Understanding The Benelux and how to collaborate with its influencers
Forget about Scandinavia – at least for the moment. The Benelux (an aggregation of the first letters of Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg) is an area good for 29 (1) million people, five languages and a long, partly shared heritage. The Benelux is in 12.5 times smaller than Scandinavia but has 8 million more inhabitants, making it a compact and diverse market worth considering for your next media venture. Curious as to how you can collaborate best with these social media influencers? Search no more! We’ve got all the insight and more when you continue reading below.
For starters, leave the word Benelux out
While the word Benelux is often used in Scandinavia, our experts living within the Benelux region cannot say the same. We spoke with Belgian blogger Julie Geilenkirchen and Dutch Instagram Influencer, Hanneke Tsujimaru. Julie would, “advise looking at Belgium as a separate country with different benchmarks. It is easier to look at the Belgian market separately since the influencer market is super distinct from The Netherlands or Luxembourg. There is even a huge difference between the Flemish-speaking and French-speaking part of Belgium.”
What Julie is referring to is the Belgian landscape that is segmented between the Northern (Flanders) and Southern (Wallonia) parts as a result of cultural and linguistic differences (2). Flemish is a Dutch dialect and Wallonian is a French dialect. Flanders is, therefore, more connected with The Netherlands and Wallonia with France. This is directly visible in the print media landscape where a lot of publications operate within the two countries where the same language is shared.
Hanneke has a broader perspective on how Scandinavian brands can best approach influencers like her in the Benelux “it’s important to stay close to your own preferences and style. Supporting a brand that does not match will not give the best creative output.” Furthermore, Julie advises for brands to not look at the big numbers so much “since in Belgium it is unrealistic having 100K followers (true followers – not bought, there is a lot of those here in Belgium)”. She adds “Scandinavian brands have nice aesthetics, I would advise to look at the match with the influencer based on aesthetics rather than numbers”. What about the term Benelux? Is the term relevant? Hanneke says: “I actually don’t think that’s very important. I have followers from all over the world that also inspire me with their view and vision on style and products.”
Talking aesthetics, Benelux versus Scandinavia
When thinking of the hash tags #scandichic, #scandiliving or #gannigirls, most of us already have a great picture in our head as to what constitutes the Scandinavian aesthetic, both in interior and fashion. The Benelux, on the other hand, cannot be described aesthetically with the same ease.
In Belgium, for example, Julie explains that people “are quite conservative and need to see a trend on opinion leaders first, to see how they combine it with their style. Whereas Scandi girls are much more experimental and daring.” According to Hanneke, “Scandinavia is a bit ahead of Benelux. That’s why I love Scandinavian brands so much. Mostly very sophisticated. And fashion wise it’s the combination of minimal and clean, with bright colours and prints, very Scandinavian and very cool.”
Influencer marketing in the three countries
Each country has its own influencer marketing demands and peculiarities. What are the differences within the Benelux and what is helpful to know for collaborations? Below you will find a short comparison between fashion & lifestyle Instagram influencers in Belgium, Luxembourg and The Netherlands.
- Starting off with Belgium, it is the second most engaged market of all three countries. The average fashion & lifestyle Instagram influencer in Belgium has 11.413 followers with a 7% engagement rate, and (3) covering a total of 23 categories. (4)
- Luxembourg is the smallest and least engaged market of all three. The average fashion & lifestyle Instagram influencer in Luxembourg has 9,574 followers and 6% engagement.(5) Luxembourgian influencers cover a total of 9 categories.(6)
- Lastly, The Netherlands has the largest and most engaged media market. 13,390 (7) followers are the average number of followers for fashion & lifestyle influencers in the Netherlands, with an engagement of 8%, (8) covering 30 categories.
Benelux historical facts
The Benelux is often used to describe The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg both geographically as well as for efficiency. It is also an intergovernmental partnership between the three countries. The Benelux was established in 1944 during the Second World War as a customs union. In 1958 the customs union resulted in the Benelux Economic Union, which entailed a broadening and deepening of the economic cooperation. A new Benelux Treaty was signed on June 17, 2008. From then on, cooperation will focus on three core themes: internal market & economic union, sustainable development and justice & home affairs. (9)
Meet the Experts
Self-proclaimed ‘fashion-enthusiast’, Julie Geilenkirchen is the face behind the blog A Cause des Brunettes. She started the blog at 19 years old during her bachelor’s degree in communication and continued her education with a master’s in strategic communication. Today, Julie works as a PR Consultant at Coopr alongside blogging.
With a clear signature style, visual addict Hanneke approaches both fashion and interior design as identifiable. Whether is be renovation sneak peeks of her dream house, style-shots, her sons, or her beautiful travels, everything she captures has the same eye for detail and style.
Our Dutch Researcher has build an e-mail list and handpicked influencers, with the most relevant within the fashion and design spheres in Luxembourg, The Netherland and Belgium. Including Hanneke and Julie from this article. Why not take a step towards the Benelux market with your marketing strategy? Read more about our Influencer Network here.
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