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Sweden: Why and how to conquer the lifestyle market

Sweden: Why and how to conquer the lifestyle market

Sweden: Why and how to conquer the lifestyle market

Why is the land of lagom, Abba, Acne Studios, and Ikea interesting for your brand? And how do you conquer the lifestyle market? Even though Sweden is a small country, it is known for its strong business climate, global competitiveness, and commitment to innovation. The country is also ranked as the fourth most competitive economy in Europe (1). With great traditions in craftsmanship, and connection to nature the Swedes are spoiled with durable materials, quality design and have high expectations of brands and products. So, you can definitely say Sweden is a rich design and fashion nation!

At the same time, Sweden has a great fascination for what’s happening internationally. It is a very well-traveled and educated nation that frequently brings influences and lifestyles from around the globe into their everyday lives. But, there are a few important things to know about the market. Here is why and how you should go about conquering the Swedish Lifestyle Market:

Sustainability is a given not a trend

Since Sweden is a nation that is privileged enough to be at the forefront of sustainability, this is an important value amongst consumers since they are raised close to nature and learn to cherish the environment from their early years. Therefore, sustainability is not a trend but a given way of living – a fact that brands need to keep in mind when entering the market. 

Several brands, both within the fashion and interior sector have implemented circular business models like rental services, re-using old collections, or promoting second-hand ownership. This is something the Swedish lifestyle audience welcomes with open arms and goes in line with the overarching values in the lifestyle market like sustainability, quality, and tech innovation.

Digitally Savvy

With a tech-savvy population, a lot of doors open up for international brands to capture consumers’ attention and interest, reaching the Swedish audience online before entering the market physically. Social Media has a huge influence on Swedish consumers where influencers, both international and Swedish ones, set trends. 89% of the population are active on SoMe and despite Facebook having the biggest market share, Instagram is the most popular platform when interacting with brands (1).

(1) Sources: Statistics from Statista, 2020, and the Nordic Council of Ministers 2021

Humble Hierarchy

The lifestyle industry in Sweden is somewhat small which means that most professionals know each other, so one contact can lead to another. A trick to get started is to find common ground since Swedes need some time to get warmed up to people – even editors and content contributors. The work environment in the lifestyle sector is casual with a flat hierarchical structure where titles aren’t as important as in other European markets – like Germany or France for example. Reaching out to an assistant is a good move to start with since the Editor-in-Chief usually will look for a point of reference from their team (but no one will be offended or find you rude if you reach out directly to an EIC!) 

Get acquainted with the Swedish media landscape

Fashion Media Landscape

Home Interior Media Landscape 

A prominent influencer scene

On this small graphic, we have identified 360+ macro-influencers, up-and-coming influencers, and niche influencers on our Swedish curated lists. The biggest following on social media is around 2M, with an average of 60-150K followers. Even though the numbers are smaller than on other markets, their influence is great among their audience and within the industry.  Whether known on Instagram, Youtube, or TikTok, Swedish influencers are present on various social media platforms with the ability to reach a variety of audiences. This makes influencer marketing essential for brands wanting to gain traction within the Swedish market. 

Hanna Stefansson

One of the most loved influencers in Scandinavia, Hanna Stefansson, is Swedish raised but Copenhagen based. She is a professional when it comes to cool outfits, dreamy locations and yummy breakfasts.

Linn Eklund

Stockholm-based fashionista with an international and eclectic style. Linn Eklund is the co-founder of the cyber mag Hobnob Journal that inspires fashion-lovers to hang their investments in their closets.

 

Kristin Rödin

Kristin Rödin is the face behind the minimalistic interior account @homebykristinrodin. This tasteful interior profile have also a solid 500k followers on her lifestyle account.

 

Sofia Wood

With three cook books on her resume, Sofia Wood is also a podcast host and adored blogger within interior. Original craftsmanship, conscious design, and inviting table settings are Wood’s signum.

 

Print and Online Publications

Stockholm is the self-proclaimed capital of Scandinavia and here you find the majority of the big publishing houses like Bonnier, Aller Media, Plaza Publishing, and Story House Egmont. The publishing industry is up to speed with digitalization, but still, values building personal relationships through networking at events and showroom lunches. 

