Round Table #3

What role do bloggers play in building a brand?

How do blogs and brands relate? What are the pros and cons of associating a brand to a blogger? As content designers, what added value do bloggers entail for a brand? For this third round table, Porto Fashion Makers has invited the marketing directors at Parfois, André Costa SA and Skin.pt and the bloggers at Pretty Exquisite, Beyond Fabric and Frango no Campo to discuss the principles and goals of these partnerships.
Text by Eliana Macedo - PFM Team Member
Insights Round Table
October 29, 2015 14:01

Bloggers are opinion makers, an urban tribe led by unique people, people who have a unique and differentiated sense of aesthetics. They are content designers.  And this is why blogs are a channel that cannot be bypassed when it comes to brand positioning.

However, we have realised that in our creative community brands are misinformed about how these collaborations work. What blogger should I associate my business to? How do I reach him/her? What can the drawbacks be? These are some of the questions that this debate will try to provide answers to.

 

Susana Coerver ©  Miguel Silva Rocha

Susana Coerver, marketing director at Parfois begins by explaining that ‘those who live essentially from owned media (the brand’s networks) and earned media (media bloggers create) must make very sensible choices when it comes to collaborations, as these will determine how they will position themselves.

How do we go about that? As a blogger, Diana Vinha, image consultant at Pretty Exquisite and stylist at Farfetch, believes that before approaching anyone

‘brands should be able to determine who their content will reach and have reasonable insight about the work the of person behind the blog and what they do’.

Miguel Amaral, marketing director at André Costa S.A. and blogger at Beyond Fabric, thinks that selecting a blogger ‘has a lot to do with what the brands’ objectives  are, who they would like to associate themselves  to and how it will impact them’.  And he explains ‘my aim may be to create a narrative image story or I my focus can be commercial results. These are different approaches and brands need be aware of their aims.’

 

Miguel Amaral Vieira ©  Miguel Silva Rocha

And this is where an important issue arises: ‘Is the brand aiming at sales increase or at image building? Luís Figueiredo, from skin.pt states that‘ it all boils down to strategy’. In his experience, ‘your aim my be to collaborate with someone who is selling him/herself and everyone knows it , or you  may  generate less visibility but work with someone that will be able to tailor their work to the brand’s needs, even when that will not immediately translate into increased sales’.

 

Luis Figueiredo  ©  Miguel Silva Rocha

Miguel Amaral  agrees: ‘A brand may be quite straight forward about associating itself to someone selling him/herself, in a strictly commercial approach and as a way to gain awareness; or, when it has been around for a while and already has an identity, then it may be more selective about who they will work with’. ‘The original content is a very important issue here, in the sense that it is unique and differentiating‘, he concludes. Susana Coerver adds that

'we are living in the ‘keep it real’ era’.

In her words, ‘when I first arrived at Parfois I decided I wanted to build real relationships. I have an amazing team and I say all the time that what we do is handmade marketing, we know peoples’ tastes, we personalize and provide differentiated wrappings for both the press and bloggers.’

 

Diana Vinha  ©  Miguel Silva Rocha

Diana Vinha shares this opinion: ‘it is all about being as transparent as possible, presenting the blog and its objectives, and knowing what we would like to get out of the partnerships’.  The blogger at Pretty Exquisite explains that ‘when we present new brands or products, it has to do with what we like. ‘For that reason, she believes ‘we are not selling ourselves, or advertising something we don’t believe in.’And she adds, ‘we have had many offers, and the first thing we ask ourselves is whether the review is honest. If it is not, it is immediately turned down.’

Miguel Amaral and Naida Folgado have also already turned down partnerships. ‘I don’t usually sell myself, I am very aware and oriented and when I work with brands I always try to do so with products I would use’, says Miguel. Naida Folgado, blogger at Frango do Campo, thinks that brands can suggest, never impose on bloggers. 

 ‘Sometimes the issue is not the brand, but the product. If I don’t relate to it, I will not feature it on my blog’,

says the cooking blogger, who has already worked with brands such as Galo and  Coca-Cola. In fact, Naida has come to realise that what is most important for the brands who contact her are her passion for cooking and her stories and personal experiences.’

 

Naida Folgado ©  Miguel Silva Rocha

Eliana Macedo e Susana Coerver   ©  Miguel Silva Rocha

Miguel Amaral believes that ‘as long as people communicate openly and things are talked through, brands should be able to ask for what they want from bloggers. ‘As to what concerns the blogger, he suggests

‘a very clear initial presentation of objectives and added value for the brand’

are important, as well as a portfolio that showcases their professional career. 

 

 ©  Miguel Silva Rocha

Luís Figueiredo states that ‘they follow the blogs they collaborate with on a regular basis and have a small team who stays in touch with the bloggers and focus on keeping a relationship with them’.

To conclude, Susana Coerver comments that ‘the amount of information out there today is enourmous and therefore, you must make decisions. When you do, there will inevitably be roads not taken.’ And she offers this piece of advice: ‘keep it simple, know where you want to go, decide which way to go and keep it real. ‘All in all, ‘nothing gets more likes than what is real, what is authentic’.