Case Study: How Shiseido increased its influencer marketing success by 54%

Published: 16-Sep-2022

The past few years have been nothing short of choppy for the beauty industry. The pandemic put many brands into holding patterns as budgets, supply chains, and consumer demand faced uncertainty

However, this was not the case for Shiseido. The team saw success from its influencer marketing programmes in 2020, and decided to ramp up even further in 2021 by investing in a few key influencer marketing strategies that balanced experimentation with tried-and-true tactics.

To identify its key areas of focus, the Shiseido team first audited its 2020 performance using a proprietary metric from influencer marketing platform, Traackr. Traackr’s Brand Vitality (VIT) Score breaks down performance into three categories that the Shiseido team actively tracked and set goals against: visibility (reach of content), impact (engagement generated), and brand trust (quality of content on brand image).

“We built our 2021 strategy by using Traackr to identify what drove the most VIT for us – so we knew what to keep doing – and for our competitors – so we could identify what new things to experiment with,” said Erin Kelly, director of integrated communications and influencer engagement at Shiseido.

Credit: Jen Johnson @jenjphoto

Credit: Jen Johnson @jenjphoto

Every 2021 influencer marketing initiative was selected with the three pillars (visibility, impact, and brand trust) that comprise VIT in mind. For example, the audit revealed that video content contributed significantly to Shiseido’s visibility. In response, the team chose to invest more in sponsored video content from new and existing influencer partners. Influencers received briefs that asked them to highlight product texture, packaging, and application. “We knew it was important to preserve creative freedom and authenticity, especially on video platforms like TikTok,” said Kelly. “We kept our briefs vague so that we could empower our influencers to create content in their own tone, style, and wheelhouse.” This led to video content ruling high performing posts in 2021, and increased the brand’s video views by 79% year-over-year.

Shiseido’s analysis with Traackr also found that experiential influencer events are incredibly impactful, and can benefit every aspect (visibility, impact, and trust) of its VIT score. ​​In July 2021 Shiseido and its longtime PR Agency partner, Innovative PR (IPR) hosted its third annual Malibu Beach House Event. For the event a highly curated set of 165 influencers and press were invited to participate in multiple experiences across 3 days.

“Finding and partnering with the right influencers was extra important because they had bigger roles than previous years,” said Kelly. “We used Traackr to shortlist influencers that were both high-performing and loyal (paid and organic) to our brand.”

During the event, VIP influencers (5M+ followers) hosted experiences that centred around purpose-driven themes. Kat McPhee and Adrian Grenier, who are known for their work in environmental activism, hosted Shiseido’s Blue Project Beach Cleanup. Similarly, popular meditation instructor Rosie Acosta led a guided meditation class that incorporated the power of scent using Shiseido’s Ultimune product. This new format led to the 2021 event performing better than earlier years, earning 154M+ impressions, 348K engagements, and placing it in the 3rd highest growth in engagement rate in its market.

Credit: Jen Johnson @jenjphoto

Credit: Jen Johnson @jenjphoto

Shiseido’s strategic investment in video content, experiential events, and tailored VIP influencer partnerships earned the brand more reach and video views from content, increased engagement rates, and garnered more dedicated brand posts from influencers. The brand’s strategy also helped it achieve its annual influencer marketing goal: it netted out with a 54% increase in its overall VIT score, and placed in the 93rd percentile in regards to year-over-year growth.

“Extracting quantitative data that accurately informs strategy and ties to business impact has been an ongoing challenge for the entire influencer marketing industry,” said Kelly. “The insights that we were able to get with the help of our partners helped us quickly identify the levers we needed to pull in order to achieve our goals. As a result, we were able to better shape our strategy, monitor the competitive landscape, and earn a steady drumbeat of success.”

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