Have a look at some of the Swedish fashion and interior magazines below. 

Fashion Magazines

ELLE, Damernas värld, and STYLEBY are all commercial magazines with an online presence that are published monthly. Vogue Scandinavia, with its HQ in Stockholm, is planned to launch in August 2021.

Home Interior Magazines

Sweden has a wide range of titles from commercial magazines like Sköna hem, Residence, and Nya Rum to smaller niche magazines focusing on outdoor exterior or retro design. Find the magazines on our curated lists alongside many others.

Other Magazines

The more edgy publications are produced on a much smaller scale but with just as much impact! They also do a great job fusing fashion and interior together with technology and innovation.

Meet some of the editors

Jonna Bergh

As the Editor-in-Chief for both Damernas Värld and STYLEBY Magazine, Jonna Bergh is a key player when it comes to Swedish fashion publications.

 

Columbine Smille

Columbine Smille is the Fashion Director at STYLEBY Magazine, freelance creative consultant and member of the Advisory Board at Swedish Fashion Council.

 

Cia Jansson

As Editor-in-Chief at ELLE Decoration and ELLE Cia Jansson is equally important within the home interior and fashion industry. There aren’t many editors with her experience within lifestyle publishing.

 

Jesper Tilberg

Jesper Tillberg is the Editor-in-Chief at PLAZA Interiör, one of the most popular interior magazines in Sweden. Currently, he is also the temporary EIC at PLAZA Magazine, a well-known lifestyle magazine.

 

 

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

   

 

Josefine is the Swedish Market Coordinator, responsible for the fashion and lifestyle research and coordination within the Swedish market. Alongside her work, at VOCAST she is finishing her studies in Communication Design & Media in Copenhagen.

 

 

 

 

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Branded Imagery: prolonging social media presence through mood board influencers

Branded Imagery: prolonging social media presence through mood board influencers

Branded Imagery: prolonging social media presence through mood board influencers

Images are processed 60.000 times faster than words in the human brain. Pictures resonate within our mind and give us a chance to read between the lines of what isn’t written out. They remove language barriers, placing the sender in a non-market specific landscape. Compared to content that lacks a visual aspect, marketing content featuring images makes a scroller stop and look, double-tap, press share, and possibly add to their bag, according to the Nielsen Norman Group. The point is, with a picture you can include so much more information than with words and brands really need to invest in their visual assets online to have a recognizable digital presence. An impactful way to maximize the use of branded imagery, and prolong online presence, is by making use of the new phenomenon: mood board influencers. These influencers, also known as mood-boarders, have bubbled up in the last couple of years as an outcome of Instagram’s never-ending visual scroll. 

Content (combined with social-sharing) is king

Brands create content to gain visibility, increase brand awareness and help attract customers through a channel that isn’t focused directly on driving sales, says Mary Becker Marketing Director at the footwear brand Sperry. It’s useful to use an editorial mindset and put it towards an audience, writes Business of Fashion. We know that content and visual brand assets are important, but how do brands make the most of it? An answer to that, is to produce strong content with a clear branded aesthetic that can be shared and re-posted. In 2020, content is king, and people sharing a branded post will help your content stay on the throne. The new marketing asset, mood-boarders, are social-sharing experts and can increase your branded imagery’s lifespan. Mood boards prove that sharing pre-created content is a powerful marketing strategy.

 – Social-sharing means all the shares of one’s posted content on social media –

“When we click share,” explains social media expert Brian Carter, “we’re obviously saying “I like this so much, I wish I had created it myself. I want everyone I’ve connected with on social media to see it. I’m ok with my family, coworkers, supervisors, bosses and anybody else I’ve friended knowing that I like it”. 68% of people will share something because it aligns with who they are or who they want to be. Brands that succeed with social-sharing are those whose content ‘flies’, going viral online.

On Instagram an image has about 48 hours before it will no longer be shown in the feed. By then, 75% of all engagement is already commented or liked. Shares and reposts of content are what can prolong the lifespan and presence of a digital post. A new way of sharing pre-created content and curating it together in a squared feed on Instagram is when brands partner up with a new image sharing associate – mood-boarders.  

