Anna Louise Wright Q&A
I’m Anna Louise the Brand Marketing Executive at Lola’s Lashes. I became obsessed with all things fashion and beauty and knew I wanted to take it into my career while working on the Glasgow University Charity Fashion Show (GUCFS) both as Head of Social Media and Director of Marketing. I went on to get my Masters degree with Distinction in International Fashion Marketing and here we are, living the dream, working in the beauty industry!
My current role focuses on Influencer Marketing and Relationship Management with incredible talents and creators. I work closely with influencers, agencies, managers (I get to spend my days speaking to amazing people!) on collaborations and content for Lola’s Lashes. Recently, I developed Lola’s Lashes brand ambassador program, Icons of Lola’s. This program focuses on longer-term partnerships with creators and is one of my favourite parts of the job. It’s rewarding to watch our icons grow and being able to support them as they do. It’s pretty iconic!
First and foremost, do you want to give us a bit of background about yourself and what you do at Lola’s Lashes?
Anna Louise: I am a Brand Marketing Executive at Lola’s Lashes, I focus on influencer partnerships and the management of all of our influencer programs, including outreach and discovery. I then take that and work closely with our in-house editing team and decide what content we share on our channels. I’d say the main part of my role is relationship management and it’s my favourite part of the role. It’s the most amazing thing about being in the industry, meeting all these amazing content creators and agents, as well as working with other brands. I also do a lot of the email communications and oversee Lola’s Lashes tone of voice.
Do you want to give us a bit of a breakdown of Lola’s Lashes?
Anna Louise: We are a premium, false eyelash brand and we mainly focus on magnetic lashes. Magnetic lashes have changed the game. You put the eyeliner on, wait until it dries and then the lashes attach to it. I honestly couldn’t believe it the first time I tried. There are tiny magnets on the lash that magnetise to the liner and then they snap right on! I would say what distinguishes Lola’s Lashes is, obviously they are magnetic, but also, they are 100% cruelty-free and vegan. The magnetic range appeals to a wider audience. Then we also do the Flick & Stick adhesive eyeliner that we released in April last year and that was an answer to what our customers were feeding back to us. They love the magnetic liner system, but they wanted a clear liner which isn’t possible to make, so we came up with the adhesive liner. So that’s who we are, a global independent false eyelash brand who are based in the UK.
Can you tell us about Lola’s Lashes’ experience of influencer marketing?
Anna Louise: I’ve only been in the industry a year, which is quite exciting, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. I would say as a start-up, what we do with influencer marketing is quite different from what you would maybe see big brands doing. Something that we focus on a lot with influencer marketing is cementing those relationships with micro and mid-level influencers. That is super important in what we do, making sure that the relationship between the brand and the influencer is at the heart of it all. That’s how we have built up our whole network of influencers, through the discovery of who we want to work with, outreaching to them and creating a genuine relationship. We want to work with people that want to work with us and luckily that’s worked out so far! In Q4 last year we started macro partnerships and more paid collaborations, which for us as a start-up, was our first moment of realising what we are going to do in influencer marketing and who we are going to work with. At Lola’s Lashes we cater for everyone from MUAs to our novice customers who haven’t tried false eyelashes before and this is reflective of the influencers we choose to work with. For me, that is what is so lovely about it, I get to create relationships with a lot of different people!
What challenges have you had when working with influences?
Anna Louise: I would say there are a few challenges. Personally, I have a friendly relationship with influencers. I really love what I do, building relationships with amazing people and getting to know each individual. It’s rewarding to watch them grow and be part of their journey! As a consumer, looking in on the way brands work with influencers, there’s definitely a saturation in the market and that is a challenge when working in the industry. In my everyday role, I get a lot of people reaching out to me asking to work with us, saying we love your brand and the challenge is sifting through all these messages and realising there are so many influencers out there and they all do amazing things but the challenge is deciding who you want to work with and who fits for your brand. But also, you want to give people the opportunities while maintaining who you are as a brand. Another challenge is finding genuine authenticity and I put a lot of focus on that. You can read if an influencer isn’t genuinely in love with a product and as a small independent brand, I think maintaining that genuine authenticity is exactly what we want to do. One of my biggest challenges is the size of the industry and the ever-growing influencer market, and that’s just increased in lock-down because more people are trying their hand at influencing.
