Regardless of the size of your brand, actively building brand awareness is the key to your success. An effective and popular way to increase visibility among your target market is by using influencers. Because smaller companies and early-stage brands usually have a limited budget for things like this, it is even more important to choose the right influencer and make sure it is money well spent.
Marlow London is an environmentally and socially-conscious brand created by Chloe Marlow. For Chloe, it is extremely important that every project she undertakes and every partnership she builds aligns with the core values and messages embodied by the Marlow London brand. "Early on in the business, an opportunity arose to create a one-of-a-kind bag for what would have been my first major celebrity client," Chloe recalled, "Unfortunately, the client wanted the bag to feature a message that did not match up with Marlow London’s brand values. I was very uncomfortable using that message, and after a lot of agonizing, I ultimately turned down the opportunity." Looking back, as difficult of a decision as it was, Chloe maintains that it was the right one.
In addition to looking inward to her own values, to target the right influencers and partnerships for Marlow London, Chloe says she always begins by looking at her customers and asking the following questions:
Who are they?
What are they aspiring to?
Who do they follow on social media?
Which influencers and brands represent them?
Next, she focuses on value alignment. "You need to work with influencers that you yourself are excited about," she urged, "Build a genuine rapport with your partners, and only work with people who truly believe in what you are trying to achieve." While, in the past, Chloe had PR representatives meet with influencers to secure projects, she now insists on meeting partners personally, either face-to-face or on Zoom, before moving forward. "This person is the potential co-star in your campaign," she insisted, "Plus, no one is more passionate about your business than you are - and your passion sells!"
When it comes to making sure the relationship is both professional and pleasant, Chloe shared some more important tips. "Don't begin the collaboration until you have a written contract clearly outlining the agreed deliverables and partnership terms," she emphasized, "And make sure you keep the people you are working with updated throughout the project. The more involved, and invested they are in your success, the more likely they will be to comply."
Finally, Chloe puts a lot of importance on developing genuine, long-term relationships with people when building your brand. When she created Marlow London straight out of university, Chloe set out to truly connect with everyone with whom she worked, from suppliers and factories to buyers and press. "I created a tribe of supportive industry professionals who were passionate about the brand and its success," she gushed, "They wanted to tell other people about it, without me even asking them to. It really surprised me to see how the relationships we build early on can result in unexpected and amazing opportunities further down the line. So make sure you are kind, honest, and ALWAYS show appreciation!”