 

A new use for an old trick-of-the-trade

Traditionally, a mood board was a tool for creatives to capture a feeling, portray their aesthetics, and acted as a motif, the starting point of a design process. Fabrics, cut-outs from magazines and color samples were pinned to a corkboard. From 2011, Pinterest helped us create digital boards and pin our favorite images so we could carry around our own DIY mood boards, and we used them to show the hairdresser what we want to look like. Eventually, brands found their way onto the ideation platform that has the longest lifespan for posted content, up to 3 months. In 2016, Instagram launched the ‘save’ button so it was possible to collect our favorite posts in a private folder, in a kind-of-mood-board style.

With Instagram’s endless-scrolling capacity for its users, and with brands, creatives, and magazines moving their images online to give everyone access to enjoy their visuals, the mood board influencer was born. At first, it was for anonymous expression and shared inspiration, but with the rise of influencer marketing, the mood-boarders became another innovative possibility for marketers to get their brand and aesthetics out to the right audience. 

Moodboard influencers share already created and posted content, and put together a collection with the purpose to either educate, inspire or honor – or all three combined. The curation vs. creation approach is proving to pay off with the amount of followers and engagement that goes hand in hand with mood board influencers.

These accounts can represent sub-culture preferences and aesthetics with a niche interest, but in a limitless digital market. Brands can also easily spot what content has a viral capability, a tendency to trend, and what is being social-shared versus the content that is not shared. The problem that can occur is that these Instagram based mood boards are not controlled by the brands, it’s the curator behind the posts that have the power. This means that a brand’s visual assets – the content they are posting online – becomes of even higher value when you realize what social-sharing through mood board influencers can do for your content lifespan online.

 

How to speak “imagery”

So, how can brands speak “imagery” and take advantage of being shared and introduced to new audiences with fresh eyes through mood-boarders?

  • Brand characteristics, style and story should be able to be identified visually based on a simple picture, so the branded assets can go beyond their own account or logo. For example, Montana’s colorful storage and shelving solutions can easily be spotted in a feed without a caption.
  • High-quality photos need to be a given. If your images are low resolution, then the spectator might also think your products are of a low quality.
  • Open up and make visual brand assets accessible for industry insiders and your audience through a digital image bank. There is more about that in our article about the digital showroom boom.
  • Photo credit is not a joke. Follow these best practices and laws, because an original image is an intellectual and artistic property.  

Image: Montana Image Bank

The copyright aspect

When it comes to physical products, it is easy to understand what is who’s. When it comes to digital properties, however, the idea that everything online is public property is a common misunderstanding because it is so easy to screenshot and add the image in your own feed. Behind branded images are a production team, a marketing plan, and a budget. Moreover, the image came from professional people’s ideas and hard work. Therefore, reposting and sharing other’s work has to be done right. It is a protection and a safety net for both the one reposting, the mood-boarder, and the creator of the content, the brand. 

 

Sharing photos
If the platform has sharing features it’s typically accepted to share images within the platform.For example, reshares on Instagram stories are automatically credited to the creator, and the sharing action is only possible when someone has enabled those account permissions.

 

Reposting pictures in the feed
The best practice here is what copyright laws say, always ask for permission. This is an action required for both brands who want to feature UGC, user-generated content, and profiles that want to post other’s work in their own personal feed.
Instagram is very clear about this and states it in its community guidelines.
Everyone that has an Instagram account has agreed to it in their Terms of Use:


“Share only photos and videos that you’ve taken or have the right to share.
As always, you own the content you post on Instagram.
Remember to post authentic content, and don’t post anything you’ve copied or collected from the internet that you don’t have the right to post.

/
Instagram Community Guidelines, “The Long”.

 

Credit the image 
Crediting the image is not just a nice thing to do, it is a must since it could be a breach of the image copyright.It’s not enough to just tag the image owner in the image, preferably it should be written in the image caption. Writing “Source: Pinterest” for example, is a no-go since Pinterest did not actually produce the image.

 

Identify the image owner
Here’s a tip if you want to find the origin of an image: Google has a very helpful function calledsearch-by-image that can help you find the original source.
Visit Google Images and add the image URL to the search box or upload
a screenshot to discover the origin of your chosen photo.

