Cultivating Brand Passion with Sephora’s Emeline Berlind

June 24, 2019

By Molly Knol

ANA

Ahead of her session at the 2019 ANA Digital & Social Media Conference, Emeline Berlind, VP of content strategy at Sephora, sat down with us to share her thoughts on building brand loyalty and spotlighting Sephora's diverse community of fans.

 

Q. Sephora's clients have so much love for the brand. How do you cultivate that sort of die-hard fandom?

We love how passionate our clients are about Sephora. At the end of the day, every decision we make as an organization comes down to what will improve or enhance the client experience at Sephora so it's incredibly rewarding to know that what we're doing is resonating.

Our culture has always been rooted in cultivating diversity, inclusivity, and empowerment in beauty — that comes through in the in-store experience, the product assortment we offer, the classes we host, our loyalty programs, our social communities, etc. I would say it's the sum of the many different touchpoints that serve to teach, excite and inspire our clients — the total omni-experience at Sephora — that has helped to create that sense of belonging and loyalty.

 

Q. The recently-launched influencer partnership, #SephoraSquad, was cast through applications and testimonials from the influencer's own audience members. Why was that selection process important?

It's easy to fill a bench of talented players, but it was important to us that we go beyond the surface and dig deeper into the influencers' impact on their followers. We wanted their community, and by extension our beauty community, to decide who got a seat on that bench.

The testimonials were a key factor in choosing the final Squad. It was imperative to us that the squad was as authentic as possible, and who better to give input than the people in their communities that have followed their journeys from the start.

We really see our #SephoraSquad as an extension of how Sephora is a reliable, trusted resource to people all along their beauty journey. And for us, the proof was in the process. We had close to 16,000 applications and 240,000 testimonials!

 

Q. The Sephora Squad is not a limited campaign or about one-off influencer content. Why did Sephora choose to invest in longer-term partnerships with the squad? Do you think more brands need to focus on cultivating relationships with influencers?

We have worked with influencers in a variety of ways, both as a retailer with our own story expression and as a retail partner to our brand partner programming. Because of that unique composition and cross section of the shared landscape, influencers participate in our campaigns, as content companions for brand launches and as our featured guests at a press event, store event or community activation like Sephoria.

Our goal with influencers has always been focused on creating a modern connection that celebrates beauty inclusivity. We view our partners as trusted ambassadors of Sephora, a part of our community. In order for us to produce the best content together, it's important that we invest in the relationship itself, and work together in a genuine and caring way. We partnered with the Fohr agency on this to ensure that this connection was well thought through and consistent. In alignment with Sephora's culture of learning and support, the #SephoraSquad will also benefit from our immersive support network and cultivate their career goals. Part family, part mentor, part business internship, including peer and professional coaching, networking events, content collaboration, product collaboration discussions, early access to products first at Sephora, and more.

With the launch of #SephoraSquad, our first large scale influencer program, our goal is to take consumers on the full journey and experience the multi-faceted world of beauty through the unique lens of our influencers.

 

Q. The influencers in Sephora Squad are incredibly diverse. Was that a conscious decision to reflect Sephora's client base?

Absolutely! At Sephora we have long been champions of inclusive beauty and creating a culture where everyone feels welcome. Our approach to the #SephoraSquad is no different. All voices were heard — everyone had a chance to raise their hand and be a part of the process with us. The #SephoraSquad is an amplification of the wonderful community of voices, perspectives, and experiences that exist in beauty today. They're a reflection of our own clients, our Beauty Insider community, and the beauty and wellness community at large.

The #SephoraSquad are talented individuals who are advocates not only for beauty, but also positivity, self-esteem, kindness, and courage. And their audience is connected to that authenticity — it's real life to have issues, challenges and wins. We're here for all of it.

We've recently kicked off the process to expand #SephoraSquad to our own Beauty Advisors, and we're really looking forward to continuing to engage and grow our influencer community.


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