Interview with François Tiercin, Director Digital International of Interparfums
In general terms, how does Interparfums’ approach KOL marketing?
The importance of influence is very different from one brand to another, and from one zone to another. It’s a very large part of the spend in Asia. In Europe, that’s also starting to be the case. Within a brand itself, there are lines that lend themselves more to influence than others. When we release Jimmy Choo Man Aqua, for example, the use of influence is not the same as for Jimmy Choo I Want Choo, which is aimed at women with a storytelling around going out, being with friends, getting ready to go to a party. [But] it’s certain that this channel is not negligible and we are activating more and more.
How important is the storytelling aspect for fragrance in this channel?
It is extremely important. When you talk about perfume, you can’t smell it [on the internet]. In the past, we tried campaigns where we asked influencers to talk about the fragrance, but it’s not their job and they don’t necessarily know how; we quickly end up with [content that…] has no real value. We have worked a lot on our internal processes and with our teams in different countries to improve the quality of the influence content we produce. We’ve created guidelines for all countries to [follow] on what type of content influencers should produce, the storytelling that we expect when they create their posts, stories, and reels, and possibly even on the creative aspect. This means that for a consumer in France who follows an influencer in the US, Spain, Germany, Australia, the storytelling will be the same.
How are you incorporating data and the use of tools like Kolsquare?
At the corporate level, it’s mostly to choose which KOL to work with. When we receive the castings from each country, we run the profiles through the tool. The three main KPIs that we look at are credibility, engagement rates and the geographical distribution of their audience. Often we receive castings with UK influencers, for example, who may have 300,000 followers but the share in the UK will be only 15%. This is also true for Australia and the US, where the audiences are international. But an Italian influencer will be followed by 90% Italians.
The tracking part is managed by each country. We tried to create a global framework by defining the KPIs that we wanted, but it’s complicated because each country has different KPIs. We tried to use EMV, but the calculation methods are not always the same. We ask influencers for the classic KPIs on impression, reach, etc. but we can’t go much further.
What is your view of the rising costs of influencer marketing?
I’m mixed on whether it’s justified. There are some who are very expensive. In the case of a real influencer, in the true sense of the word — someone who really influences their audience — it is justified. But there are not many who really influence. Those that do are very expensive but they have a real striking power.
For 90% of them it’s less about influence and more about notoriety, image and content creation. We see that more countries are working with influencers to create content which can’t be disassociated from a media amplification campaign. I’m not against paying an influencer €5,000 to make a Reel if we can amplify it because it’s quality, original content. We know there are consumers for whom, whether they follow the influencer or not, it will create value and interest when combined with an official promo asset. But the €5,000 is only justified if we can use it in conjunction with a paid amplification campaign.
Do you think the industry will move further in this direction?
It’s a complicated topic. There’s going to be a real wrench between what influencers want and what brands want. Brands are going more towards this desire to amplify sponsored content to give it real reach. Influencers — at least as of today — do not want us to amplify content because they argue it can decrease organic reach. But I think that brands are going to be more intransigent on this. When you invest €100,000 in influence, you want it to be seen. We’re not going to limit ourselves to just a small part of the potential audience.
What’s your approach to TikTok?
TikTok might have a slightly younger audience. It’s a bit harder to find the lines that match the DNA of TikTok. If a product launch includes strong music and gestures in the promotional film, all the countries say TikTok is the more natural destination. But I think we still need to recognize the DNA of each network. Instagram is more about pretty pictures, pretty videos, it’s a little more generic.
The KPIs are not comparable for each platform. TikTok videos are often shorter, they run on a loop. It’s much easier to get view numbers to dream of but you also have to look at the comments. If the person is on a nice beach or is a bit muscular, it will get a lot of views but it doesn’t mean that the values of the product, of the brand, have been understood.
To do TikTok well, it costs a lot of money. The challenge format works very well, it is ultra-powerful, but the entry price is very expensive. TikTok is used a lot by brands to create UGC, which we do less on Instagram. [Challenges on TikTok] can generate billions of views because people create a lot of videos. But the cost is very high. You don’t make challenges on TikTok in the same way you sponsor a post on Instagram.