With increased online shopping around the world, many fashion brands seek to expand their business to new geographical markets. And with many success stories out there, international expansion becomes even more compelling. The question is, what is important to keep in mind when launching your brand in a new market with influencer marketing?

In this article, Frida Ekholm had a chat with Carlos Casquilho, Head of Revenue at Cure Media, about how fashion brands can succeed with launching and growing their business in new markets with influencer marketing. 

What are the risks of entering and expanding into a new market?

There can be a lot of risks associated with entering a new market – both in general, but also when you do it with influencer marketing as part of your main strategy. One of the more obvious ones is associated with costs – choosing the wrong influencers, due to lack of local knowledge, can be both time consuming and expensive. With little local knowledge, you risk overpaying for the effort as well as waste a significant amount of time negotiating if you aren’t familiar with the local pricing models and terms. From a branding perspective, it can also be challenging to know which influencer is or isn’t a brand fit, especially if you don’t have experience of that particular market.

Choosing the wrong influencer marketing strategy and approach is a big risk as well. Here it’s critical to understand what strategy works best in order to enter a new market without any brand awareness. With no brand awareness in a new market, you need to understand that everything will take time and your hit rate will probably be lower in the beginning. This is especially true if you don’t have the right measurement tools, in-house team or agency in place.

How do I minimise the risks associated with an expansion to new markets through influencers?

Good questions! It’s difficult to eliminate all risks, but some things you can do in order to minimise the risks are:

  1. Build an influencer marketing strategy that aligns with your ambitions and goals. What results do you expect from the channel? Always decide your KPIs before starting.
  2. Volume is required to measure an influencer marketing investment properly. With volume I mean the right amount of influencers – definitely avoid having too few onboard. The reason is that you need to do an A/B test on different influencer categories, analyse the outcome to learn and optimise what works best for your brand. In summary – don’t start with too few influencers, but at the same time don’t go too big to avoid wasting money.
  3. How different markets interact and respond to influencer marketing can vary. Have an open mindset about what works on the specific market. Here it’s important to be agile and adapt to the circumstances.
  4. When you know what works, it’s time to scale up step-by-step! Research similar influencers, preferably with the support of a good research tool. This will help you be both time and cost efficient. Measure your efforts against your KPIs and optimise along the way to gain better results, for example, by identifying key factors that high-performing influencers have and use them as a template or benchmark when searching for new influencers.

Obviously, I have zero brand awareness when expanding to a new market. How do I tackle this?

Many factors affect how you launch in a new market with no brand awareness and this can be quite challenging. But to give an example, it’s important to understand the social media behaviours within every new market. What kind of content engages your target audience? What platforms (e.g. Instagram, TikTok) and features (e.g. Stories, Live) work the best?

To achieve high reach in your target group when launching in a new market, it’s important to collaborate with influencers who have the ‘right’ followers – that is, people who are a part of your target group. It could be a matter of using several smaller influencers (micro/mid-size), or fewer, larger influencers. You can also combine these two methods; when you work continuously with micro and mid-size profiles, you build up a presence over time and increase your chances of ending up top-of-mind with the target group. This becomes like an engine in your strategy. Then you can add some larger, carefully selected influencers – people that your particular brand wants to be associated with from a branding point of view.

How does influencer marketing fit into the media mix?