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Belgium: Why and how to conquer the lifestyle market

Belgium: Why and how to conquer the lifestyle market

Belgium: Why and how to conquer the lifestyle market

Belgium: The country of chocolate, fries, and … fashion. Maybe not as tasty, but surely more than tasteful. Martin Margiela, Dries Van Noten, Raf Simons, and Ann Demeulemeester are just a few of the big names who rose to fame from the country’s main cities Antwerp and Brussels. Interior design doesn’t need to hide in the fashion industry’s shadow though. Belgians tend to love building and decorating their homes. Now you only need to localize your contacts and link them to the right language … A quick guide on how to navigate this little, but extremely diverse and interesting country.

The Antwerp Six

Being such a small country, Belgium has still managed to put its stamp on the international fashion scene. Martin Margiela was a pioneer who rose to fame from Antwerp and you probably have heard of Raf Simons who’s been the creative director of Calvin Klein, Dior, and now Prada. Then names like Ann Demeulemeester and Dries Van Noten probably also ring a bell: Part of the Antwerp Six, highly influential graduates from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts.

Although Antwerp remains the Belgian fashion capital, the country’s actual capital definitely played and continues to play an important role in the country’s fashion history as a bustling city with creative ateliers and boutiques in the presence of inspiring artists like the surrealist René Magritte.

The popularity of Belgian fashion doesn’t reflect as much on its interior design. However, the saying goes that Belgians have a brick in their stomach’, pointing to their desire to build their own homes.

Needless to say that there is an audience for home interior products. According to a Santander market analysis, Belgians spend more than 6% of their household budget on their homes in the form of furnishings and maintenance, which is more than what they spend on fashion which trails behind with around 4%. Moreover, the report states that there’s a growing market for gastronomy, gardening, and home decoration and maintenance (1).

However, Belgium is a patchwork of languages, cultures, preferences, and attitudes, so it is hard to present a single, clear-cut profile and approach. Instead, we present you with some things to bear in mind when figuring out who you want to reach out to and from which locality in the country you’d best do this.

Highlights

1. Choose your language: Belgium has three official languages: Dutch, French, and German – but with Brussels being the capital of Europe, it’s not unlikely to catch some English there too.

Flanders, the northern and Dutch-speaking part of the country, has the biggest population (58%), Wallonia, the southern part, is less populated (31%) and is mainly French-speaking with a small German-speaking community in the east. Finally, the capital region Brussels (which is located in Flanders) has 11% of the population, and communication in the city tends to be in both main languages (Dutch and French).

The main cities are Antwerp and Brussels. Depending on which community they’re from, Belgians’ will have different preferences and habits – with Flemish people leaning closer to The Netherlands than the Walloons, and the latter being closer to the French landscape than the northern citizens.

Most websites catering to the Belgian market have both French and Dutch versions, which is very important. Belgians often shop and explore across the border, also virtually with about 40% of online sales originating abroad, mainly in The Netherlands, France, and Germany (2).

2. Build trust: As opposed to their neighbors in The Netherlands, Belgians are less direct, more formal, and reserved. They prefer to listen and take their time to build a more personal relationship with business partners before making a deal. Take this into account when reaching out to Belgian press or customers: They will appreciate an informal register as long as you’re not making too many spelling mistakes and you stick to business rather than superficial chit-chat.

3. Sustainability: Belgians are very climate-conscious. They love to support their local vendors and consume organic, fresh, traceable products. When you talk to them about your sustainable product or service, fun and fluff won’t cut it. Be sure to get your facts and terminology straight.

 

Familiarize with the Belgian media landscape

Included in VOCAST’s Belgium curated lists

Fashion media landscape

Home Inteior media landscape

Influencers

Compared to The Netherlands where social media penetration is very high at 88%, Belgium is growing and has more room for growth at 76% (3). The most popular platform is still Facebook with more than 81% users, followed by YouTube at 80%. Then Instagram has over 53% users, while Pinterest has about 30%.

TikTok grew massively: from barely 9% of the internet users on the platform in 2020 to 21,4% in 2021 (3). Although e-commerce is growing in Belgium, Santander notes that 25% of Belgian internet users have adblocks, which actually is as high as 47% for the younger population. As Santander writes in its report, Belgians are more likely to learn about products and services through social media and actively look for those.

Julie Vanlommel

Julie Vanlommel is a Belgian stylist and fashion influencer based in Antwerp.

Paulien Riemis

Paulien Riemis is the fashion influencer and writer of the blog Polienne. She’s based in Antwerp.

Florence Windey

Florence Windey is a Belgian influencer and radio personality hosting videos and shows for the channel StuBru.

Justine Kegels

Justine Kegels is an interior architect, designer, photographer, creative director, and model from Antwerp.

Patricia Goijens

Patricia Goijens is an interior photographer and stylist from Antwerp.

