MIC’d Up: Is #SephoraSquad Bringing Authenticity Back to Influencer Marketing?

At March Communications, we’re passionate about turning innovation inside out. We don’t care about what was, we care about what is, what’s next and the brands that have the nerve to pursue it. MIC’d Up celebrates the consumer tech adrenaline junkies across wellness, retail, automotive, you name it – innovators and players that took a concept, saw the red flags, and still opted for the rush of a game-changing idea. Each week we’re taking a hard look at the aha moments, whether they’re fully integrated, “how the hell did they think of that” campaigns or single tweets that start movements. If it’s cool, it’s here. 

Marketing is changing, and there’s a new god to worship. Goes by the name of Influencer. Now, Traditional Marketing still has its followers, but prophesizing through massive billboards and pestering telemarketers is a dying practice. In the latest brand bible, influence and relatability rule all.

The newest clergyman – Sephora. Have you heard of their #SephoraSquad campaign?

Officially labeled as a “beauty-influencer program,” #SephoraSquad has weeded through thousands of applications and selected the most authentic and inspiring voices in the digital beauty space. The unique campaign has championed “sorry-not-sorry” influencers to share their “beauty truths” in exchange for a paid one-year contract with Sephora, free products, professional coaching, content collaboration opportunities, repost consideration and more.

The campaign screams authenticity. By selecting a roster of diverse, knowledgeable and bold consumers to represent their squad, Sephora has made all the right moves. But, is this campaign really… “real”? Every consumer had the opportunity to apply, so the positioning is of a truly democratized brand – one for all people, by all people. But, strip away the fancy alliterations, millennial-tailored graphics, and enhanced UI, and we have to wonder the extent to which Sephora is dictating this conversation – are they just combing through a treasure trove of content to find that perfectly controlled brand message?

The most effective influencer campaigns are those that promote real opinions from real people. Influencers act as a buffer for brand jargon, and consumers have come to expect honest content from those they follow.

Are you listening, Sephora? Brand authenticity is on the line – let the Squad speak! I’ll be following 😉


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