Case Study

Shiseido: Influencer Marketing Case Study

Learn the strategies and metrics Shiseido used to increase their influencer marketing success by 54%.
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Case Study
Shiseido: Influencer Marketing Case Study
How Shiseido developed a hyper-focused strategy that increased its influencer marketing success by 54% in one year.

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The Opportunity

The past few years have been a litmus test for the beauty industry. Brand teams had to use their skills in data analysis, experimentation, and strategic execution to find focus and adapt to challenges posed by the pandemic.

Shiseido was able to defy those odds, and even saw a growth in influencer marketing success in 2020. The key? The team found a way to translate key data and performance insights into strategic areas of focus.

To carry that momentum through 2021, Shiseido focused on building visibility, impact, and trust amongst key influencer populations and audiences. Here’s how they did it with the support of Traackr.

The Goals

The Shiseido team uses Traackr’s VIT Score as a framework for measuring the impact of content generated from its influencer marketing program. The VIT score is broken down into three categories that the Shiseido team tracks and actively sets goals against: visibility (reach of content), impact (engagement generated), and brand trust (quality of content on brand image).

“VIT was developed to accurately measure influencer marketing performance. An increase in VIT has been correlated with improvement in key performance indicators including engagement on owned social channels, website traffic and organic search.”
— Evy Lyons, CMO of Traackr

Shiseido’s overarching goal was to grow its overall VIT score in 2021, with an eye on continuing its success in the trust category, and improving its performance in the visibility and impact categories.

To achieve that goal, the brand team set specific objectives for 2021:

  • Prioritize video content
  • Execute experiential moments and events
  • Leverage on-brand VIP talent

The Strategy

As a first step, Shiseido used Traackr’s platform and professional services team to review the strengths and weaknesses of their 2020 strategy.

“We built our 2021 strategy by using Traackr to identify what drove the most VIT for us – so we knew what to keep doing – and for our competitors – so we could identify what new things to experiment with. Having that clear and actionable insight really helped us hyper- focus our team.”
— Erin Kelly, director of integrated communications and influencer engagement at Shiseido

Based on that analysis, the Shiseido team created specific campaigns for each of their objectives.

Objective: Prioritize Video Content

Using Traackr, the team evaluated content performance from 2020 and discovered that video content contributed significantly to the “visibility” portion of Shiseido’s VIT score. Based on that insight, the team shifted its 2021 strategy to involve more sponsored video content and include platforms like TikTok. Elements of success included:

Creative freedom

The brand recognized the necessity for creative freedom - especially in video content - so it encouraged influencers to create content in their tone, style, and wheelhouse.

Authentic product reviews

The Shiseido team leaned into authenticity, asking creators to speak with their unique voices when promoting products. Creative briefs focused on general asks like highlighting product texture, filming close-ups of packaging, and showing product application.

Hyper-focused influencer discovery

The Shiseido team felt it was critical to take a nuanced approach to influencer discovery. They added to their pre-existing influencer list by identifying folks who had high performing video content in relevant categories.

Objective: Execute experiential moments and events

Experiential moments had proven successful for Shiseido in the past. However, influencer events have become so popular that the team knew it was important to go big in 2021.

In July 2021 Shiseido hosted its third annual Malibu Beach House Event, with the goal of impacting every aspect (visibility, impact, and trust) of its VIT score.

In collaboration with long time PR Agency partner, Innovative PR (IPR) and founder Jennifer Betts, the brand activated a highly curated set of 165 influencers and press to participate in multiple experiences across 3 days. Elements of success included:

Influencer selection

Finding and partnering with the right influencers was key to success. Shiseido used Traackr to shortlist high-performing influencers that were loyal (paid and organic) and aligned with the brand. Getting this right was extra important because the influencers had bigger roles than previous years!

Tailored influencer-led experiences

Each experience was hosted by a VIP influencer and centered around a purpose-driven theme. For example, Adrian Grenier and Kat McPhee are known for their work in environmental activism so they hosted Shiseido’s Blue Project Beach Cleanup. Meanwhile, Rosie Acosta (a popular meditation instructor) led a guided meditation class that incorporated the power of scent using Shiseido’s Ultimune product. Shiseido brought on OCNY Event Production to produce the events, led by former Director of Production Operations, Samantha Cremona and Robbie Burns.

Shiseido influencer marketing
Photo credit: Jen Johnson, @jenjphoto

Platform experimentation

For this event, the Shiseido team also activated new, high-performing TikTok influencers based on recommendations from Traackr. For example, Traackr recommended inviting TikTok influencer, Tinx (@ itsmetinx), because she had a proven track record of successful campaigns with other premium skincare brands.

Objective: Leveraging on-brand VIP talent

The Shiseido team excels at analyzing what’s working for them and implementing new strategies to take advantage of opportunities for growth. In this case, they used Traackr to discover that VIP influencers earn the brand a lot of VIT. In 2020, the team wanted to expand their VIP partner roster, with the aim of making each selection as impactful as possible.

Enter: Hunter Schafer

In August 2020, the brand signed Hunter Schafer on as a category ambassador for makeup. At the time Hunter was still a macro influencer (858K followers), but based on a growth analysis with Traackr, Shiseido’s team knew she was a rising star. The team also loved Hunter’s bold red carpet looks and audience’s proclivity towards makeup artistry.

Fast forward to 2021, and Hunter is now a VIP influencer. Unlike other influencers of her size (who often lose momentum after a year or two) she is
still seeing buzz in traditional media outlets and her social media following and engagement rates are continuing to rise. Shiseido chose to expand their partnership, making Hunter a full brand ambassador. Pillars of success:

Analytical approach to partnerships

In 2020 and 2021 the team started using an analytical approach for selecting VIP partners. The team used Traackr to refine their selection based on attributes including brand affinity, audience demographics, and alignment of content/audience with brand themes and imagery. This strategy helped them identify Hunter as a potential partner.

Hunter Schafer x Shiseido Partnership

Upleveled creativity with makeup artists

Luxury brands and Gen Z influencer collaborations are often called out for being forced and hyper branded — Hunter Schafer and Shiseido are an exception. The Shiseido team made sure to partner closely with Hunter and her makeup artists, looking to both for creative direction. Shiseido’s collaborations with Hunter have been praised for being authentic, interesting, and continually evolving to feel “more like Hunter” over time. In fact, the highest performing collaboration to date was featuring Hunter’s 2021 Met Gala look, which earned a 47% engagement rate!

How Shiseido Uses Traackr

  • Influencer Discovery
  • Influencer Vetting
  • Campaign Management & Reporting
  • VIT Measurement
  • Team of Experts for Insights & Advice
“We haven’t had just one moment of success with Traackr, but rather many moments that have culminated in a program that continues to succeed. The Traackr team and platform have been instrumental in helping us build a data-led strategy.”
— Erin Kelly, director of integrated communications and influencer engagement at Shiseido

The Results

For its overarching goal, the Shiseido team truly hit it out of the park. It was able to increase its VIT by 54% in 2021, placing it in the 93rd percentile in regards to year-over-year growth.

Shiseido Influencer Marketing Results
Shiseido's VIT Influencer Marketing Growth Breakdown

Shiseido’s 2021 VIT success was absolutely driven by its team’s ability to hyper-focus on a few specific objectives. Here are those objectives and how the team performed on each:

Shiseido Influencer Marketing Results
Shiseido's Influencer Marketing Performance Results

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