We are proud to announce that Kiehl’s and Traackr were awarded Best Influencer Campaign for Beauty by Glossy’s inaugural awards in Europe, which recognizes the companies transforming the European fashion and beauty industries.
The winning campaign focused on how to build long-term, authentic influencer relationships that contribute to bottom line objectives. It’s an insightful tale of how influencer marketing impacts revenue, especially when you don’t lose sight of the relationship. Here’s how the Kiehl’s UK team made it happen!
Long-term Influencer Relationships Pay Off for Product Launches
In March 2019, Kiehl's reintroduced one of its best sellers, the Ultra Facial Cream to the UK market with an improved formula and new clinical claims. The new campaign was aimed at current customers and attracting a wider audience of women who were looking for a hardworking, everyday moisturizing cream. This launch was one of the key campaigns and brand moments for Kiehl's in 2019.
For the campaign, the Kiehl's team wanted to select an influencer for a paid partnership to promote the product, but wanted to ensure the collaboration was authentic and reached the right audience to drive sales. Kiehl's partnered with Anna Newton, a UK-based lifestyle blogger and content creator with a long history of organic brand love for Kiehl's. While Kiehl's had collaborated with Anna Newton in the past, this campaign was the first partnership that covered multiple deliverables.
Prior, all collaborations were either solo paid posts, organic, product seeds, influencer trips (travel covered, but not paid content). The campaign consisted of multichannel content: Instagram posts and stories, a SEO-minded blog post with shoppable links and a 48-hour discount code exclusive to Anna’s followers. All content was repurposed on Kiehl’s channels – email, social and online.
Authenticity Drives Conversions
With this campaign, Kiehl's was laser focused on demonstrating that authentic influencer advocates can drive conversions. The brand had spent several years building a relationship with Anna Newton. Now, with their first 360 paid partnership, the objective was to test how long-term relationship building translates into business results. These were the two main campaign goals:
- Create launch content that resonates with the target market and raises awareness for the new product formula.
- Achieve positive ROI by driving purchases directly from the influencer’s content (social, email, blog).
Influencer selection was crucial to the success of the campaign. Kiehl's uses Traackr, to discover, evaluate and measure the performance of influencers. For this campaign, Anna was chosen because she matched several criteria: demonstrated organic love for the brand and product, relevant audience demographics, strong engagement in past campaigns.
The Kiehl’s team understood that in order to drive sales from influencer content, it was essential to maintain authenticity. This was achieved by selecting an influencer with a track-record of strong brand performance when mentioning Kiehl’s organically, providing the influencer with creative autonomy and leveraging more than one year of relationship building.
The Ultra Facial Cream launch was a huge success, driven by Anna Newton’s content. First and foremost, the influencer campaign achieved a 40% return on investment in the 48 hours after launch, which exceeded expectations for the campaign. Sales were driven from the discount code posted on Anna’s Instagram, as well as via her blog post and in the Kiehl’s email featuring Anna’s content. Anna’s content mentioning the Ultra Facial Cream product during the campaign earned a 48% higher engagement rate than any of her previous product mentions, signaling high quality content that resonated with the audience.
At its heart, this campaign is an example of how impactful influencer marketing can be, but only when the brand takes a long-term, strategic approach to influencer relationship management. Anna’s campaign helped to drive the Ultra Facial Cream to become Kiehl’s no1 best-selling product in the UK.
“Our successful campaign with Anna Newton demonstrate that when brands invest in building long-term relationships with influencers who organically love their products and who have audience aligned with the buyer persona, the business results are tangible,” says Nisha Grace Smith, Communications Manager, Kiehl’s. “These results may not happen often if you simply pay influencers for one-off campaigns.”