Elien Jansen

Elien Jansen is a fashion, travel, and lifestyle photographer and influencer based in Hasselt, Belgium.

 

Publishing houses

Belgian titles and channels are controlled by just a few large media houses. In Flanders these are DPG Media, Mediahuis and Roularta. The latter also holds French-speaking titles. In Wallonia Groupe Rossel is a major player.

There are the Dutch (VRT) and French-speaking (RTBF) public television and radio channels too, and in Wallonia, people tend to tap into French channels as well.

 

Meet some of the editors

Martyna Majchrzak

Martyna Majchrzak is the Editor in Chief for the Belgian culinary magazine Culinaire Ambiance. She is a micro-influencer sharing content about interior design, fashion and gastronomy. Based in Antwerp.

Marie Guérin

Marie Guérin is the Editor in Chief of Elle Belgique. 

Ruth Goossens

Ruth Goossens is the Editor in Chief of the Belgian lifestyle magazine Knack Weekend and its French edition Le Vif Weekend. 

Judith Hendrickx

Judith Hendrickx is the Head of Lifestyle for the Belgian lifestyle magazine Flair. She writes about interior, food and lifestyle. 

Mare Hotterbeekx

Mare Hotterbeekx is the digital coordinator for fashion and lifestyle magazine Knack Weekend. 

Amélie Rombauts

Amélie Rombauts is a design and architecture editor for the Belgian lifestyle magazine Knack Weekend. 

To get access to the Belgian curated lists of these Magazines, Influencers, Architects, Editors-in-chief, Editors, and more:

(1) https://santandertrade.com/en/portal/analyse-markets/belgium/reaching-the-consumers
(2) https://santandertrade.com/en/portal/analyse-markets/belgium/distributing-a-product
(3) https://www.xavierdegraux.be/sociale-netwerken-belgie-statistieken-2021

   

Wided is the Lifestyle Researcher for the Belgian and Dutch markets at VOCAST. She’s a Belgian editor and author with a background in journalism. In London, she established a career in digital marketing for fashion and interior design brands. When she’s not working or studying for her Master’s, you’ll find her in front of a canvas, paintbrushes in hand.

 

 

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The Netherlands: Why and how to conquer the lifestyle market

The Netherlands: Why and how to conquer the lifestyle market

The Netherlands: Why and how to conquer the lifestyle market

Dutch Design is the national pride of The Netherlands and the subject of international praise. It is the umbrella term for the country’s design æsthetics and its popularity explains why VOCAST offers insights into the versatile market with a wide array of (niche) relevant contact segments. Dutch Design covers interior design and art, but The Netherlands are also important players in the global fashion scene. Now how should you best engage with this market of which the residents are characterized by their authenticity and direct attitude? A quick, clear guide to Dutch (Design) thinking.

Dutch Design

Dutch Design is more than just a reference to its country of origin. The term covers Dutch interior design and art æsthetics and is known for being innovative, minimalistic, experimental, quirky, and humorous.

When it comes to innovation, sustainability has come to take up a bigger role. After all, Dutch design is characterized by offering more than just a practical purpose: it tells a story. Great contemporary examples of furniture and interior design brands carrying out the Dutch spirit are Studio HENK, Home Stock, Zuiver, and Moooi.

But the country leaves a mark on the fashion world too. Think of Daily Paper which is one of the most influential streetwear brands of the moment. Great designers like Iris van Herpen and Viktor & Rolf paved the way.

Moreover, Dutch brands like Oilily, G-Star, and Scotch & Soda became part of the mainstream. In fact, according to Creative Holland, the Dutch fashion industry employs more than 20.000 people and covers a consumer market of around 10 billion euros. The country counts more than 20.000 physical stores and customers get their hands on their favorite designs through online channels more than ever too (1).

Yet, there isn’t one ultimate Dutch fashion identity, Maaike Feitsma argued in her 2014 research. It is always changing and developing, moving between the stereotype of functionality, simplicity in line with the Dutch adversity for showing off, and the seemingly opposing bright, colorful, and expressive style (2).

Despite the mix of both overlapping and contradicting styles, there are elements that connect and characterize the Dutch and their design. Bearing those in mind, we proceed with a little guide to Dutch communication.

How to engage

The Netherlands topped the global 2020 EF English Proficiency Index (3) which means that the Dutch are the best non-native English speakers, they also have a long and rich history in international trade and love online shopping in foreign webshops (4).

But this doesn’t mean you can kick up your feet and let the magic happen. If you want to conquer the Dutch market (and hearts), you’ll have to embrace the Dutch attitude and answer their need for authenticity and directness:

1. Honesty is key

The Dutch are known to be very direct and appreciate it when others make themselves clear in simple terms too. So in your messaging targeting The Netherlands, be sure to simply get to the point, no fluff. When emailing your Dutch contacts, you can address them informally as the informal register is gaining popularity.

