Swarovski and Tiffany & Co. are two brands synonymous with luxury and tradition. The former was conceived in 1985 by Daniel Swarovski in Austria, and the latter was founded even earlier in 1837 by Charles Lewis and John Young in New York City. Both are jewelry giants, employing upwards of 7,000 people and generating billions in sales each year. In the following case study, we’ll compare influencer marketing campaigns from both brands and explore how each leverages influencers to reach different ends.
The luxury goods industry itself is incredibly lucrative. Globally, from top-tier jewelry and cosmetics to cars, it generates more than $570 billion each year and attracts consumers with money to spend. As the popularity of luxury goods continues to grow brands within the space are looking for new ways to separate themselves from competitors. The use of social media influencers, in particular, has allowed luxury brands of all types to position themselves as simultaneously aspirational and attainable to consumers.
One of America’s most prominent luxury jewelry brands, Tiffany & Co. is best known for its trademark blue box. From engagement rings to diamond necklaces, the brand epitomizes elegance and affluence. To firmly position itself as a purveyor of luxury goods and simultaneously a trending, forward-thinking brand Tiffany & Co. enlisted the help of four influencers for a diverse influencer campaign. All four are between the ages of 18 and 27-years, either Millennials or Gen Zers, and each maintains upwards of one million Instagram followers. Each posted between one and two sponsored Instagram posts showcasing Tiffany & Co. jewelry.
Given that Tiffany & Co. has manufactured jewelry for nearly 200 years, many might consider the brand to be either out of their price range or highly traditionalist. By partnering with model Kendall Jenner (@kendalljenner), dancer and musician Maddie Ziegler (@maddieziegler), travel influencer Jack Morris (@doyoutravel), and actress Yara Shahidi (@yarashidi) specifically, the brand firmly plants itself in the here and now. The brand also exposes itself to millennial and Gen Z consumers that might pass up its business for younger, but equally high-end jewelry brands.
Without question, Kendall Jenner (@kendalljenner) is a celebrity influencer in a class entirely of her own. Few others yield the influence of potentially reaching 90.8 million people via a single Instagram post. Jenner offers Tiffany & Co. the benefits of all celebrity influencers — namely enormous brand exposure — as well as specific advantages as a popular figure in the fashion industry. Jenner drives consumer interests and trends and is the ultimate social media tastemaker.
Notably, Jenner is 22-years-old and sits on the dividing line between the Gen Z and millennial generations. She regularly partners with brands popular among younger demographics, such as Adidas and Revolve. In partnering with her, Tiffany & Co. gains access to her audience who likely holds a similar interest in fashion and is likely of a similar age. Jenner’s Tiffany & Co. endorsement serves as a stamp of approval and signifies to consumers that the brand is complementary to other millennial-centric retailers like Adidas.
In collaboration with Tiffany & Co. Jenner posted two sponsored Instagram photos, the higher performing of the two which showcases the socialite at the 2018 Met Gala. Though Jenner doesn’t highlight a specific piece of Tiffany & Co jewelry users can buy or offer a clear call to action, her post serves a higher purpose for the brand. It strengthens associations between Tiffany & Co. and enduring style.
By aligning itself with the Met Gala, an exclusive event that subverts tradition and promotes fashion risk-taking, Tiffany & Co. attaches itself to ideas of luxury and innovation, a sentiment likely to appeal to Gen Z and millennial audiences. As a trendsetter for younger generations, Jenner serves to reaffirm this connection.
Similar to Tiffany & Co., Swarovski is a storied jewelry maker famous for its luxury offerings. However, compared to Tiffany & Co., the Austrian brand tends to offer high-end jewelry at a slightly lower price point. The most expensive necklace available on its website is priced at $999. Comparably, Tiffany & Co. offers numerous necklaces priced at over $2,000.
In keeping with its affordable-luxury ethos, Swarovski targeted a subset of consumers likely able to afford its jewelry, Millennials. To do so, the brand partnered with millennial Instagram influencers and capitalized on Mother’s Day. Unlike Tiffany & Co., which advertised various product offerings, Swarovski marketed its Mother’s Day Collection exclusively, which is made up of jewelry all priced at $199 or less. Of the 19 influencers involved, 13 were micro-influencers with less than 100,000 followers and 6 were macro-influencers with upwards of 100,000 followers.
28-year-old fashion blogger Melissa Celestine Koh (@melissackoh) was one of the campaigns top performers. In partnership with Swarovski, she posted two sponsored Instagram photos. One showcases Koh gifting her mom Swarovski earrings and another features the mother-daughter duo wearing the matching earrings.
Koh’s Instagram feed is a colorful conglomeration of fashion and travel-centric images. In the past, she has partnered with high-end brands among the likes of Estee Lauder and Carolina Herrera. Nevertheless, her feed is in no way reserved exclusively for luxury brands. She also boasts past sponsorships with more affordable fashion and accessories retailers like Coach and Reebok. Her past partnerships suggest that a collaboration with Swarovski is one her audience is likely to welcome or even expect.
One can also gather from Koh’s Instagram feed that her audience likely holds an appreciation for both middle-end and high-end goods, as this is the content one followers her page to see. By partnering with her, Swarovski gains access to a fashion-centric audience with high-end taste, exactly the type of consumer likely interested in buying its products.
In the higher performing of Koh’s two sponsored photos, she presents her mom with a pair of Swarovski earrings for Mother’s Day. By doing so, she frames Swarovski jewelry as an ideal gift followers can buy for their mothers on Mother’s Day. By tagging the official Swarovski (@swarovski) Instagram account she also drives website visits and product purchases. Pointedly, in the photo Koh wears the same Swarovski earrings herself, subtly emphasizing to users that the brand’s Mother’s Day collection is appropriate for anyone.