Are Influencer Collaborations Risky for Business?
For the past decade, the beauty industry has experience a resurgence in customer interaction and interest. The Youtube beauty culture has been a large help in how the industry has changed. Reviews and tutorials have saturated the internet with information on brands and their products. This interaction eventually laid the foundation for influencer collaborations with Youtubers and bloggers. Now, brands are getting more exposure than ever, virtually free advertising to potential customers. Even though this may seem like a positive, it takes a lot of work to maintain a brand while introducing another face into the mix.
Incidents like Youtuber Laura Lee’s racist tweets resurfacing from 2012 can alter an audience’s perception of a company. Her “apology” video negatively impacted her personal brand as well. Many felt that she was not genuine, and only doing damage control. SocialBlade shows her losing close to 600 thousand subscribers in the last 30 days. Along with those fans, she lost partnerships with Ulta, Boxycharm, DIFF Eyewear. She was also removed from the Morphe “Extended Family”,despite the fact that Jeffree Star has remained in that category given his history with racism.
Those companies saw fit to remove themselves from Lee, despite what her brand could have done for them financially. CEO of Boxycharm released a video openly saying that his company does not approve, nor will tolerate that behavior. Ulta released a statement as well, detaching themselves from the influencer.
How can companies avoid backlash from their audiences when it comes to beauty gurus with shady pasts? Some brands may not have a thorough vetting process, aside from assessing the social media impact of an influencer.
Can the beauty industry make statements through their branding like Nike? How would their audience receive a politically motivated campaign?