Luxury brands have long been known to use celebrities to help endorse the charities they support. As with any celebrity endorsement, this tactic works due to the influence these celebrities can garner.
With women representing 80 per cent of all purchasing decisions today, luxury brands that endorse causes dedicated to female empowerment are now reaching this same vast market of female buyers. Given their sizeable followings, associating with a celebrity or highly influential voice not only draws more attention to the cause but also brings credibility to the brand involved.
“Besides being a great marketing opportunity for brands, riding on the clout of influencers or celebrities also allows the message to reach a wider audience,” says Genna Meredith, Strategist at Digital Luxury Group. Meredith has worked for various luxury brands within the digital industry for over eight years and is experienced in influencer marketing.
Kode With Klossy
Who: Karlie Kloss, one of the world’s top supermodels
What: Founded in 2014, the organisation hosts summer camps for girls between the ages of 13 and 18 and focuses on the teaching of programming languages. Outstanding students are also awardeded with career scholarships.
Having endorsed luxury brands the likes of Coach, Versace, Chanel and Swarovski, Kloss’s modeling work for high-end brands has contributed to her powerful online presence. She has taken advantage of her influence by putting it to good use and steering her fans down a new path towards empowering women to become more knowledgeable.
“Her project aims to close both the job and gender gaps in technology industry, whilst simultaneously empowering women to become professional developers. Not only does she make use of her digital reach, which currently includes an Instagram follower base of over 6.8 million, she brings her appeal, status and influential friends to help to bust stereotypes,” comments Meredith.
Image: Kode with Klossy
Who: Emma Watson, Actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador
What: HeForShe is a campaign initiated in 2014 by UN Women. Its aim is to engage and encourage men in helping take action against gender discrimination towards women. Previously the face of Burberry’s 2010 Spring/Summer campaign, Watson hosted the launch for the HeForShe movement and is now widely associated with the cause.
In addition to regularly using her Twitter account to answer questions from her followers on the issue of gender equality, Watson’s powerful speech held at the HeForShe conference was watched over 11 million times and continues to be regularly covered by media publications. The campaign was talked about over 1.2 billion times, and, as reported in Vogue, the hashtag #heforshe became so popular that Twitter HQ has it painted it on their walls.
“The campaign reached even more people when a host of Watson’s influential friends and supporters, including Kate Bosworth, Harry Styles, Russell Crowe and others, got involved using their social media accounts to spread the message. The whole campaign is a best in class example of leveraging influence in a truly positive way,” adds Meredith, noting the extensive reach of celebrities and their social networks.
Who: Adwoa Aboah, model and activist
What: Aboah founded Gurls Talk in 2015, which started out as an Instagram account. Today, Gurls Talk provides a digital platform for women to promote female empowerment. It functions as a community that allows women to share their experiences and receive advice from other like-minded individuals.
By teaming up with luxury brand Coach for a one-day festival in London in July earlier this year, Aboah used her access as a model for high-end brands to help spread the word about her movement. By doing so, she placed an important community on the radar and by extension, helped to boost Coach’s image as that of a brand that supports global causes that empower women.
Image: Gurls Talk
Dior Love Campaign
Who: An array of influencers and A-list celebrities such as Nathalie Portman, Rihanna, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert Pattinson, Winnie Harlow and Johnny Depp.
What: As part of its initiative to re-launch its Miss Dior fragrance this year, the brand enlisted the help of celebrities to drum up awareness for the WE Charity (previously known as Free The Children), which supports the education of children in less developed nations. Built around the question: “What would you do for love?”, the campaign encourages users to post video responses to this question on social media with the hashtag #diorlovechain. Dior has pledged US$1 to the Portman-backed WE Schools programme, which helps educate young girls in Kenya., for every such post.
The reason behind choosing a cause that supports women’s empowerment is the arrival of Maria Grazia Chiuru, the brand’s first female creative director. Having taken the initiative in lending Dior’s voice to an important movement, she is also consequently associating the brand’s image to that of strong, independent women.
Image: Dior Love Chain Campaign
Granted, the notion of influencers joining forces with luxury brands to spread awareness about a powerful movement still remains a bit of a gray area. While the perennial question of whether it genuinely serves its purpose (after all, celebrity endorsements do not come cheap) continues to linger at the back of everyone’s minds, the effectiveness of such influencer activations cannot be denied. At the end of the day, a good cause is being supported and talked about – and that’s all that really matters.
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