BBC Breaking Fashion: Harnessing the power of influencers

The new BBC Three series set within the offices of Salford-based company In The Style provides a glimpse inside the world of ultra-fast fashion and the role influencer marketing has played in the company’s success.

Image Source: BBC.co.uk

Founded by 32-year old Adam Frisby in 2013, today In The Style is a £40 million turnover company, with a clear strategy of utilising influencers and celebrities to drive sales through social.

We binged our way through the first five episodes at fast fashion speed, here are our key take outs:

Know your audience and who they follow

“People want to look like celebrities. They want to look like influencers and if you get the right influencer attached to your brand for the right reason, it can be massive.”  – CEO Adam

 It may seem obvious but when you choose the right people that align with your brand, influencer marketing can be highly effective.

Adam knows his audiences inside out, he knows when they shop, what they’re into and the type of influencers that inspire them.  In the Style collaborate with a mix of influencers to promote different product ranges and appeal to a range of target consumers. From high-end fashionista’s like Lorna Luxe to super-relatable party girl Lottie Tomlinson, they ensure they have all bases covered and reach the most relevant audiences at the right times.

Fashion shoots are not one big jolly

From the outside looking in, a trip to a luxury villa in Cannes might sound like a great way to spend 48 hours, however, as Breaking Fashion proved, fashion shoots are often highly pressurised and rarely straightforward.

As Adam pointed out in episode one, a single good photo can be the difference between selling thousands of units or not selling a single unit, so the importance of getting ‘the shot’ can have a huge impact on sales results.

As it proved in the Emily Atack episode, where poor weather and internet trolls affected the quality of the images and Emily’s confidence and desire to share them. After making the decision to reshoot, the result was vastly different with Emily sharing loads of content and sales rocketing.

Plain and simple, shoots are hard work, but by ensuring every eventuality is planned for and talent feel comfortable and happy, the rewards can be great. 

Percentage of sale is a winning formula

As Adam openly admits in an early episode, In The Style are not as competitive as many rival brands when it comes to paying upfront fees to talent. They instead base their approach around affiliate marketing with influencers earning a percentage of sales of the overall product range.

This strategy is not only potentially more lucrative in the long run for the talent involved, but also means that they’re inherently more invested in the product they’re promoting, putting the onus on them to wear different items in the public eye and capture the best content for their audience – almost becoming an extension of the brand’s sales team.

Collaboration is king

Influencers know their audience better than anyone, it’s therefore no surprise that when a brand works closely with an influencer and provides them with the opportunity to input on the creative approach and style of the shoot, it results in stronger output and leads to higher sales.

This was the case with the Dani Dyer swimwear shoot. The creative lead worked closely with her in the lead up to the shoot day ensuring her ideas were incorporated into the shoot. This collaborative approach proved invaluable, enhanced the quality of the final output and helped in driving near £1million in sales, a record for the brand.

Brands need to take a closer look at fast fashion

Although Adam suggets In The Style challenge issues around sustainability by ensuring as little stock as possible gets wasted, it’s hard to argue that the current model of low-cost glamour at high speed is doing much to reduce fashion’s carbon footprint.

According to a recent government report, consumers in the UK are buying twice as many items of clothing as they did in 2009, with 300K tonnes of clothes sent to British landfills per year.

With alarming statistics like these helping to raise awareness of the environmental cost of fast fashion, the onus is on more fashion brands to take action and make sustainable changes to the way they produce, manufacture and transport clothing.

There is a growing appetite from consumers to buy sustainably, but with brands such as In The Style thriving in this highly disposable, low cost industry, will we see fast fashion brands step forward and lead the fight to protect the planet?