 

This is not a full, in-depth guide to copyright law on Instagram.
For further information please read this educating article by Refinery29 or go onto Instagram’s page about copyright.

Summary 

Visual assets and content creation are taken as a given these days, and all brands have to be producers and be present online. Mood board influencers are a great collaborating partner if a brand wants to make their visual assets and created content last longer and have a wider reach beyond their own controlled channels online. Brands can take advantage of this digital marketing associate by making their visual assets available online, either through an image bank or a direct Instagram collaboration. Make sure that the content produced by your brand carries a recognizable story and aesthetic so that in a feed of beautifully curated imagery, the viewer can spot your brand and product right away.

 

 

Josefine is the Swedish Design & Fashion Researcher at VOCAST. When not working Josefine can be found studying communication at KEA, dancing to Abba music, or searching for Copenhagen’s finest vintage denim.

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Influencer Marketing: An ever-changing industry that is here to stay

Influencer Marketing: An ever-changing industry that is here to stay

Influencer Marketing: An ever-changing industry that is here to stay

As social media becomes more rooted in people’s lives and takes on other functional roles beyond communication, the aspect of what an influencer means is set to grow. Influencers will become key intermediates, connecting brands with consumers on social media in resonating, authentic ways that can deliver in returns as e-commerce and social media blend together. It is an industry that is just as changeable as it is a given in brands marketing mix these days. The definitions and trends of how to utilize this force is a necessity if a brand wants to stay relevant and connected in the future. 

Today, the word ‘influencer’ is a term widely spoken about and generally tends to be misunderstood. According to the Cambridge Dictionary the word influencer has two different definitions. The first is the origin of the word, and explains that a person of influence is someone that can affect or change the way other people behave. The second definition is the occupation most of us associate the word with, a person that is paid by a company to show and describe its product or services on social media, encouraging other people to buy them.

An influencer, aka a creative, content creator and entrepreneur, is a person with the skill and knowledge of creating content that can affect people’s behavior. I would say something like: Though some may not understand the phenomenon of influencer marketing, brand ambassadors have been proven to benefit said brands by working alongside professional creatives with entrepreneurial drive, loyalty and of course, influence. By 2022, influencer marketing is expected to rise from $8 billion in 2019 to a $15 billion market, writes Business Insider Intelligence, based on Mediakix Data. Collaborating with an influencer is also a way for brands to establish new trends, which you can read more about in our previous DNA of trends article.

The ideas “reach” or “niche” are two factors to consider when deciding on what influencer to work with. Before making that decision, a brand needs to find out who their audience is, where they rank on socials and what aligning values are key drivers in the future partnership. Those components will determine if it is a successful collaboration or not. We at VOCAST have gathered ongoing and future trends when it comes to influencer marketing, that was embarking before the pandemic and also the changes that have been made in the light of Covid-19.

Vocabulary

 

Nano-Influencer
A niche influencer that could have less than 1,000 followers

Micro-Influencer
An influencer with a following from 3,000 – 100,000

Macro-Influencer
An influencer with a following from 100,000 and more

Collaboration
The action of working with someone to produce something, a partnership

Engagement rate
A metric that measures the level of engagement that a piece of created content receives from an audience (likes, comments, shares) 

Authentic
Of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine. The
quality of being real or true

CGI
Computer-Generated Imagery 

Niche
Interesting to, aimed at, or affecting only a small number of people

Alignment
An agreement between a group of people who want to work together because of shared interests

Spotted trends before Covid-19


Nano-influencers with professional access and passionate artistic skills

In the beginning of the influencer boom, a large following was the most important factor, but today the market is saturated and filled with paid, fake followers which has led to distrust from followers towards influencers with big numbers. Then, brands turned their attention to micro-influencers that have about 3,000 to 100,000 followers. As the request for authenticity got stronger, the new person holding influence is the Nano-influencer, which could have a following of fewer than 1,000 people. This genre of influencer has a high impact on their community, has a strong recommendation power and generally has a higher engagement rate on Instagram (7,2%) than micro and macro-influencers. 