Do you have any dream influencers that you would love to work with?
Anna Louise: We worked with the celebrity makeup artist Emma Osborne and she actually used our lashes on Michelle Visage, who is hands down my dream collaboration, it’s someone that I would love to work with on a longer-term basis. In terms of Lola’s Lashes, I know we would really love to work with Mrs. Hinch and Stacey Solomon. We actually got an organic mention from Mrs. Hinch and we saw first-hand how much influence she has. What resonates about Mrs. Hinch and Stacey Solomon is that they are genuine and authentic to who they are and that’s the way they influence.
What would your advice be for aspiring influencer marketing managers when they are exploring the industry and how they should work with people?
Anna Louise: The biggest piece of advice is to understand who your customer is and what they like because although social media is a big part of what we do, there are so many different audiences across all of those platforms and there are so many different audiences that are attracted to your page. So, it’s balancing that and deciding what’s your strategy. Who am I going to outreach to, who do I want to work with and who’s going to make the biggest impact and raise the most awareness for the brand? As a start-up, we spent the first few months discovering and outreaching to influencers and we got a feel for what content the customer liked and now that we have that we can take this information and we’ve built an ambassador program around the influencers we know our customers love. A good bit of advice would be not to just jump at any opportunity that’s presented to you. Every day you’re presented with loads of different opportunities and management reaching out to you and they all have amazing talent. You shouldn’t just see a name and pay to work with them because of that name. We’ve got to take the time to assess these great options, do they work for us and will that give us what we need? So, in Q4 last year, we did a lot of paid collaborations, but we did them with different sorts of influencers and that’s something that was really good because it gave us an idea of what worked or who our audience was obsessed with! So, that would definitely be my biggest bit of advice, don’t just jump at the name.
What would you like to see from the future of the influencer industry?
Anna Louise: An ongoing thing is a sense of transparency within the industry. That’s something that it really lacks and that’s from a brand perspective and a consumer perspective. Similar to what I was saying about not jumping at every influencer that comes to you, I feel like I would love to see influencers not jump at every opportunity that comes at them. I know from my experience of working with different influencers, a lot of these people, and their management, say they only do a certain number of paid partnerships per week because they want to stay authentic and genuine for their audience. The market is very saturated, and I think that’s only going to continue the more people see the way the influencer industry works. For some people, it’s their dream job and I would say that in order for that to be a sustainable path and choice, we have to be smart about the moves that we make and the kind of relationships we’re working with. In terms of the influencer industry in general, I would say that mid and micro-influencers are going to become a lot more prominent in brand strategy. We’ve worked with Samantha Harvey who had 5,000 followers when we originally reached out to her and since then she’s grown to over 60,000 followers and is continuing to grow super-fast. For me, the relationship is genuine, so I as a Brand Marketing Executive, I enjoy watching her grow and I’m proud of everything she has achieved. So, for me, it’s those relationships that do more for a brand than necessarily getting macro influencers on board. Obviously, I think that macros are super important as well, but I do see a lot more brands focusing on their network and the group of influencers whose content is engaging.
Whose job is it to create this transparency and to set standards in the industry?
Anna Louise: It’s something you’re not going to get from everyone, not everyone works the same. I hold myself to certain standards with the way in which I communicate. It’s on an individual and it’s on a brand to be transparent. We’re a start-up and we didn’t have the resources that maybe some bigger brands do, and I think being transparent about what we can offer and discussing it in that way always leads to a really positive outcome in the end. It’s also up to the influencers to be transparent about what they are going to produce and how that partnership will work because I do believe that longer-term partnerships are going to become a lot more prominent than one-offs, so this transparency will be key.
We are always ready for a challenge