Influencers and brands can be strange bedfellows but there’s nothing odd about the bottom-line results that the right partnerships can yield.
Take face-tattooed rapper Post Malone, whose red-hot one-off collaboration with Crocs sold out in 10 minutes and helped power the original ugly shoe brand to $261.1 million in third-quarter revenue, 7.3 percent higher than the previous year’s results. Toddlers and family vacations to Disney World might be what first comes to mind when you think of “Crocs,” but in recent years, the ugly shoe movement has seen high-end labels like Balenciaga and Christopher Kane send “luxury” Crocs down the runway.
Malone bedecked the classic Crocs Dmitri silhouette with his “devilishly awesome” spin and custom Jibbitz—the brand-specific “charms” that stick into the Croc’s signature perforations—riffing off the celebrity’s “Stay Away” tattoo and Posty Co logo. The shoe retailed for $59.99 through the Crocs website.
From all accounts, the “odd couple” collaboration started organically. The casual shoe company said Malone caught their attention when he tweeted “U can tell a lot about a man by the Jibbitz in his Crocs.”
Crocs is no stranger to collabs, previously partnering with Drew Barrymore and others on limited-edition special designs. Teaming up with Post Malone could be a move to secure its relevance among young consumers, who helped Crocs jump in popularity in the most recent Piper Jaffray Taking Stock With Teens survey. It’ll be interesting to see how Crocs fares in the next Piper Jaffray, scheduled for release in spring.
Influencers come with built-in audiences primed and ready to purchase the moment their products dropped. Fans of popular blogger Something Navy, also known as Arielle Charnas, were so excited for her capsule designed with Nordstrom that they crashed the website within an hour of its launch in September. Although some customers were upset they missed out on products in their carts that disappeared during the e-commerce outage, Nordstrom was pleased with the collection’s $1 million in sales in just 24 hours.
Most recently, Reebok announced chart-topping rapper Cardi B as its latest brand ambassador, continuing its work building out a female audience with the help of stars, like actress Gal Gadot and singer Ariana Grande. The Dominican mother-of-one will be fronting Reebok’s Aztrek footwear and apparel and could be instrumental in drawing young Gen Z shoppers to the athletic brand. There’s no word yet on whether Cardi B will co-design product with Reebok. Reebok said its history of “nonconformity” and the Bronx native’s image as a “fearless individual” make the partnership a natural fit.
Partnering with influencers is one way brands and retailers can shore up sales. Seventy percent of teens have greater faith in social media personalities than they do in celebrities, and among women, 86 percent rely on social platforms for guidance on what they should purchase, according to Digital Marketing Institute. What’s more, nearly half (49 percent) of all consumers depend on recommendations from the influencers they follow, and two fifths have been inspired to purchase after seeing something promoted on YouTube, Instagram or Twitter, according to the institute.
But are influencer partnerships a sound investment? On average they produce a return of $6.50 for each dollar spent, per research from influencer platform, Tomoson, and a lucky 13 percent earn $20 or higher on their collaborations.