But why is that? According to Influencer Marketing Hub, it’s important to select an influencer that operates in the same social space as your audience as well as having the same values and culture, preferably with an expert position in their niche field. Some nano-influencers are industry professionals who just share what they actually work with and use the products in a genuine environment that is expert-approved. This is common in the field like cosmetics, athletics and interior design, says Amine Rahal, guest writer at Forbes. Kati Chirakorn at Vogue Business writes about the up and coming influencer-editor, who are editors working at popular magazines and have a big network and followers, consisting of both retailers and customers. 

The other side of nano-influencers are passionate and skilled people. To work with people with a passion like stylists, photographers, designers, sculptors, dancers, writers and musicians helps brands tap into micro-cultures where the person is an advocate with their own values, creating out of pure passion and interest. It is important to have the common niche audience align with both the brand narrative and the influencer narrative for a powerful and value-adding effect. 


New deals that are data-driven

Partnerships between a creator and a brand will see more pay per performance-based deals in 2020 like pay-per-click, pay-per-sale or pay-per-view according to Forbes Agency Council. With this data-driven approach, metrics will have a bigger impact on the decision-making process when it comes to starting a new partnership with a content creator or signing a long-term contract. Since brands spend a lot of their budget on influencer marketing, they need to validate what they get for their money hence data is a new focal point, for both parts. With this trend bort parts need to practice transparency and be honest about the goal or expectation when it comes to engagement, reach or ROI.


Expanding platforms 

According to Ismael El Qudsi, CEO at Social Publi, a leading influencer platform in 25 countries, Instagram is the biggest platform for influencer marketing today. Based on a study, 75% of 2,500 influencers ranked the channel as the top platform to carry out their business on. But with a younger generation leading the way on social media, new channels like TikTok and Twitch are emerging. Brands need to know where their audience spends time and who they look to for influence when it comes to promoting new products.


From looking to listening

Since a profile online has about 2,7 seconds to grab someone’s attention, immediate attention through video is crucial for getting a message across. Facebook Live, IGTV and Youtube are all visual tools that have proven to be successful for both influencers and brands and by 2021 video will represent 80% of all internet traffic, compared to 67% in 2016. Video includes the best out of two worlds for maximized storytelling, audio and moving imagery.

Audio and specifically podcasts is another niche market that is increasing in popularity and expanding its user base. With a podcast, the brand or influencer comes closer to their audience and communicates in a less formal way which breaks down barriers and a deeper relationship is established. 27% of all Americans, that is 73 million people, listen to podcasts monthly, with 85% of them finishing or almost finishing each episode. They are a great communication tool for a brand to highlight features, success stories and the brand’s benefit’s by collaborating with a niche podcaster.


Virtual influencers

Lindsay Dodgson at the Insider says it is still a bit uncertain where this trend will go, but along with technology like AI, people are fascinated by so-called 3D art CGI influencers. This is a form of futuristic influencer marketing that brands should consider. These influencers are fiction and computer-generated personas who have realistic characteristics and personalities of humans. Brands and individuals with a skilled mind for technology are behind these creations and they are the ones managing their partnerships with brands and Instagram accounts. Two CGI influencers to have a look at are Lil Miquela (2,3 M followers) who attends red carpets and has collaborated with Prada and Shudu (201K followers) who was the first digital supermodel. 


Co-creators and communication experts

The influencer market has matured over the years and has equipped experienced storytellers and communicators who know how to engage an audience in a genuine and personal fashion. Ismael El Qudsi explains that the role of the classical influencer is evolving from a “pose as a salesperson with a product” partnership,to being an actively important associate in consulting and shaping campaigns as a co-creator alongside the brand. “Since they are social media experts this can help support brands in strategically navigate their social channels and engagement”, further explains El Qudsi. 

Another expert in the field is the platform, Instagram. They’ve been a part of creating and shaping the influencer market as it is today. Instagram’s new “Branded Content Ads tool” allows a business to “share their story from a creator’s point of view and use the authentic content in their ads”. This means that a brand can share and promote a creator’s post in stories and peoples’ feed as an ad, reaching beyond the creator’s own followers. This will give Instagram an even more important role as a third party in the relationship brand-creator.

