An Introduction to Capsule Collections
Let’s start with the basics. For those who don’t know, a capsule collection is a designer’s limited product line. Collections are limited in stock or only available for a specific time or both. The idea is that designers will create a certain number of pieces based around a theme (usually around 10-20 pieces). Throwing together any combination of these items should theoretically create an outfit.
For customers, the benefit of capsule collections is that the pieces become central to a multitude of outfits. For designers, they can create their vision and release it without the frills and hassle of an entire fashion show.
Why Capsule Collections?
The idea of capsule collections, or capsule wardrobes, were popularized by Donna Karan in the ‘80s and it has recently become the fashionable thing once again (no pun intended). Consumers want economy in their wardrobe. By purchasing pieces that transcend trends, fads, and seasons, these pieces offer a practical alternative to buying outfits for whatever’s in right now.
To put it simply, it makes choosing an outfit in the morning easier. Thus, it makes life easier.
Influencers and Social Media
With the rise of social media came popular icons who grew alongside it. It’s not just celebrities, politicians, and sports superstars who have come into the spotlight either. Sometimes it’s just everyday people who have gone viral for one inexplicable reason or another. By engaging with their community, these individuals (read influencers) are considered to have sway over their followers.
As capsule collections become more common, brands are capitalizing on them by partnering with social media influencers for added exposure.
How to Use Influencers
As a brand, you might think it’s smart to pour all resources into the largest influencer to advertise your clothes. This, in theory, makes sense. But in practice, it’s actually trickier. The larger an influencer’s reach, the more generalized the advertising should be. Like marketing anything to a wide base, be sure what it is you’re marketing appeals to a general audience.
Capsule collections are limited by nature, meaning their appeal isn’t going to be as broad as, say, a new Starbucks blend. Therefore, it’s necessary to use influencers based on a given audience.
As more brands use influencers to market collections, there’s becoming a greater need for research and analytics. As the sheer volume of influencers increase, so do the chances of picking the wrong ones. The problem lies in one of social media’s greatest strengths; anybody can become an influencer.
To solve this problem, companies need whitelisting. Whitelisting is a method of grouping together influencers by demographic and perceived value. By creating these lists, companies can successfully cross-promote their capsule collections with the appropriate number of influencers.
Why Use Influencers at All
There are many benefits to using influencers as part of your marketing campaign. Influencers come pre-packaged with a dedicated audience that brands can tap in to. Plus, brands can add linkable content so that engagement drives traffic to their capsule landing page.
In addition, the brand’s message is coming from a natural source. Many influencers request more control over the content that they post. This generally reflects positively on a brand because the message will come across as sincere.
Building Trust as a Brand
Trust is the foundation on which to build a legacy of loyal customers. To gain this trust, people need more than just well-designed clothing. They want a company that aligns with their own set of core values. By using influencers, brands can bring their message down to a relatable level and at the same time display their clothing.
From a customer’s point of view, seeing influencers wear an outfit automatically feels like genuine advertising. If it looks good, it looks good. No two ways about it.
From a brand’s perspective, this means they can “buy” the customer’s trust by targeting the right set of influencers and pushing the proper message.
Other Factors for Using Influencers
Psychologists have been studying human behavior and how it relates to consumerism for many years now. It’s clear there’s a lot of information on both what we focus on and why we focus on it. So why is it that influencers are so useful for brands?
- The Halo Effect – Psychologists have identified a quirky attribute about how we form opinions. Individuals have the tendency to designate someone as an “expert” based solely on one aspect of their life. This means we’re more likely to believe something to be true if an influencer says it. This applies to the world of fashion as well.
- Glitz and Glam Culture – There’s a reason why so many magazines rely on celebrity personas and celebrity culture to sell. People are attracted to the rich and famous lifestyle. It has that certain lure of exclusivity. For capsule collections, exclusivity is factored right into the marketing.
Choosing the Right Influencers
So how do you extract the most value out of influencers? To answer this, brands need to break down their campaign into different audiences. Some styles need the broad range of a popular influencer while some require smaller, more niche influencers.
Types of Influencers
Depending on the number of followers an influencer has, they are grouped into separate categories.
- Nano: 1k – 10k followers
- Micro: 10k – 50k followers
- Mid-tier: 50k – 500k followers
- Macro: 500k – 1m followers
- Mega: 1m+ followers
Each of these different-sized influencers has benefits and downfalls. In general, the larger the audience, the more expensive an influencer will cost. On the flip side, the smaller the audience, the better the engagement you can expect per post.
Working with Macro-influencers
For brands, the ideal influencer to target first is the macro-influencer (500k-1m followers). This size has the reach necessary to gain traction for capsule collections but isn’t so large as to lose the exclusivity that comes from a given niche. It’s also significantly cheaper than working with mega-influencers.
Return on Investment
To demonstrate a contrast between macro- and mega-influencers: Kylie Jenner, one of Instagram’s largest influencers, reported over one million dollars for a single sponsored post. For most macro-influencers, it’s safe to assume a range of $5,000 to $10,000 per sponsored post (or about $1,000 per 100,000 followers). This makes macro-influencers a safer bet for substantial ROIs.
Kick-back on Sales
Brands targeting macro-influencers can also negotiate deals. It’s common to offer a percentage of the sales for a discounted rate. For influencers, this can reap huge rewards if the capsule collection is a success. It also benefits businesses who, with the lower upfront costs, can now pay for more macro-influencers, thus increasing the chances of success.
Macro-influencers might also be more willing to work with some brands over others. Brands that are smaller but have a positive message might have an easier time offering a kickback deal, for example.
Supplement Campaigns with Micro-Influencers
Once brands have their large influencers, it’s time to target smaller demographics and niches within the fashion community. This is where micro-influencers become great additions to the marketing campaign.
Micro-influencers with followings of around 10k to 50k have a strong sense of community. It’s a critical point before mid-tier- and macro-influencers where the engagement becomes too much to fully engage. Micro-influencers in some ways are like small businesses—they might not have as many customers, but the ones they do are loyal.
Because micro-influencers are less expensive, brands can target a variety of niche audiences for less money. Seeing these influencers wear a capsule collection allows customers to visualize what it’s like to wear it themselves.
Striking a Balance with Influencers
It’s hard to ever say with certainty what combination of macro-influencers and micro-influencers is required for a successful campaign. Businesses have to make educated choices on who and how many influencers are needed on a campaign-to-campaign basis. After that, a little experimentation is all that’s needed for extraordinary results.
Capsule collections are a win all around. They’re great for the brand, great for designers, and of course, great for consumers. In order to capitalize on a given collection, brands need to work with influencers and include them in the marketing campaign. Influencers not only increase a campaign’s reach, but they also provide a certain amount of authenticity. Knowing which influencers and how many to choose is often a challenge for businesses.
To best decide this, brands have to weigh the pros and cons of using different sized influencers. Macro-influencers are great to provide traction to a campaign while micro-influencers can be used to target specific niches. A healthy balance of both can be the difference between an average campaign and a booming success.
The Washington Post. Life is easier with a capsule wardrobe. Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home/life-is-easier-with-a-capsule-wardrobe/2018/05/07/708d5b14-4d74-11e8-b725-92c89fe3ca4c_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.93ee3d8ee2e6
HBR.ORG. The Decision to Trust. Robert F. Hurley, 2006. Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/2006/09/the-decision-to-trust
PMYB. Social Influencers: The Psychology Behind Great Influencer Marketing. Chris Stokes. July, 2017. Retrieved from: https://pmyb.co.uk/social-influencers-psychology/