Only if your customer base is older or you know they prefer a formal approach, you can choose for that (5). Moreover, the Dutch don’t show off, nor do they like it when others do. Don’t take yourself too seriously, add a touch of humor as long as the communication stays straightforward. People don’t tend to invest in luxury items to show how wealthy they are, it is more a matter of taste and self-expression. Be sure to focus on the latter with an authentic, honest story and you’ll have loyal customers in return.

2. Be on time

When it comes to managing their time, Dutch people are very strict. They rarely work overtime and they like to plan social gatherings weeks in advance. Because about a third of the Dutch start their day by checking their emails, this is a great way to get in touch. However, if you want to invite someone to an event and actually want them to show up, make sure to ask them largely ahead of time so they can make space for you in their calendar – people aren’t too keen on canceling plans last minute (5).

3. Stand for something

The Netherlands is the second-largest agricultural exporter in the world, which means sustainability is quite naturally on their mind. However, figures show that the Dutch are lagging behind globally when it comes to making sustainable choices – simply because they don’t necessarily want to pay more for it than for other products and services (5).

Because it’s nonetheless an important matter to the Dutch, you can focus eg. on the packaging. Pwc’s March 2021 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey’s section on sustainability, shows the highest commitment of the Dutch when it comes to intentionally buying items with eco-friendly or less packaging (38%) and buying items from companies conscious and supportive of protecting the environment (35%) (6).

This reminds us of the importance of a brand’s narrative in The Netherlands.

 

Familiarize with the Dutch media landscape

Included in VOCAST’s Dutch curated lists

Fashion media landscape

Home Interior media landscape

Influencers

With the rise in online shopping comes the growing relevance of influencer marketing. Even before the pandemic, some influencers grew out to become true celebrities, think of eg. the Dutch-Iranian beauty entrepreneur, presenter, and fashion blogger Anna Nooshin (near 1 million followers), or YouTube make-up star NikkieTutorials (14.7 million followers).

Lockdowns and social distancing definitely also helped the social network TikTok reach amazing heights. According to Emerce, in The Netherlands, it went from 2 million to 4.5 million users in the past year alone (7). If you want to find out more on how to reach a broader audience and include more of Gen Z, read our TikTok feature and explore our curated TikTok lists.

When communicating with a Dutch audience on social media, it’s important to keep the previously mentioned pointers in mind. Unfiltered content is a big win in The Netherlands. Think of influencer Rianne Meijer, now part of Zalando’s Activists of Optimism campaign. She’s a great example of Dutch authenticity mixed with a good dose of fun with her Instagram vs. reality content.

A general development, again quite driven by Gen Z voices, is the use of their social platforms to bring positive change, communicating and doing something meaningful (7). As previously mentioned, as a brand you can stand out if you stand for something and you can connect with influencers who relate to your message and ideas.

Despite being a bit behind on the global sustainability movement, The Netherlands does have some influencers with a climate-conscious voice, whom you can find in our niche curated lists too. For eg., Nina Pierson shares authentic content about motherhood.

Negin Mirsalehi

Negin Mirsalehi is one of the most successful Dutch influencers and became an equally successful entrepreneur as she launched her own haircare brand Gisou, based on honey, in 2015. She even made it into Forbes’ 30 under 30.

Rianne Meijer

Rianne Meijer is a Dutch model with a passion for photography, traveling, and making video content along the way.

Vivian Hoorn

Vivian Hoorn is a visual storyteller based in Amsterdam. She’s a fashion and lifestyle photographer and creative director.

Maartje Diepstraten

Maartje Diepstraten is the Dutch creative mastermind behind Barts Boekje (‘Bart’s Guide’, the former being a nickname given to her by her father). The blog has developed several categories ranging from kids guides to travel and (green) interior – all within the lifestyle and travel field.

 

Andrea de Groot

Andrea de Groot is a content creator and the founder of interior blog LivingHip.

 

Rachel van Sas

Rachel van Sas is a Dutch influencer living in Amsterdam. She has a big passion for interior design which she shares on her social channels.

 

 

Publishing houses

The Dutch media landscape is dominated by five big players: the Dutch public broadcaster NPO, DPG Media which used to be De Persgroep, and since April 2020 also owns Sanoma Media, Talpa Network, Mediahuis, and RTL Group. These large companies own most of the Dutch media brands, including the most popular news services NU.nl, NOS, AD, De Telegraaf, and RTL Nieuws (8).

However, only two of them – the Belgian Mediahuis and DPG Media – hold more than 85% of the print market, while three players hold around 75% of the radio and television markets.

