“It's all who you know” — a long-standing and possibly annoying platitude that never quite seems to go away, but instead manifest in new ways. Brands and retailers have always been aware of the importance of leveraging star power, from the actresses who sported Gabrielle Chanel's very first hat designs and sparked a fashion empire spanning centuries, to today's startups and heritage names alike teaming up with TikTok and YouTube celebrities to reach powerful mobile-first audiences.
Specifically, brands and businesses are inviting influencers to attend their activations and events, and live-broadcast the happenings across their social channels to their audience of followers as well as on the companies' feeds—to some extent, doing brands' customer engagement work for them. TikTok is one of the current hot platforms for this strategy: For its recent fall collection debut, Prada invited teen TikToker Charli D’Amelio to record insider content, like glimpses behind the catwalk and clips with featured models, to share with her followers (in the 10s of millions). The luxury house does have an account of its own on the platform—but hasn't posted much and may not need to, thanks to the power of stars like Charli.
Charli x Prada pic.twitter.com/B7rhXbRepG
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) February 20, 2020
Instagram stories, too, has been another popular channel for this type of content, whether through official partnerships or not. Bella Hadid often shares photos, sound bytes and video clips from brand events and shows she frequents, either as a guest or as a model. Brands in fashion and beyond are eager to generate this type of third-party content, as it allows for them to reach and establish connections with audiences in a context that these followers already frequent and enjoy, and in a curated, quick-to-digest format that they can access at any place, at any time. Further, it also allows for audiences to see the brand in a different light than they may have before—through the filters of TikTokers and Instagrammers already captivating the fractured attention of today's consumers.