Spotted trends in effect of
Covid-19


From employee to brand ambassador

This trend was spotted even before the outbreak of covid-19 but escalated during the pandemic. Employees on all levels are hidden in-house experts and a loyal asset in troubling times. It has also been shown that there is 8 times the engagement on the content featuring and created by employees shared on brand channels than other posts. Featuring employees gives a behind the scene affect that aligns with the transparency approach requested by consumers. GANNI is a brand utilizing this by featuring its staff wearing favourite pieces and utilising #GANNIWFH. By showing that the product is suitable for the current situation, the employees become ambassadors and a familiar face to the brand’s audience. This also builds on the image of being transparent. 

The realization of long-term partnerships

Forbes Agency Council talks about brands realising that short-term partnerships won’t get them the same kind of advocacy and trust-building that a long-term partnership with the right influencer will generate. This has proven very true in a season of crises like covid-19 placed the world in. A brand that could benefit from these partnerships is the Danish fashion brand Stine Goya. The brand has built a house of Goya-friends over the years, and in a reality where social distancing is dictating content creation, a brand with a lot of loyal friends does not struggle as much as a brand without. Stine Goya received a lot of support on social media and had a full house of loyal friends to help them create interesting and authentic content to share during these uncertain times.  

A is for Authenticity

While having brand employees and collaborating partners stuck at home with no place to go, the only thing to do was to open the lens to influencers homes, press “live” and make the private and sacred place called home, public. This has shown a new side of influencers when their followers have been invited into the bathroom for a sheet-mask session, the living-room for a 15-minute workout or the kitchen, making food together but apart. 

The classic influencer lifestyle with sponsored travels and sparkling events haven’t just been canceled, it has become irrelevant in the light of an ongoing pandemic. This “naked” and forced approach has sparked creativity for both brands and influencers and has led the way to more authentic partnerships being sealed. A match between brand and creator, made as a mutual adoration of each other’s skills, designs and talents. A close and organic relationship can help and works as a safety net that “can drive conversion even when ads aren’t running as normal” – says Kaleigh Moore at Vogue Business.

Industry perspective 

 

 

Eleonora Milella
@eleonoramilella
Micro-influencer from Turin, Italy.
Digital content creator.
Does collaborations with several Italian fashion and beauty brands

 

 

 

 

 

Victoria Bond
@victoriabond007
London based Make-Up Artist.
Industry professional.
Have been featured in British Vogue, Elle, L’Officiel

 

 

 

Have you noticed any changes in how brands approach you in the last couple of years?

 

Eleonora: “The most evident difference in fashion brands’ approach to us content creators, is undoubtedly linked with the authenticity and spontaneity of the content creation process: Brands are no longer giving guidelines, but instead leave it to the creators to express and narrate the stories in the way he/she thinks is best. It’s precisely based on these ways of being and communicating that brands choose who to work with on social media.”

Victoria:My relationships with brands tend to be organic. I will have worked with them for many years as a makeup artist and built up a strong relationship. I have noticed that more brands want authenticity and industry professionals. I think this is because the general public are realising that influencers are paid to say they like a product so don’t feel it’s genuine. Obviously this isn’t always the case but does tend to be the norm.”

 

When you create content for brands on social media, have you experienced a shift in audience engagement?

 

Eleonora: Linking back to the answer of the previous question, my followers have never asked me to change: I’ve chosen to gradually adopt a less “polished” approach to content, such as more authentic photos with imperfections, which then have received appreciation. In this way, I insert a product in an authentic context linked to everyday life. I think this approach has reached a peak now “thanks” to the times that we’re living: we found ourselves stuck in our homes without seeing the world that surrounds us, still having to use our minds to create. And what better location to narrate our everyday lives than our houses?!”

Victoria: “I think it’s harder to engage an audience. Instagram has a tendency to tinker with algorithms although if I’m honest I don’t know what that means. I just know it’s hard to get content seen to a wider audience. Any content I do create is purely because I think the products are great and I want to share the love/knowledge. I don’t receive any payments for this only products which are for my kit. Any products I recommend are tried and tested first on multiple people so I know it works!”

