Why Coachella Is Important for Fashion Brands

April 15, 2016

11:12 am

All eyes (and ears) are on the desert this week as Coachella, the world’s largest music festival, kicks off in California – unofficially launching “festival season” worldwide. The outdoor showcase, expected to bring more than half a million trendsetters to Palm Springs over the next two weekends between Coachella and Stagecoach, has become as much a force for fashion as it has for music, luring brands like H&M, Jimmy Choo and Sephora to become official sponsors – with fees starting in the mid-six-figure range and edging into the low seven figures, according to a recent article by The Hollywood Reporter.

These fees indicate how paramount a presence at Coachella has become for fashion brands looking to capitalize on the festival’s impressive reach — not just in terms of attendees, but also with media. Fashion, lifestyle and beauty publications ranging from Vogue to New York Magazine have made the festival a must-cover event.

For brands without a million-dollar budget (and also for those who prefer a more organic approach than official sponsorship), Coachella has become a prime influencer marketing opportunity. The social media accounts of top influencers reach hundreds of thousands of potential customers who look to these trendsetters even more than they do celebrities for real fashion advice, making a collaboration one of the most effective ways to market new looks ahead of the summer retail season.

✌?️more daysss ???who's going??? tag your #coachellacrew below. See you there!!?

A photo posted by Paola Alberdi (@blankitinerary) on

Moreover, bloggers have increasingly become their own form of celebrity, drawing the attention of fashion magazines. The looks of Paola Alberdi, for example, and influencer whose Instagram following tops 280,000, appeared in New York Magazine’s The Cut, Harper’s Bazaar and Refinery 29 over the course of last year’s festival, adding exposure to the labels she wore.

For fashion brands looking to capitalize on the Coachella fashion phenomenon, we recommend these quick tips:

Use Multiple Influencers

When part of Coachella’s appeal is its sheer size, it can help to “divide and conquer.” Collaborating with multiple mid-range influencers can have as great an impact as working with a single celebrity, allowing brands to reach different social circles and age groups within a single campaign.

Gift Festival-Goers

Gifting influencers who are likely to attend multiple festivals can also extend your exposure as they repeat their favorite outfits. Since Coachella kicks off the season ahead of festivals like Governor’s Ball, Bonnaroo and Electric Daisy, bloggers are likely to tag most-loved pieces more than once.

Think Across All Channels

Most fashion brands are already keyed into the power of Instagram, but other channels have proven equally powerful. Tweets related to Coachella surpassed 3.5 million, according to Billboard – three times the tweets of SXSW. YouTube now has more than 1.5 million videos on the festival. For a sensory experience like music, the number of channels that influencers use increases, and likewise, viewers are more likely to search for news in different formats. Choose influencers who are strong across all networks for the greatest impact.

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Kim Westwood is the Founder and Managing Director of Shopping Links, a global influencer and content marketplace for Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle brands. Having managed 850+ collaborations since launching in 2014, Shopping Links actively works with Fortune 500 retailers and brands such as MARKS & SPENCER, Macy's and Folli Follie, with a focus on aligning brands with influencers who share their target audience. Through a personally vetted network of 14,000+ influencers from 103 countries, Kim and her team have worked with 450 bloggers for a single brand. Shopping Links won the Business Services category at the 2016 Governor of Victoria Export Award and has been named to Anthill Magazine's SMART100 Index of most innovative Australian companies.