 

Meet some of the editors

Evelien Reich

Evelien Reich is the Editor in Chief of the Dutch ELLE Decoration and ELLE à Table NL. She’s also been a stylist for several decades working for Quote, ELLE Eten, ELLE Decoration, Red, and FD Persoonlijk.

Mary Hessing

Mary Hessing is art director and editor at WOTH Wonderful Things magazine. She previously worked for the women’s lifestyle magazine Libelle and was the Editor in Chief of both More Than Classic and Eigen Huis & Interieur. Next to interior design, she’s worked in fashion organising shows, books and events. 

Suzanne Arbeid

Suzanne Arbeid is based in Amsterdam and coordinates the specials for the Dutch lifestyle magazine Margriet. She was previously the deputy Editor in Chief of Grazia Netherlands. 

Monique van Loon

Monique van Loon is a Dutch author and food critic living in Amsterdam. She reviews restaurants for Het Parool, writes for the Dutch ELLE Decoration and was formerly co-founder of Culy.nl, Editor in Chief of Girlscene.nl and an editor for various Dutch titles.

Stephanie Broek

Stephanie Broek is a Dutch fashion journalist, writer, consultant and influencer, with a love for sustainability. She was formerly the Fashion Features Editor at Glamour NL. 

To get access to the Dutch curated lists of these Magazines, Influencers, Architects, Editors-in-chief, Editors, and more:

(1) https://www.creativeholland.com/nl/fashion-en-textiel
(2) https://nederlands.ruhosting.nl/wat-is-typisch-nederlands-aan-nederlandse-mode-promotie/
(3) https://www.ef.com/wwen/epi/
(4) https://www.wordbank.com/us/blog/market-insights/dutch-consumer-behavior/
(5) https://www.wordbank.com/us/blog/market-insights/dutch-consumer-behavior/
(6) https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/consumer-markets/consumer-insights-survey.html
(7) https://www.emerce.nl/achtergrond/influencer-marketing-2021-7-belangrijkste-trends
(8) https://www.consultancy.nl/nieuws/24543/de-grootste-mediabedrijven-van-nederland-en-ter-wereld

   

Wided is the Lifestyle Researcher for the Belgian and Dutch markets at VOCAST. She’s a Belgian editor and author with a background in journalism. In London, she established a career in digital marketing for fashion and interior design brands. When she’s not working or studying for her Master’s, you’ll find her in front of a canvas, paintbrushes in hand.

 

 

 

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Germany: Why and how to conquer the lifestyle market

Germany: Why and how to conquer the lifestyle market

Germany: Why and how to conquer the lifestyle market

VOCAST has been curating lists for the German Fashion and Home Interior sectors for many years now. Due to the high relevance of the German Market for all brands in both segments, we hosted webinars for you to learn more about the potential of Germany and how to unlock this large market as a company. Germans value craftsmanship, sustainability, transparency, and quality. They will buy into a company more than solely a product, which is why Scandinavian lifestyle brands have been very successful within the German market for quite some time now.

Find a recap of important things to know about the market. Here is why and how you should go about conquering the German Lifestyle Market:

 

“Berlin is home to the dense concentration of fashion businesses in Germany. With approximately 3100 companies and 25400 people employed, Berlin is Germany’s Fashion capital!”

German efficiency is not only a cliché

German efficiency is a phenomenon based on the truth! It is a cliché we Germans are proud of and an image we like to continue to portray to others. For you, this does mean extra work though! German people expect you to reciprocate the level of efficiency when working. If there’s anything you want or need attending to, it is expected of you to do so in an efficient manner. Have all your facts straight, and know what you need to when approaching someone. Knowledge within a subject matter is absolutely vital. No one wants to be wasting anyone’s precious time, so ensure that you are being thorough. This also goes for punctuality. When meeting someone in person, make sure to be a few minutes early…Germans don’t like waiting!

Being direct yet polite is the key

Germans are known to be direct and blunt, but being polite is key! They might not reciprocate the kindness if you catch them on a bad day, but hey no one is perfect! If you want something, don’t hesitate to ask! Being direct is preferred, don’t waste anyone’s time! The German standard for politeness and etiquette is slightly different from some other countries. When addressing someone with “you” in German there are multiple forms. “Du” and “Sie”. When speaking to someone you don’t know, you should always address them with the “Sie” form and their last name, especially when having E-mail contact. You can switch to a first name and “du” basis when they invite you to do so! If you’re unsure of how to speak to someone always choose the more formal version, just in case!

Consistence, Practicality and Budgets

German people are known to be easily recognizable on any vacation and as much as that construct is a cliché it is based on facts. Comfort and practicality are elements highly valued by the German consumer. Paired with the love of things being easy, efficient, and consistent and the ability but not desire to invest a lot of money, the German spending culture may seem different to other markets.​

 

Get acquainted with the German media landscape

Included in VOCAST’s German curated lists

 

A rich influencer scene

Germany is obviously a very large market, with over 83 million people inhabiting the European country. When it comes to influencers there are an endless amount of digital creators. Whether known on Instagram, Youtube, or more recently, TikTok, German influencers are present on various social media platforms with the ability to reach a large group of people. This makes influencer marketing essential for brands wanting to gain traction within the German market.