 

What does the future hold for you? Are you optimistic about what the influencer industry has to hold for creatives and artists?

 

Eleonora: “In the future I hope to continue to work in this industry, I find it stimulating and full of challenges. I’m optimistic because I believe there is always room for creativity and communication. We all want to feel inspired and inspire, and this industry allows us to do so.”

 

Victoria: “I think it might be the return of the expert rising like a Phoenix from the fire. A lot of professional Makeup Artists have been ignored or overlooked by some brands in favour of ‘influencers’ without a professional background. Although I definitely think there’s room for everyone as I do understand that an non expert can speak to people too. I just worry that their content can be technically incorrect and can lead to worrying trends. They also put on far too much makeup which is really misleading to the average woman looking for advice!”

 

Say whatever you want, influencer marketing is a creative asset for brands that’s here to stay. The role, format and expression, as we know it, will change as technology, social media platforms and the audiences’ demands and values evolve. But, the benefits from having a communicative expert and a friendly face connected to your brand will build vital interacting relationships. Consider digging into up and coming nano-influencers, videos on TikTok and long-term creative partnerships to stay up to date and relevant with future marketing initiatives. 

 

Image credit: Unsplash

 

 

Josefine is the Swedish Fashion & Design Researcher at VOCAST. When not working Josefine can be found studying design technology at KEA, dancing to Abba music, or practicing the art of creativity. 

 

 

Our lifestyle researchers constantly create and update curated lists with handpicked media, experts and high profile contacts from the fashion, home interior and lifestyle industries in 10 different markets. We provide contacts from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, The UK, The US, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and Italy.

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Vogue Scandinavia

Vogue Scandinavia

This August, the highly anticipated Vogue Scandinavia was launched. Comprising a whole region, the edition covers the Nordic countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. The magazine aims to be an emblem of modern Nordic fashion, combining elements from...

Combine your products with a culinary story

Combine your products with a culinary story

Combine your products with a culinary story

Imagine a late Sunday morning, a table with fresh flowers, the paper and with amazing sunlight highlighting the beautiful wooden surface. Served, are two perfect lattes, where the latte art almost makes you chill out of pure perfection.

The plates that follow have food straight from heaven loaded on them. Rye bread with avocado sliced in symmetric pieces, greek yogurt with fresh berries and homemade granola. Oh, the granola. Scrambled eggs, bacon and a plate of pancakes in a symphony with all that is wonderful and sweet. The glasses, cups, and china awake the appetite and transfers you right to the set table.

The only thing a sane person would want to do at this point is to dig in and enjoy the masterpiece that is set before them. But, it is just an image in the feed. 

Instagram opened the door for a new kind of art to be added to the daily feed. The art of food. Styled and combined with beautiful china in a setting that gives the plate a story. Presenting kitchen utensils with a narrative brings out the flavor and taste through the screen which lets it resonates with its engaged audience. Kitchen accounts attract and invite everyone to be a part of the experience. Which also makes the products in the photo easy to connect with and more desirable. 

The food styling genre was an obvious self-made category to blossom when SoMe became a bigger part of our lives. What should we post if not our food? Since everyone can relate to the experience. It’s a big part of who we are and for a brand, it’s a golden opportunity to showcase personality and invite your followers to the table with you to share your brand story.

For a foodie (a serious food enthusiast) it’s a given to not just buy new porcelain from watching a raw product image. It needs something more. Because brands today don’t just wanna have customers buying products, they want a loyal relationship with their users and storytelling is one efficient way to do so.

After scanning through the web and reading several blog posts about culinary styling we have boiled it all down to three things to think about when you to tell your brand story on the table. Factors you, as a brand, can think about when it comes to using your products combined with food.

 

1. Tell a story

People need context to be able to relate to the image you are serving them. Trigger an emotional connection so they want to be a part of your dinner party. Using different surfaces can help determine where the tray with pizza is eaten. The props you use will reveal what season we are in and the usage of lighting tells the audience if we’re having pancakes for breakfast or dinner. This will indicate in what context the products can be used.

