Influencers in PR, or a key point in Victoria’s Secret’s success

London is freezing these days. But I don’t hate it because it’s cold, but because of the fact that it’s 14, 15 degrees Celsius in the morning, then dramatically drops to 1, 2 at night, it is so annoying (and dangerous too!) Today, someone mentioned about the role of influencers in PR strategy during our morning session. Then it made me think of Victoria’s Secret and how they successfully using this tactic to promote their brand (yeah, you think about lingerie when it’s cold!)

First of all, the influencers, how could they become beneficial to our brand? In one article on PRWeek, New Era’s senior manager Mitch Mirsky said “Gen Z (young generation) would rather hear from a friend or someone they find entertaining, as opposed to directly from a brand. Instead of beating our chest about how great we are, which is probably a turnoff for that younger generation, we are harnessing folks who can authentically speak to our brand, who are already wearing our stuff, and having them speak on our behalf.” (PRWeek, 2016) This seemed to be the perfect explanation to the question above. Influencers are now becoming more and more important, especially to campaigns with the main targets are the millennials.

However, knowing that the influencers are important does not always mean that we can choose the perfect influencers for our brand. Let us not talk about the consequences when we wrongly choose the ambassador for our brand (look at Calvin Klein’s underwear ad), but only focus on how our brand could get success by getting the suitable ones.AP_Victorias_Secret_Ad_ml_150121_12x5_1600

Victoria’s Secret (VS) is the perfect example for this. VS always promote their product lines along side with the activities of their models. With VS, hiring a model is not about just a “one-runway-stand” or “one-campaign-stand” thing, we can see Candice, Adriana, Alessandra in their campaigns years after years, and then at the end of each year, we see them again, walking on VS shows without being replaced by new faces, even though models market are changing rapidly. On youtube, the angels like Lais, Behati, Sara…are promoted as athletes. They train, run, rope jump as hard as a professional fighter. One their facebook or instagram, they always post photos or videos about their healthy lifestyles (what they eat, how they train to have the bodies that they’re having…) In real life, it’s hard to find a piece of news or gossip about one angel doing drugs or having a bad habit that might harm their health or VS’s reputation. In another word, the models make girls want to follow them, want to be like them (and I want to be their…well…friend!)

The-Victoria-Secret-Fashion-show-2014-101Actually, there was one article digging into the success of Victoria’s Secret 2 years ago, and they did point out some key elements that made this brand famous as today (captivating female customers, uniting stores with online, paying attention to international markets), but I think there’s something missing here. Influencers or the Angels must be one of the key things that help build the success of VS. Without the trademarks that all the models self-promote along the way while working with VS (and even after retiring like Heidi, Gisele and Miranda), I doubt that VS could have the success that they’re having today. As Ed Razek (Executive Producer of VS Show) said “I can’t imagine what VS would have been without these girls, the reputation that they made is incalculable” in the VS show 2 years ago in London, the angel did mean something to VS’s success.

P.S: And by the way, I don’t buy Calvin Klein undies no more, because I don’t think Justin Bieber is the good influencer that I want to follow. There! I said it! Influencer counts!


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