Stefanie Giesinger is one of the most well-known German Fashion Influencers with nearly 4 Million followers on Instagram, followed by Leonie Hanne, Caro Daur, and Xenia Adonts, all of which can be found in our Top 10 Fashion Advocates list, with consent, ready to be contacted. These prominent, globally known influencers only make up three of the many relevant influencers. With brands working with different aesthetics, brand values, and products, there are countless micro as well as macro-influencers.

Stefanie Giesinger

One of Germany’s influencers with the highest following on Instagram, Stefanie Giesinger has 3.9M followers and takes her followers on a daily journey of fashion, travel and more.

Anuthida Ploypetch

Anuthida is an influencer with over 421k followers on Instagram. She is based in Berlin and has a very edgy style, which is well-known in the city!

 

Daniela Schinke - Wunderblumen

Daniela Schinke is the face behind the popular interior account @wunderblumen. The colourful and tasteful interior profile attracted over 147k profiles following Daniela’s home.

 

Julia Ballmaier - My home is my horst

Julia is the face behind “My home is my horst”. She is an interior blogger, stylist, author and mother with over 11k people following her design journey.

 
 
 

 

 

Print and Online Publications

Berlin may be the Fashion capital of Germany but the large publishing houses such as Condé Nast and Burda Media are based in Munich. The high fashion and commercial magazines are predominantly based in Munich and Hamburg with Berlin housing more quirky and individual magazines, which are not owned by big media corporations.

With 60+ magazines online publications solely in the fashion segment, brands have the ability to make informed decisions on where they see brand features to be most relevant and have the luxury to select the best matches for them and still saturate the market with content. Discover a few of the many publications you have access to through the German Curated Lists below!

Fashion Magazines

There are many commercially known magazines like VOGUE, ELLE, Harpers Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and more in Germany.

Fashion Magazines

The more edgy publications are produced on a much smaller scale but with just as much impact! Discover magazines such as 032c or INDIE on the German Curated lists now and learn more about the Berlin-based publications.

Home Interior Magazines

From Architectural Digest to Elle Decoration, Germany has its own version of all the known publications as well as its own successful publications such as Schöner Wohnen.
Find the magazines on our curated lists alongside many others.

 

Meet some of the editors

Kerstin Weng

Kerstin Weng is the Editor-in-Chief at InStyle Germany and has been since 2016, before then she had the role of Editor-in-Chief at Cosmopolitan Germany.

 

Alexandra Link

Alexandra is the Deputy Editor-in-Chief Digital at ELLE & Harper’s BAZAAR Germany & Esquire.

 

Stefanie Bärwald

Stefanie Bärwald is the interior design editor at Schöner Wohnen magazine and more recently also for the new publication Guido’s Deko Queen.

 

Andreas Lichtenstein

Andreas Lichtenstein is the deputy editor-in-chief and creative director at Living at Home magazine.

 

 

To get access to the German curated lists of these Magazines, Influencers, Architects, Editor-in-chiefs, Editors, and more

   

Isabelle is the German Market Coordinator, responsible for the fashion and lifestyle research and coordination within the German market. She has a degree in Fashion Promotion and works as a Copywriter at a creative agency alongside her work at VOCAST.

 

 

 

 

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How content can help your wholesale clients sell more

How content can help your wholesale clients sell more

How content can help your wholesale clients sell more

The most cost-efficient marketing program that all brands can execute with next to zero budget.

 

Across most of the western world, retail has been challenged for years by the Internet leading to the mass closure of many small independent stores. And then came Covid-19 on top and made it all worse. Is wholesale dead then? Not if you ask us at VOCAST:

 

“Some of the best fashion brands we work with actually have growth on their wholesale accounts from 2019 to 2020. I didn’t think that was possible in the current condition, so naturally, we have dug through the best cases to learn how they do it, and we discovered that most brands will be able to it with very little resources.

 

One of the great things about this marketing program is, that most brands already have the content needed to help their clients sell more. It is just a matter of delivering it in the right manner.”

“The numbers don’t lie. We have rapid growth in download traffic in our clients’ digital showrooms. After steady growth for a while, we went from 1,8 to 2,5 million unique monthly users a month during Black Friday.

 

An obvious testament, that you need content to sell products. Some of our best-performing clients average close to 100,000 downloads a month. And that activity consists mainly of their wholesale clients downloading images to do Instagram campaigns.”

