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Interview with Bons Baisers Paris manager of PR and events, Vaïana Escalpez

French footwear brand Bons Baisers Paris works with a roster of some 500 micro influencers on rolling campaigns that align with the release of new collections. The brand does not pay influencers, preferring instead to foster long-term relationships through regularly gifting KOLs their preferred pair of shoes from new collections. During the busy summer season, the brand mimics the mass Advent calendar campaigns that it runs in the leadup to Christmas, and partners with other brands to offer a ‘Summer Calendar’ gift box of essential summer items. Bons Baisers Paris manager of PR and events Vaïana Escalpez explains.

portrait de vaiana escalpez rp chez bons baisers paris
portrait de vaiana escalpez rp chez bons baisers paris

What is Bons Baisers Paris’ approach to influence?

Generally we launch an influencer campaign every time we release a new product or collection. It can be once a month, more or less, it depends. We have a list of influencers who we work with regularly. We don’t do paid campaigns. We prefer gifting campaigns. We send proposals to our entire base of influencers, and let them choose the pair of shoes they like. We do not impose content, they are free to integrate the shoes in a post, do an unboxing, whatever the like.

We tried paid campaigns with several influencers in the past and realized that gifting campaigns worked better.

Does that mean you work mostly with micro influencers?

Yes. Influencers with smaller accounts are more engaged, they really want to receive the shoes and communicate on them. Big influencers we pay, they do an unboxing because they are paid, not necessarily because they want to do it. We prefer to work with influencers who really like the brand, who are happy to receive a pair of shoes and who easily integrate it into looks. They are the ones who usually come back to us to ask if we have new campaigns and to receive the news. That’s also how we create relationships with influencers and how we collaborate regularly.

How many influencers do you usually work with for a campaign?

It changes depending on the models we’re offering. We have a base of 500 influencers and we contact all of them for each campaign and we have a lot of requests from influencers who contact us on Instagram or by email asking to test our shoes.. Our City winter boots campaign, for example, we had 250 influencers who participated in the campaign. Sandals are similar, around 180 and 200 participate. There are fewer influencers who participate in sneakers campaigns because they were our first shoes when the brand was created in 2017, and almost all the influencers already have a pair of sneakers, so they prefer to receive the new sandals or boots.  

Sounds like a lot of work?

Yes, I’m in charge of influence, PR and events, and have an intern who helps me. We use Kolsquare to research influencers and we also like the reporting module. Previously, we had to track all the stories and posts manually, whereas with Kolsquare the reporting is generated automatically.

What do you look for when researching influencers?

We look at the male to female ratio of followers because our target is women. We look at whether the community is based in France, its interests, engagement, and authenticity.  

Do you run special campaigns for big Summer sales or the Christmas period?

At Christmas, and in the lead-up to Summer and Valentine’s Day, we run Advent Calendars. At Christmas, we do about 180 contests with different influencers who are offered their choice of shoes around which to create a contest for their community. We do it because the influencers have a lot of contest requests at this time of year and we want to thank them by offering articles to their communities.

We validate the pair of shoes they want to use in the contest; if they cost €135, the winner will receive a gift voucher of the same amount to use on our site. We validate the date the influencer plans to run the competition, but the influencer is free to create their post. When the winner is drawn we send the voucher for them to pass on. We keep track of all the influencers, competition dates, and products and gift vouchers sent in an Excel file. Sometimes we might have 10 contests per day, sometimes five, it depends on their schedules. We calculate how much it costs in terms of the purchase price of our products but prefer to do influence this way rather than pay big influencers directly.

We also do partnerships with other brands before Christmas and Summer, where we send an ‘influence box’ of Summer essentials or Christmas gift ideas. This Summer we’ve partnered with a jewelry brand, a hair scrunchies brand, and a brand that will offer a small gift basket. It’s less boring for the girls than always receiving a pair of shoes. It allows them to discover other brands and is a way to thank our influencers who’ve posted a lot and who we’ve worked with the most. In Summer it’s a good time to do it because it’s their must-have holiday essentials that they’ll have all Summer and at Christmas it gives them gift ideas to show their communities.

Have you noticed that more micro influencers are asking to be paid?

Bon Baisers Paris was created in 2017 during the period when influence and Instagram really developed, so we were lucky that we grew in parallel with the influencers and have worked with them from the beginning. Some have tripled the size of their communities and don’t respond to us anymore, but others now have agents who ask if we can pay. In those cases, we offer the choice of several pairs of shoes or to participate in one of our photo shoots in Paris which are remunerated.  

Do you also run influencer events?

We do afterwork events in our showroom or specific events at a hotel where we invite influencers, the press, suppliers and our staff. We organize these events with influencers to thank them and to get to know them. We really want to maintain good relationships with the people we work with because the human side is very important for us.  

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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