Who do you want to share your new collection of glasses with? That will determine what story to build up a set for. If you want to communicate to a family with kids, adding some chaos to the image with spilled milk on the table or show that your cutlery can stand a toddler by photographing a child’s hands holding the spoon can contribute to those personality features. 

In 2019 we also focus a lot on imperfection, so don’t be afraid to let the creative process and the work of getting there be a part of the finished product. It gives a sense of authenticity and also welcomes the viewer into the kitchen and not just to a perfect dining-room. The table cloth doesn’t have to be perfectly ironed. Show details of items being used where life happens.

A brand can think of the combination of food and products like an invitation. You want your audience to come and share a meal with you. And when they do, they will most likely wanna use your products.

 

2. Use textures

A picture today needs to pop. Since we’re constantly fed new impressions a picture only has two seconds to catch the viewer’s attention. A monochrome picture won’t catch anyone’s eye. That’s why the use of different textures can be a tool to grab the viewer by the eye-balls. It can add depth to your photo by thinking about the camera angle you use.

If you’re photographing a tray for example, maybe a flatlay image would be the best angle to portrait what you can use the tray for. A bowl’s best angle is probably a portrait to capture depth and details. Is it a very colorful vase you’re photographing a plain table cloth is the best styling to make your product the hero of the image. Is it your colorful saucepan you want to sell through your photo? Serve food that lacks color. Just add some herbs for the yumminess factor. Or when using colorful objects, bringing out that same color can add to your image or create contrast by adding another color to illustrate a combination that is tempting for the eye.

If you’re selling porcelain, a beautiful plate for example, add a portion of glorious carbonara in it. And for some characteristics, add some parmesan circling the plate, use cutlery that has lived through decades, linen napkins to add softness as sides and place the plate in a setting that resonates with the authenticity of Italy. This is where you as a brand can share your product’s story depending on how you style your images. Make sure that everything that is in frame highlight the main character in your styling.

 

3. Serve a statement 

What we choose to serve on our plates does make a statement. Does your brand have standpoints when it comes to climate change? Is it okay to feature a steak when styling a dinner setting? Is your audience aware of what they eat so you should serve a lot of vegetables that are in season and that are locally produced? Hopefully, these choices will build on the positive image of your products.

Think of what kind of lifestyle your audience has. If you are a ceramic designer what do you want your creations to be associated with? Will placing a glass of wine next to our kettle in an autumn kitchen setting engage with our market?

There are a lot of factors that can be translated through the styling of a table and what is served with the products. Collaborations between designers, food enthusiasts, and stylists can help build interesting stories around the product. A story that will replay itself in several kitchens this season when brands make new friends and products find new homes. Bon appetit!

 

Fast facts

  • The most popular food hashtag is #foodporn with more then 214 million posts connected to it. Other useful hashtags are #foodart, #foodie and #feedfeed.
  • Pizza and sushi are the most featured dishes on Instagram 2019.
  • 60 % of all instagram users encounter new products through the platform.
  • The most common angle for food photography is the flatlay, which gives you a good overview amf fun perspective.
  • Belove you can find two professionals when it comes to food styling and set design for kitchenware. Click on to their accounts and prepare to be inspired.

 

@nourish_atelier

Nina Olsson is a plant-based chef and author of the best selling cookbook “Bowls of Goodness”. She regularly contributes to food and travel magazines and creates recipes for books and clients. Nina is an award-winning creative and photographer, developing content, and consulting for eco-conscious and plant based businesses. 

 

@signebay

Signe Bay is a stylist, photographer and creative director and oftentimes described as a ‘visual storyteller’ and ‘atmosphere magician’. Her strong aesthetic sense has a certain Nordic feel to it—using both the warmth and the cold of the Scandinavian light to create atmospheres ranging from happiness and joy to a certain melancholy and reflection on life itself. 

 

 

 

Josefine is the Swedish design and fashion researcher at VOCAST. Besides working as a researcher she studies Design, Business and Technology in Copenhagen where she explores the interesting art of storytelling.

 

Our researchers have build an e-mail list and handpicked media, experts and profiles, with the most relevans within the gastronomy industry in Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and Sweden. Nina and Signe from this blogpost can be found in the Swedish and Danish list of contacts.

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