Co-founder Jens Hamborg Koefoed

​Internet changed publishing

20 years ago the only way to become known in a market went through fashion magazines. So very few, very powerful editors controlled your access to the market. If they featured you, you would be successful. Internet and Social Media have made drastic changes to publishing in the last decade or two. Since the Internet and Social Media have made it possible for anyone to become a publisher, everyone is publishing.

The first of the main consequences of that is, that to get known you have to go through radically more people than you used to reach your market. The second is, that since this number is higher you can’t rely on wining and dining and relations alone like PR people used to. Instead, you have to automate your PR and marketing programs. And then the quality of the content becomes more important since it should be able to engage your audience and tell the story that sets your brand apart.

 

 

Treat retailers like they were magazines

Since traditional printed publications have been losing reach and influence for close to 20 years, who did they lose it to? If you take a look at the fashion shows and who is front row the obvious answer is bloggers and other types of digital influencers that come in so many shapes and sizes. Nothing new here. But retailers also started blogging and Instagramming. They also have websites, newsletters and some even have printed publications.

And the good news is; They already love your product so much they bought it so you don’t have to pay them to market it on their channels. But they could use some help. Not all are professional content creators so they might do content with your products, that you don’t like.

 

But if you supply them with a steady stream of content there will be many positive consequences:

1. They will have you top of mind which is nice because you compete for attention with their other brands.

2. They will know your brand better, thus they will be better at selling it.

3. They won’t damage your storytelling by creating content that tells the wrong story.

4. Your content will help them drive customers into their stores asking for your product rather than the products from other brands.

 

How to get started?

So what do you need for this? Very little actually.

1. Content

You can start with the content you already create for a collection. Campaign shots, lookbook shoots, and product shots of course. But next time you do a photoshoot ask yourself which types of photos would my clients want to publish? In our experience, most great content originates from the original thoughts and the process of the designer.

So take photos and videos when you source products. It can be rough and low cost, start with an iPhone and start experimenting from there. Do content on your production. How is it made? Who is making it? Document the design process, make content on colors, fabrics, tailoring, prints, and other continuous design choices you do along the way.

When you do the classic photoshoots, you should do behind-the-scenes content with an iPhone. Show how fashion is being done.

2. Distributing content

Of course, you can send a link to Dropbox when your clients put in an order, but that won’t make them use your content. Think in snacks rather than meals: So you have to share small selections of content with a theme at a high frequency. Weekly or biweekly depending on your resources.

Do it visually. Everyone in the fashion industry are visual people and they like to be treated accordingly. Beautiful emails with links to visual content.

3. Copy writing

You should inspire them with a few lines for a post accompanied by the images and videos to nudge them to do it immediately rather than next week.

4. Evaluating

If you have a professional tool, you look at the download and engagement metrics to learn what they like and what they don’t. Our experience is, that location is better than studio. Make it personal, tell a story. Flatlays are better than cutouts. But the your clients are unique and they behaviour will tell you their story.

And one last thing: You should make it into a mantra that: The product isn’t sold before our clients sell it.

   

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Beauty advocates in an age of change

Beauty advocates in an age of change

Beauty advocates in an age of change

In every market, there are a select few beauty influencers whose reach and authority are more crucial for your brand’s success than others. Our international research team curates lists of relevant lifestyle media contacts and saw an increased need for a list that selectively showcased these specific personas; Top 10 Beauty Advocates. The advocates we have chosen are continuously updated to reflect the markets’ climate, they are influencers and industry insiders – but it’s not just about how many followers they have, it’s about who follows them and why.

There is an ongoing movement that is increasingly pushing the beauty industry standards to embrace inclusivity, mental health, and sustainable practices. For that reason, we decided to speak to Terese Ask, Co-founder of Impression PR, a beauty and lifestyle PR agency based in Copenhagen to share with you why you should aim to work with this new generation of outspoken beauty advocates.

​Beauty influencers a power still to be reckoned with

The rise of beauty influencers and social media has quickly changed the beauty industry. Prior to the social media boom, beauty brands relied heavily on traditional advertising and magazines to reach customers. Fast-forward to now, social media has introduced consumers to a wide range of beauty content covering different types of needs.

From wanting more cleaner beauty products to a more extensive and inclusive range of foundation shades, the increased exposure social media has provided to brands has had consumers beginning to question how commendable their favorite cosmetics brands really are. They are now able to react to campaigns in more direct forms than ever before.

According to Terese, the old-school approach to reaching the new generation of consumers is definitely outdated:

« Before, the beauty industry was mainly dictated by huge media houses and brands. That means a board of people who need to agree, and often it takes a long time to convince big organizations to try something new.

With the rise of beauty influencers, we’ve seen regular people create their own media platforms without having to ask anyone but themselves what they would like to share with the world.

