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Vertbaudet Germany: long-term influencer collaborations deliver sustainable customer loyalty

The children/family sector does not have it easy in influencer marketing. Calls for more privacy and stricter guidelines to protect children are getting louder. Brands targeting this sector must define a comprehensive strategy if they are to communicate effectively and authentically through influencers in this sensitive sector.

Carlotta Pabst and Esther Haberkorn, vertbaudet Germany Communications and Influencer Marketing Managers
Carlotta Pabst and Esther Haberkorn, vertbaudet Germany Communications and Influencer Marketing Managers

Children’s clothing brand vertbaudet Germany has anchored its influencer marketing strategy in long-term partnerships that are sustained with moms and dads from pregnancy to birth and the challenges of everyday parenthood. In this interview, vertbaudet Germany Communications and Influencer Marketing Managers Carlotta Pabst and Esther Haberkorn, outline their strategy for influence and where they see the risks and opportunities for the sector.

Where does the Baby and Children’s Industry Stand in the Influencer Marketing Ecosystem? What are the challenges and opportunities in this sector?

The topic of family and children has grown significantly along with influencer marketing in social media. More and more creators are focusing their content on their family life and their children. Influencers from other areas such as lifestyle, fitness, or fashion are also often integrating their family life into their content strategies. Family is a large part of our private lives, and influencers share their lives with their community on Instagram and other social networks. Because of that, partners and children often become part of their content.

When influencers talk about the emotionally charged topic of family and children, they also share personal insights that make them appear more likable, authentic, and approachable to the audience. We therefore consider the topic to be bigger and more relevant than current statistics show, as these evaluations often only include one of the content creators' focus areas.

We see the emotional nature of the topic as the biggest opportunity and challenge for Vertbaudet Germany in influencer marketing. The topics of pregnancy, babies, and raising children are very sensitive and individual. As a brand, we have to choose carefully what and how we communicate.

More and more influencers are choosing to protect their children from the public by providing less information and insights about them. We understand and support this decision.

What are the most important trends in the industry, and how do they affect your influencer marketing strategy?

The use of discount codes is a must in the influencer marketing industry in Germany. This trend will continue in 2024. Brand events have also regained relevance in our industry. As a brand, we use events to let influencers experience our values and generate enthusiasm, which they then pass on to their communities. Long-term relationships are an important trend. With partnerships that extend over months or years, we are able to highlight our one-stop shopping principle very well. We support our customers from pregnancy, through breastfeeding, right up to the end of elementary school. Long-term influencer collaborations are a good way to highlight the different stages of life.

We also see a stronger focus on storytelling. Clumsy advertising messages have not worked for a long time. Followers want to be entertained and demand authenticity. People buy from people, so we also need to become more human as a brand.

What criteria do you use when selecting influencers for your campaigns?

We want to work with authentic influencers; a large number of followers is not the decisive criterion. The influencer must be credible in order to convey our brand values. The content and personality of the creator must suit the brand. The focus should clearly be on the topic of family and parenting.

The KOL should be sensitive when dealing with the emotional topic of family. We don’t want testimonials that use their children as advertising space. We also value diversity; single parents, adoptions, the desire to have children, traditional or LGBTQ+... everyone should have their say and feel represented!

Professional behavior is also very important to us in (long-term) collaborations. In addition, the audience of our potential partners should already consist to a large extent of Vertbaudet customers or brand lovers.

Do you prefer long-term or one-off collaborations with influencers? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

We clearly prefer long-term collaborations. We attach great importance to getting to know potential cooperation partners well in advance and finding out their values. Our experience shows that influencers with whom we have had a good and friendly relationship for a long time understand the Vertbaudet brand best and can present it to their followers. This is also reflected in the turnover of these long-term collaborations.

Our long-term cooperation partners value our collaboration just as much as we do. That’s why they often offer us better pricing and preferential appointments. A very clear advantage. When negotiating contracts with new partners, the prospect of long-term cooperation also gives us greater negotiating leeway when it comes to fees.

Which social media channels work best for your influencer marketing activities?

Instagram, TikTok and YouTube are relevant for us. Ultimately, however, the focus on a platform depends on the creator.The fastest effects in terms of branding, awareness and sales for us are on Instagram. Instagram users area better fit for Vertbaudet in terms of age and usage behavior than the younger community on TikTok, for example. Instagram also supports the placement of direct links in stories, whereas on TikTok this is only possible with the help of SparkAds. Nevertheless, we want also to focus more on TikTok in 2024.

How do you see the fee development of influencers in the industry?

Fees are rising continuously. The profession of influencer is now firmly established and even smaller creators have understood its value and priced it accordingly. In our sector, fees increase massively during pregnancies and births, as these two events attract a lot of attention. The communities are happy with their influencers about the offspring and they generate more attention over a short time. Reach and close relationships with the community and potential customers are very valuable for brands, which of course comes at a cost.

What are the current challenges facing influencers in your industry?

The first negative events have shown our society how important it is to protect our children on social media.The calls for more privacy for the children of influencers are getting louder and louder. Not all influencers succeed in posting on Instagram without revealing too much about their children. At vertbaudet, we also receive messages from customers about possible misconduct by creators. This often concerns former partners with whom we have not worked for a long time. But it shows what a long-lasting impact an influencer collaboration can have, whether positive or negative.We appreciate the criticism and deal with it. Our customers expect a well-thought-out selection of our cooperation partners. And rightly so!

How have the community’s expectations of your industry and its influencers developed?

As a brand, we use influencers as a mouthpiece; they communicate for us, our message and brand values. That’s why the fit between our values and those of the creators is so immensely important to us. In general, we assume that trust in brands will become increasingly relevant for purchasing decisions. With the advent of AI content, followers will question brand messages more and more critically. It’s certainly not easy for influencers to share everyday problems and challenges. The feeling of having to meet the communities’ apparent expectation of a «perfect familyworld» puts pressure on them. It takes courage to open up to your followers and address topics transparently. Users want real insights, tips from moms, help for their everyday life with a child and the feeling that they are not alone with parenting problems.

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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