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Fusalp: for luxury brands in influence, quality trumps quantity every time

For 70 years, luxury ski fashion brand Fusalp has been a mainstay on the European slopes. Over the last ten years, it has been on an accelerated growth trajectory with sales rising from €6m in 2014 to €52m in 2022. And as the brand expands its positioning into high-end ready-to-wear, Fusalp is projecting sales to double to €100m by 2026. To support its ambitions, Fusalp is counting on a fresh global marketing and influencer marketing strategy anchored in its fashion-tech positioning and brand values of authenticity and optimism.

Fusalp Head of PR and Social Media Justine Provent outlines the brand’s strategy for influence and gives her analysis of the influencer marketing landscape in the luxury sector. 

@Fusalp - Instagram
@Fusalp - Instagram

What are your objectives in influence?  

We have two main objectives. Skiing, we’re very well-known for ski clothes which are very seasonal. The brand is very well known in Europe, especially for ski gear, but we also have a ready-to-wear line and summer collections. Our challenge is to show that Fusalp is also a ready-to-wear brand. 

All our garments combine technical expertise with fashion. For example, we have water-repellent trench coats that have a more alpine cut, which we are trying to push with influence. In ready-to-wear we are trying to reach influencers who are more fashion-orientated. Ideally, we prefer people who ski or at least have a bit of a sporting mindset. But our line also includes jeans and skirts so it's perfectly possible for women to wear Fusalp and not ski at all.  

What are your main criteria for influencer selection? 

Our customers are evenly balanced between men and women, so we target both [to work with]. Our target of influencers is quite broad, but our top criterion is authenticity. We want to work with people who genuinely love our products, who love wearing Fusalp and who are attached to the brand. We want to work on a long-term basis, build relationships over time, create a story and give meaning to our relationship with the influencer. We want the influencer to share our values of authenticity, performance, excellence, and style. We try to work with people who don't work for many brands in order to scale authenticity.

How difficult is it to explain the technicity of the products via influence? 

It’s about focusing on the products. The most technical ones are the ski outfits. We sponsor Team GB Ski, but also other winter sport athletes like skaters. Team GB has its own Instagram account and we make their competition suits. Team GB had great results last year and we expect them to do well again this year, so that speaks for itself in terms of the technicality and encouraging others to try the clothes. They also give us feedback which pushes us to be the best in the segment. In this sense, talking to people who go to the mountains and use our products [is essential].

How do you see conditions in influence for luxury brands? 

Early on, working with influence wasn’t necessarily well received in the luxury fashion industry. But that changed when people began to see the sales results. After a while, influence became democratized and lots of brands began to use influence, sometimes opportunistically. 

In luxury, there was a time when everyone jumped on influencers, but lately I find that influence has been called into question a little. Some brands are realizing that the results aren't necessarily there. Brands like Fusalp use Kolsquare to check the engagement rates, which is much more important than the number of followers. Luxury brands are more careful now about who they work with. They pay much more attention to any bad buzz, or political positions. Consumers are more careful too. They have become much more educated about influence and will easily question an influencer’s choices. An influencer who promotes a brand that doesn't fit in with their values will lose subscribers. 

Does that imply luxury brands are doing less influence overall, but what they are doing is much more focused on quality? 

I think so. What's more, with tools like Kolsquare, we're really able to measure the quality of the people we work with. We rely on Kolsquare but we are a brand that cares. We’re looking for people who are authentic, genuinely caring and optimistic too. Optimism is one of our values. 

Our strategy involves positioning ourselves as a fashion brand, not just a sports brand. So we work with people who are well-known in fashion who we find on Instagram or TikTok. Then, we use Kolsquare to see if they have good stats. We rely a lot on the audience credibility score and engagement rates. We also use Kolsquare to generate reports and measure the impact of each activation we do. 

Which platforms are most suited to luxury brands in influence? 

Each platform has its own specifics. Instagram is really the benchmark social network for fashion, but TikTok is also establishing its fashion positioning. So is YouTube, with Derek Blasberg, YouTube’s Head of Fashion and Beauty and who has really been driving up the fashion vertical on the platform for a few years now. For me, it's these three platforms and Pinterest, although we don’t work on influence on Pinterest.  

YouTube has the biggest production needs in influence. Given we’re still a small brand, we’re concentrating more on Instagram and TikTok. We plan to activate YouTube as soon as possible.

How are you incorporating partnerships with other brands? 

We have a Nespresso partnership which is helping us to grow. We consider ourselves a lifestyle brand so the partnership fits in that sense. The Nespresso deal originated with them. They wanted an Alpine Chic theme for their Christmas windows in stores and thought of us. It’s a great opportunity because we’re reaching an audience that is very interesting for us. They are present in markets where Fusalp isn’t. They have 800 retail stores with e-commerce. 

How is TikTok evolving and how does it fit with a brand like Fusalp?

TikTok is more an entertainment platform than a proper social media. People on TikTok want to consume content. But it's no longer a dance platform at all. It covers a lot of different things and there is a nice fashion vertical that is developing on it. 

Luxury brands tend to proceed with caution on social networks. Fusalp is a luxury brand but there’s a bit more freedom too. It’s almost a bit cheeky, you can get away with things. We’re developing TikTok content that really responds to the platform, but where we're still careful to keep our luxury codes. 

How are questions of environmental responsibility playing out for luxury brands in influence? 

The audience is more demanding and will unsubscribe if there's something incoherent or if the person no longer meets their values. We're careful about that. We communicate on our environmental credentials; our products are guaranteed for five years and our technical products can be repaired for life. 

We’ve done a campaign called Alpine Memoires, where we searched for old ski jackets that belonged to customers. They have been passed down through several generations and have a history. It works well because we show that we are a transgenerational brand and that we think about sustainability when we create a product. People pay attention to those things. 

What do you see in store for luxury influence in 2024? 

2024 will be harder for influencers. It will be harder for them to break through. Those who do, like Léna Situations, are really authentic. You feel that what they’re sharing is true and that they are sincere when they talk about a brand. Sincerity and authenticity is what will win. If you want to work with lots of brands the audience will not be invested or believe in it. 

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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