We’ve seen people from different genders, ethnicities, sizes, etc. create huge followings on social media, and today many of them have their own brands or partner with world-renowned brands on collaborations. »

Terese Ask, Co-founder of Impression PR

The importance of collaborating with the right influencers is even more crucial in the beauty realm. According to Forbes after a study made by Harvard Business School MBA graduate Alessia Vettese: « 62% of the women she surveyed in her study said they follow beauty influencers on social media. When asked where these women search information about beauty products prior to purchasing them, social media influencers ranked highest at nearly 67% (…) Advertisements made by companies ranked much lower at 44%. »

When evaluating beauty products before purchase: « The women said influencer marketing sways their purchasing decisions most, while direct-mail marketing is the least effective way to reach them. » – Alessia Vettese

Strong authentic opinions are key

Nowadays, a wide range of social media influencers put authenticity and integrity above all. They are very assertive about who they are and feel responsible to let their followers know that it’s okay to be different and not fit the norm.

Last year, in our article Beauty and Fashion: A powerful alliance, we had the pleasure to speak with professional makeup artist Marie Thomsen, based in Copenhagen who worked with the likes of GANNI, Stine Goya and By Malene Birger. She advised brands to not be afraid to collaborate with influencers that are not only different but also opinionated:

« I think we are going to be very bored with the pretty influencer with good skin. Instead, fashion brands should look for audacious beauty bloggers, as long as they have a really good style. Find the right people to stand out because less perfection gives a stronger impact.

My advice would be to collaborate with strong personalities, daring and opinionated influencers that match the brands and be inspired by people who opt for different standards of beauty.”

And according to Terese, beauty brands are understandably catching up on that:

« I’ve noticed a huge change in how beauty brands work with influencers. Just a few years ago a lot of brands were afraid of working with influencers who are political or in any way take a stand in certain areas. Today they love it and the more they can work with influencers who speak up, the better.

I think it has taken a while over this past decade for brands to understand the value of influencers and how to utilize them as part of their PR and marketing strategies. In the beginning many viewed influencers as models with lots of followers.

Today they understand that it’s not just a pretty face but a person who shares strong opinions on topics. If you work smart with influencers that fit your brand and values, the right match and campaign can make a huge impact on your brand value. »

Powerful messages to create stronger bonds 

Makeup, skincare, haircare, etc…Have in various ways helped many boost their self-esteem, and be more accepting of who they are. This feeling of self-care – exacerbated by the pandemic which forced us to retrieve and pamper – has made a lot of brands realize how important it is to emphasize the message of taking care of oneself both on the outside and inside.

Selena Gomez is one of the latest celebrities to launch her beauty brand. However, instead of just relying on promoting the tangible benefits of her « Rare Beauty » range of products, or her fan-base, her company also puts attention on mental health and empowering people to feel confident in their skin.

A direction, alongside good product reviews, that has helped the brand successfully launch and flourish. The brand has fortuitously reached out to many more with a universal message, and influencers and consumers alike have responded positively.

Rudolph Care is another prime example of a beauty brand that has decided very early on to make sustainability the heart of their business with a powerful message « born sustainable ».

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Une publication partagée par Rudolph Care (@rudolphcare)

The shift we are currently seeing is in full motion, and as we are seeing more and more societal changes occurring in our present times. Outspokenness and subsequent accountability are bound to happen. But how will this keep evolving? Terese believes that the shift we are currently seeing will continue on the same path:

« I think the beauty industry will only keep getting closer to the consumer. Whether led by the brand or ambassadors such as influencers or celebrities, we will see the brands take even more of a stand on societal, ethical, and sustainability issues because this is simply demanded by the consumers today, especially by the younger generations such as millennials and Gen Z.»

Our Top Beauty Advocates Picks

In the slides below you can see an example from each market, hand-curated by our research team. (1-The UK, 2-The US, 3-France, 4-Germany, 5-Denmark, 6-Sweden, 7-Norway, 8-Belgium, 9-The Netherlands).

THE UK - Freddie Harrel

Freddie Harrel is a French-born, Cameroonian, Londoner. One of the most prominent beauty influencers in the UK right now, Freddie is a content creator, entrepreneur, and activist. She’s an influencer who has been in the industry for almost 10 years, making her one of the UK’s original beauty-go-to-gurus. She is an example of someone who is extremely well versed in the ins and outs of not only the beauty and fashion industry, but the wants and needs of the consumer. She recently launched her own beauty brand: Rad Swan – “the conscious brand built with, and for the Global African Diaspora”. The launch of Rad Swan and the social media platform for the brand itself shows how in touch she is with her audience and her knowledge of where the gaps in the beauty market lie.
 
