey take a look at this chick wearing our clothes in a strange and misshapen way!”

Susie featured the windows in her blog. COS made it clear that the windows were styled by Suzie. The cost? Who knows? The impact? My bet it was huge.

Suzie Bubble does Cos's windows

COS loves Susie

Giving Bloggers the opportunity to run a competition on their blogs

Next, let’s take a look at what Björn Borg’s underwear brand has been up to. They approached a number of big bloggers in several countries. Each one of them was incentivised to get their audience to take part in a blog competition, with the blogger and Björn as the judge.

Cocorosa gets creative

Here is Dutch / NY Blogger Cocorosa’s blog post announcing the campaign, and here is Spanish (but London based) Gala Gonzalez’s post.

This was the promotion text:

I’ve teamed up with Björn Borg as the Dutch Blogger (there are about 14 other bloggers representing the other countries) to host the Swedish Exports competition, where you can win a feature on my blog + Bjorn Borgs site and also your weight in Bjorn Borg underwear!

The rules are simple:
Take a photo of how fun, cool, awesome, legendary, good and excellent you look in your Björn Borgs.
Upload your pictures here: SwedishExports.BjornBorg.com before Nov 28th
Keep your fingers crossed!
Me and Bjorn Borg will thereafter pick the coolest pictures to be published on my blog and on Bjorn Borg.

One small piece of criticism here. It would seem as if Björn Borg asked the bloggers to put the same text on their posts. Since many hardened fashionista’s read many top fashion blogs, this ain’t cool. It makes the campaign seem more like old school advertising and less spontaneous. This does not make BB or the bloggers look cool. I’m left wondering: is Björn really going to work with each blogger?

But still, that is small beef. This was a great idea because it helps bloggers build their audience.

Blogger look styling

The Spanish brand Mango also got bloggers like Gala in to create some looks together with other bloggers. She explains:

This summer has been full of great stories and amazing moments. And..work,tons of work. But for me,I just don’t really see it as “work”, because whatever I do that involves fashion and creativity, is just the best way to spend my time and energies to keep learning and discovering new things.So, in july ,MANGO invited me to participate in their new online campaign, creating, with the gorgeous and super funny Hanneli, 2 looks for their “What Should I wear?” stories.

Blogger Gala at Mango

Blogger Gala styling at Mango

And here is the video that’s a result of that. You may notice that Mango tries to pit the bloggers against each other in a blogger vs blogger format.

Now here’s a minor point of criticism. Why the Gala vs Haneli format? Gala does not even mention it on her own blog and I’m sure Haneli did not like that angle of the campaign either. Fashion is notoriously bitchy and competitive as it is. I am sure the bloggers would have preferred to just style together. Neither does the ‘versus vibe’ add anything for consumers.

Otherwise, another good way to get your product in front of a blogger’s audience.

No competition please, we are peers

H & M did much the same as Mango, getting bloggers to style looks, but without the competitive element. Cocorosa and Gala took part (amongst many others).

Blogger Cocorosa for H&M

Blogger Cocorosa for H&M

Getting bloggers to do your product development

Last but not the least there is a collaborative design model, first made popular by stars like Kate Moss designing for brands like Topshop. Writes blogger Karla, from Karla’s Closet:

A few months back, my friends at Coach contacted me and a few other bloggers about designing a handbag for them. It’s been such a fun experience working with their team and I’m so excited I finally get to show you guys the final product! It will be available on 5/19 for pre-orders online.

Karla's Closet for Coach

Karla's Closet for Coach

Now this co-designing model is of course the hardest to pull off. Where do you draw the line? How do the bloggers and designers collaborate? Who makes the final decisions?

But for bloggers it’s the most creative and rewarding of them all. They get to grow their audience and get to look good. They are very likely to love your brand.

And because of this they are very likely to promote the hell out of the product on their blog.

When doing blogger relations, bear in mind

  • Bloggers have to be seen to be authentic. Even more so than mainstream media, blogs are built on being the real deal. If your campaign makes the blogger look like they’re forsaking their fashion kudos for commercial gain, the blog’s reputation will suffer.
  • Which brings me to my second point. If you have good products, it is so much easier to work with bloggers. If not, good luck!
  • Read the blogs of the bloggers you’re trying to approach. Is their style a fit with yours? Have they said something that may create an opportunity? Many big fashion blogs are still done for love and not for money. If that is the case, the hard nosed business approach will be even more difficult.
  • Many fashion bloggers are trying to turn their blogs into careers. To be able to do that they need money. Sending them products is all good and well, but no matter how delicious they look, you can’t eat a Balenciaga handbag. So if appropriate, advertise on the blog. Or even better, sponsor the blogger to do some styling.
  • This blog would not have been possible without the assistance of fashion guru Laura Villasenin, founder of Miista, a fashion forward footwear brand based in Hackney, London. Full disclosure, she’s my partner too ;)

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