If the last year has shone a light on anything, it’s the fact that a great product, great brand, great experience, great store, great website and great app just isn’t enough for the average consumer these days. Now, you have to have good moral values, too. Who’d have thought?

As a result, many brands have now started to shift their strategies to better align with their consumers. Case in point: Victoria’s Secret.

The lingerie brand has long stuck to its somewhat traditional guns on the topics of diversity and inclusivity, keeping to a – shall we say – conventional roster of models.

Now, they have switched up their strategy, dumping their angels for diversity, questioning the traditional stereotypes not just of what sexy looks like, but how different societal values can represent a new kind of sexy.

Megan Rapinoe, football star and gender campaigner, Eileen Gu, a 17-year-old Chinese American freestyle skier, biracial model Paloma Elsesser, and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, an Indian actor and tech investor have all been signed up.

But the question is: will people buy the sudden moral awakening?

 

Controversial is the new black (according to both Victoria’s Secret and Megan Rapinoe, anyway).

 

One thing’s for sure: influencers still hold their power, as proved by a certain well-pruned Portuguese footballer a few weeks back.

Ronaldo’s removal of two bottles of Coca Cola from a Euro 2020 press conference table – suggesting people should instead drink “Agua” – wiped $4 billion off the  share price, making it refreshingly clear that influencers can do you both good and harm.

We won’t hold our breath about him turning down that KFC pay check, mind you.

IKEA responded faster than it would take to build one of their ÖRFJÄLL Swivel Chairs, with their Cristiano bottle ad – reusable for water only.

 

IKEA quickly demonstrated the beauty of reactive marketing, as they weighed in on the Ronaldo vs Coca Cola saga.

 

There’s one simple reason Ronnie shifted those Cola bottles: they felt disingenuous. And there’s been a new kind of influencer bubbling under the surface for some time now for the exact same reason.

With consumers increasingly savvy to the often disingenuous world of influencers, comes the arrival of the ‘Genuinfluencer’ who hold influence due to their real, genuine attributes and passions.

Gucci found their green-fingered genuinfluencer in retired fisherman Gerald Stratford aka the ‘Veg King’; who partnered with the luxury brand for the Gucci Off The Grid collection, following his rise to fame for his notably large veggies (no innuendo intended).

Another brand keeping it genuine is Skittles, who gave up the rainbow in limited-edition Skittles Pride Packs, with $1 from each pack to be donated to GLAAD. They also launched ‘QueeR codes’ to shine a light on LGBTQ+ creators – using their platform to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.

Meanwhile, filter-free beauty app Supergreat is paving the way to embracing beauty of all shapes and sizes – Gen Z in particular being strong advocates for an authentic, filter-free life.

A different kind of influencer: Oxfordshire pensioner Gerald “The Veg King”.

 

And it’s not just authenticity that’s building value in the eyes of customers, but exclusivity too – especially with Gen Zers.

Bragging rights are increasing in value, and the desire to own rare products and one-offs is becoming more attractive by the day.

A Chinese court suspended an online auction last week after a collectible Yu-Gi-Oh! game card reached an eye-watering 87 million yuan ($13.4 million USD).

US sales of collectible trading cards were up 142% last year, and with a 100% increase in the sale of Pokemon cards, you really do need to catch ‘em all before they sell out.

Meanwhile, Lanvin’s Blind Boxes have been taking the Pokemon-principle to the lux market in China: consumers buy a box containing a mystery product, and can open anything from a voucher for a limited edition silk scarf to handbags worth thousands.

 

It’s a trendy kind of promotion, which satisfies the psychology of curiosity and adventure.”- Gu Huimin, Tourism Professor at Beijing International

 


So kiss goodbye to the days of fake influencers, because authenticity has never been more important – it’s all about keeping things real to build long-term, meaningful connections.

If you haven’t already, check out our latest project with Under Armour – their most premium flagship store to date – which opened its doors in The Dubai Mall.

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