 

Georgina Juel – UK Market Coordinator

THE US - Nyma Tang

Nyma Tang is a Sudanese beauty influencer based in Texas as well as Los Angeles. She is self-taught and has the following base of nearly 2 million (IG + youtube combined). She has gained a lot of recognition as she’s been a strong and loud advocate for greater inclusion, wider shade ranges, and more diversity within the beauty industry, mainly the makeup world. It started off with her youtube series ”The darkest shade” where she reviews the darkest shade of makeup products different brands offer and it quickly became a hit. She felt a need to do this as she herself did not feel represented when buying the products she needed to be able to create her content. Her insights on inclusion and greater representation are highly regarded and valued. 

Cerena Kulego – US Lifestyle Researcher

 

FRANCE - Fatou N'Diaye

Black Beauty Bag is a fashion and beauty blog created by Fatou N’Diaye in 2007. Originally from Mali and Nigeria, the 43-year-old Parisian is one of the first bloggers to focus on empowering and sublimating the beauty of black women in France. When she first created her blog, it was a way to say “I am black, I love myself, and I want to talk about the reality of being a black woman in a society that is not made for her, which goes beyond a lipstick story.” (lemonde.fr). Today, Fatou continues to inspire as a content creator and is also a consultant for major cosmetic and luxury brands.

Ines Boubazine – Research & Marketing Coordinator

GERMANY - Farina Opoku

Farina is a 30-year-old Beauty and Fashion influencer from Cologne. She was one of the first influencers in Germany, who made a name for herself on a larger scale. Her blog was very successful, with Instagram being a logical addition back in the day. Today she has over 1.3 Million followers and collaborates with all relevant beauty brands out there. Farina does very glamorous, yet wearable makeup looks, which her followers love to see. Her hair routine is copied by many and accompanied by her chic sense of style, the influencer from Cologne has a unique audience of followers, covering various areas and niches.

Isabelle Kube – German Market Coordinator

DENMARK - Carla Mickelborg

Carla has a broad lifestyle profile, with a focus on much more than beauty alone. Her life is all about inspiring others to pursue their dreams, focusing on the journey to get there – not just the goal. She covers topics such as well-being, health, and self-development. On her Instagram, you will see traditional beauty tutorials as well as a lot of self-love. She has recently started Carla Club – a community for her followers with live broadcasts on self-development. She also produces 4 podcasts, no specifically about beauty, but about life and love, and has written multiple books.
 

Sarah Friis – Danish Lifestyle Researcher

SWEDEN - Leyla Aksoy

Leyla Aksoy is a professional beauty junky from Stockholm, Sweden. Her expertise within skincare and beauty products began when she as a teenager tried to manage her oily skin and from there a passion and career was born. When Leyla isn’t working as a teacher, which is her day job, she runs a popular Instagram account called @leyglow where she makes beauty tips and tricks accessible for all. Leyla is also one of the Elle Swedens beauty bloggers and is definitely a beauty advocate to trust and seek inspiration from.

Josefine Forslund – Swedish Market Coordinator

NORWAY - Eveline Karlsen

Eveline Karlsen previously worked as a makeup artist and as a salesperson in a luxurious beauty store but has in recent years stepped up her game as a beauty influencer and businesswoman and been successful at it. She has acquired an impressive following on both YouTube and Instagram and has become one of the leading influencers within beauty. She is outspoken and is not afraid to talk with her viewers about personal subjects or her opinions – which has strengthened her integrity.

Sara Linvåg Næss – Norwegian Market Coordinator

THE NETHERLANDS - Nikkie de Jager

Nikkie de Jager is a Dutch makeup star. She started her YouTube makeup tutorial channel in 2008 and now has over 14 million followers on Instagram, almost 14 million on YouTube with more than a billion views for her videos. In January 2020 she reached global news when she revealed she was transgender. She is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations in The Netherlands focusing on themes like racism, gender equality, and women’s rights. The first Dutch YouTube Original series was launched in December 2020 and is a documentary series about her called NikkieTutorials: Layers of Me.
 

Wided Bouchrika – Lifestyle Researcher for Belgium and the Netherlands

BELGIUM - Anouk Matton

Anouk Matton is a Belgian DJ and model who took her passion for makeup and launched her own beauty brand AM Cosmetics. With this vegan makeup line, she wants to boost people’s confidence. What makes it different is that it is made with crystal extracts because she believes in their healing power. The products are divided into three lines based on the crystal: there are products with pink quartz, amber, and jade all in the color palette of the gems.

Wided Bouchrika – Lifestyle Researcher for Belgium and the Netherlands

 

References: A special thanks to Terese Ask, Co-founder of Impression PR find them on Instagram and impressionpr.dk – Forbes and Harvard Business School: How Influencers are making over beauty marketing.

   

 

Ines is the Research and Marketing Coordinator at VOCAST. After spending most of her life on the beautiful African continent she has chosen Copenhagen as her home-base. A self-proclaimed “beauty curator”, she previously worked in the beauty industry and is now exploring her passion for digital marketing, fashion PR, and design.

 

 

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