Influencer Marketing: Now and Before — with Laura Cavalcante from Benetton
We've always had influencers, they've just taken different shapes and forms.
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A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to have a chat with Laura Cavalcante, Marketing Specialist and Digital Evangelist, Spain for the Benetton Group. She’s involved with influencer marketing, partnerships, and also in-store campaigns, events and CRM for Benetton Spain.
We spoke about influencer marketing and the shift from testimonials to influencers to now content creators. This was a very interesting interview, and I hope you enjoy reading it.
You’ve been at Benetton for 5 years now – how do you think influencer marketing has changed during this time?
I think influencer marketing has always existed – we’ve always been getting advice from others, in situations where we’ve asked our friends or family for it, or where we’ve got it from someone who we considered an “expert”. We all have those friends who we ask advice from on travel, creams, clothes, or other things. I’m not a beauty expert myself, so I always have a friend who I ask for advice on what creams to use.
Influencer marketing is nothing more than a natural evolution of something that’s already been happening in daily life – the different obviously being that the influencer does it on a much larger scale. I also believe that this kind of “figure” always existed: we used to call them testimonials – characters that represented a brand, as opposed to campaigns today.
And so influencer marketing is an evolution of this – the testimonial was a visual character – they put their face and body to promote a product. Influencers add an element of their brand value to the review.
Lately this evolution is even more important, as platforms are being born that allow influencers to have more focus on content and therefore influencers that have more interesting content are rewarded.
Then there’s the element of monetisation – Instagram is rewarding creators with good content (and YouTube has already been doing it for years). It’s now all about engagement – so let’s talk about relationships and no longer just the size of your community. I find that this last evolution (of monetisation) is the most interesting, and that it’s the right way in order to reward good content.
The figure of an “influencer” is always evolving. It has gone from “friend” to “testimonial” to “influencer” and now to “content creator”.
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What have you learnt during all the influencer campaigns you’ve been a part of?
I think the secret to a successful campaign is one that I’ve learnt on the field – through the five or so campaigns that I’ve been a part of.
The campaigns that work the best are those in which you work with ambassadors that are close to the brand in terms of their values, aesthetic, feeling and tone of voice. For example, for Benetton, I think of values such as creativity, colours, and energy – so the best people that we’ve worked with were the ones that shared those values.
We like to work with people who go beyond what you see. One of the influencers we worked with, Dulceida, for example, has always fought publicly for her rights and has done a lot for her community.
We also worked with Cocodavez, who is a painter that lives and works in Madrid. She’s super colourful, intelligent and a real artist. She also made a drawing for us.
In fact, when a campaign doesn’t work, it’s usually because there’s a certain gap between the brand and the influencer, which makes the collaboration seem distant and not credible. For example, if Brad Pitt were to promote fur clothing when he’s publicly a lover of nature, it wouldn’t make sense. It would reduce trust in both the influencer and the brand.
What is the biggest challenge on social media right now?
I believe that biggest challenge is related to society and sociability.
Today, those who have “more power” for one reason or another — huge visibility and/or huge influencer, for example — they have a duty to contribute to creating a more positive society that is more free, but also more controlled. In fact, I believe that it’s become important to set rules on social networks, because while freedom is important, it shouldn’t become a free-for-all for anyone to use words and language that can be troublesome.
Moreover, platforms should understand that they need to do more for us, as we give them our time, relationships, our tastes, our conversations and interactions with the most important people in our lives, and I believe that they need to give back something.
For example, the other day a little girl saved herself from a kidnapping by making a gesture she learnt about on TikTok. Similarly, how Instagram makes sure to put COVID related disclaimers on any and every post that is even remotely related to the pandemic. Other examples are crowdfunding campaigns, like the one Chiara Ferragni did for the San Raffaele Hopital.
We could do so much more, let’s think about the potential that these platforms have and exploit it. The immediacy that these platforms have is way more advanced than anything else.
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