Influencer Marketing is making a huge splash in the social media and public relation world as the next big thing in promoting your brand. In a series of posts ‘The Power of Influence’ on we are going to be taking a close look at the buzz around influencer marketing and the direction this fast paced and exciting area is moving in. We will be gathering exclusive insights from brands and the influencers they work with as well as industry experts who are connecting the two.

In the first of the series we are chatting with Daniela Leone, Senior Vice President Switzerland, Upfluence who is an industry leader in luxury influencer marketing and is working to position Upfluence as the undisputed leader in influencer marketing in the Switzerland area – lots more details on Daniela and Upfluence at the bottom of the page…but now, let’s hear some thoughts…

ojawilliams: What is the most exciting development in the influencer marketing space for you at the moment and why?

DL: What is interesting is that we can really see a big evolution in this activity. In the past we worked with bloggers in the same way we worked with traditional journalists (inviting them to events, sending them press kits etc and then just praying they would write something about your brand). Today the mentality of marketers is slowly changing and they start to understand that Influencer marketing is no longer an exclusively PR related activity, but that it is a new MEDIA – which must be paid (no need to pray anymore). Also, what is very important is that after an Influencer marketing campaign, you get detailed performance reporting which allows clients to really evaluate what they’re getting for their money.. Personally, in 25 yrs of marketing – I never received such detailed post campaign reporting.

New influencers have emerged, offering a real alternative to well-established publications and magazines. They are much more professional today (than they were in recent years) : their blogs are great, they write very good content and they have audiences following them.

They should be considered as a new media online – and need to be seriously taken into consideration in the preparation of aa 360° marketing plan.

ojawilliams: Can you give us insight into dealing in the luxury markets and what unique situations this brings?

DL: Luxury brands have been slow to join. This is most likely because in some ways, social media and the nature of viral content goes against the “exclusivity element” underlying the fundamental marketing position used by luxury brands for so many years.

Generally speaking, luxury brands are cautious about accepting anything that could impact the control of any communication associated with the integrity of their brand, and in some cases, an understandable lack of knowledge amongst senior executives about the world of social media also serves to slow down adoption rates.

However, once brought into the potential power of social media, luxury brands are often very innovative and trend setting in the deployment of their campaigns, while rightly adopting a very measured approach to ensure the protection of their hard-earned brand image and reputation.. While Digital Marketing in general is finally gaining acceptance, with almost all luxury companies investing more in their websites, social media pages and online advertising, the sector continues to emphasize traditional marketing with big spends on printed advertising, celebrity ambassadors, events and the likes.

Luxury brand marketers are used to keeping complete control with powerful messages, brand images and storytelling and there’s an understandable concern that embracing influencers risks losing this control. The concern about communications getting off-message and core brand values being undermined remains a valid issue to manage, but you won’t unleash the power of Influencer Marketing by being a control freak !

Nonetheless, a growing number of luxury brands have been successful integrating social media as part of an overall marketing strategy. I’ve talked a lot about the risk of adopting, but the risk of not adopting also needs to be considered. By not being involved in social media, luxury brands are ignoring a great way to reach key audience segments, and in doing so, will inevitably miss out on key branding and sales opportunities

ojawilliams: What is the most interesting influencer marketing project you have worked on and can you give us some details of why?

DL: Since I opened the Swiss and luxury subsidiary for Upfluence Inc. In Neuchâtel (CH), I have met more than 100 companies and have launched more than 20 campaigns. I’m delighted to state that without exception, they were all very successful with a good ROI. The most challenging campaign was for Ralph Lauren watches (started last Xmas) where I adopted the role of campaign manager to better understand the process of a campaign. After agreeing with the client about the details of the campaign, I had to find the right bloggers (with our internal Search Engine), negotiate with them, brief them about the campaign, review their articles and respect publishing deadlines. It was a real nightmare as all this was done during Christmas everybody was on vacation and I had a deadline to respect. On top of that, we had to work with Japanese bloggers – which for me was completely new. In Japan, bloggers are different from what we are used to – they are all on micro-blogging. I can tell you this campaign was a hard slog for me but I learned so much and the result was phenomenal :

we had 8’472’273 impressions, 35’023 reads and 6’441 clicks on their website after only 3 weeks.

Thankfully, our campaign management team are more tech savvy than me……and it’s this convergence of technology and traditional marketing know-how that makes influencer marketing campaigns work best! At nearly 50 years old, though, never again ….I will I launch a campaign on my own….thank goodness we have the technology to find bloggers and manage campaigns…..and we have the people who know how to use it!!

ojawilliams: How do you foresee changes in legislation affecting influencer marketing in the next 12 months?

DL: The FTC’s endorsement guides, which are the legal signal of the industry, have been updated this year – the first time since 2010. We do not foresee any big change in the legislation, which is already very clear and binding about what you can and cannot do. I do see changes though, in the way the law will be enforced. I expect more legal proceedings against influencers, brands or agencies that are not transparent about what they do. This is what we already observed in the last few months.

ojawilliams: Outside of what you have been working on – what is your favourite influencer based campaign and why?

DL: Difficult one to answer, that…….every campaign is different and presents different challenges which makes it all so enjoyable for me. If you’re asking me what I like most in my job, I’d say my favourite part is coaching Marketing Managers and CEOs, to guide and advise them how to evolve in the new marketing world. Meeting all these different companies is a privilege and really interesting because you learn so much and have the opportunity to bring them some of your experience which hopefully creates some genuine added value. What I dislike : when people treat me like a supplier or a sales manager. I know I’ve got to generate sales but (don’t tell my boss), that’s not really what drives me. I put a lot of passion in into what I do and I honestly believe that it is a great new approach to marketing in the luxury sector. I want everyone to have the chance to take advantage of it !

ojawilliams: If you had one tweet to give the best advice you can on influencer marketing – what would it be? (140 characters or less).

Reach your online audience with your new spokesperson : the influencer !

 ojawilliams: If you could pick one influencer to meet and work with who would it be and why?

DL: There are many bloggers. The ones I most want to work with are the ones who write great content ……and that’s unlikely to be a traditional celebrity blogger, not because there aren’t any celebrity bloggers who write good content, but because I know from experience it’s possible to find much, much more cost effective solutions . To name a few : Apetogentleman, Mensgear, Collector, 2luxury2, luxurylaunches.


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Interviewee Profile

Daniela Leone,  Senior vice President Switzerland – Head of Int’l luxury division, Upfluence

Intro to Daniela
Daniela Leone, runs the new Upfluence subsidiary located in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. With 25 years luxury sector experience in strategic marketing and communications positions, she wants to establish Upfluence as the undisputed leader of influencer marketing in Switzerland and in the luxury. Daniela also teaches ‘’Communication 2.0’’ at the HEG in Neuchâtel, gives coaching, conferences and is an authors of several articles on the subject.

Intro to Upfluence

With its 25 employees scattered over New York City, Paris, Neuchâtel and Lyon, Upfluence develops and markets technological solutions of influencer marketing and content. The company uses its own proprietary algorithms to identify key influencers for its customers and to manage its influencer marketing campaigns. Since 2013, Upfluence has successfully positioned itself in key industries (Luxury, High-Tech, CPG…) and plays a central role in ensuring the success of its customers including Microsoft, Ralph Lauren, Ricola, Ebel, Paypal or Victorinox.


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