Marks and Spencer’s involvement with bloggers has grown over the past couple of seasons, starting with a few Instagram pictures at M&S press days and peaking in January when every blogger worth knowing was storying the whole M&S spring/summer collection straight from the event. Getting bloggers on board with the new collections is a great strategy, giving the public chance to see the collections early and drive interest in products before they’re released.
Another initiative last year was that M&S invited influencers to select their “must-haves”. I followed various bloggers on Instagram as they visited M&S to select their top 5 pieces of the season, which included bloggers of every shape and style imaginable. Not only did it help the public to see which items were new and on trend from the collections, but they were then styled by the bloggers when they wore them over the following weeks, giving followers ideas on styling and how to make the pieces work in their own wardrobes.
The blogger phenomenon has stepped up another gear this year with 7 bloggers being invited to design and create their own shoe. Bloggers Fran Bacon (@thefashion_lift), Erica Davies (@erica_davies), Natalie Lee (@stylemesunday), Kat Farmer (@doesmybumlook40), Danielle Vanier (@daniellevanier), Zoe de Pass (@dresslikeamum), and Emily Johnston (@emilyjanejohnston) have been part of the creative process to design their dream shoes. There is a shoe to appeal to everyone, and it gives followers even more opportunity to secure a piece of their favourite bloggers wardrobe. My favourite styles are The Fran and The Natalie which are absolutely beautiful and I can’t wait to get my hands on them when they’re released.
The strategy M&S are creating by cultivating the relationships with these bloggers is very clever, and not something I have seen many other brands do at this level. Paid Partnerships,“#ad”and “#gift” are becoming more common with brands and visibility of relationships are becoming more transparent, but this is more than a one off partnership, it feels like M&S are creating a longevity to these relationships with fresh ideas. This week Next sent their denim collection to a number of bloggers to choose and promote their favourite pairs, and I think this is the start of other brands beginning to work with bloggers in a way that allows them to select items from their collections that suit their personal style and will appeal to followers, more than a specified product ad could. I’m excited to see which brands follow this strategy next, and where M&S will take these relationships too but most of all I’d like an invite to the M&S press day so I don’t have to watch everyone else there!
I’d be really interested to hear what you think of the role of bloggers in marketing and whether you have noticed any other brands taking advantage of this?