The #SephoraSquad initiative saw over 15,000 applicants for just 24 spots, making it the most successful influencer recruitment campaign ever.
In most cases, when a brand wants to collaborate with an influencer it becomes a long and complicated process to: find the right creators, agree on terms, educate them on the brand guidelines, coach them on the products and, finally, review and approve the content they produce. Not for Sephora however. The brand chose to turn things upside down and let influencers apply for one of twenty-four spots in their #SephoraSquad.
Members of the #SephoraSquad will have an ongoing relationship with the brand, creating content, promoting products and even weighing in on Sephora’s future advertising campaigns. After 15,000 creators applied, 24 were selected to form the initiative’s first roster.
The select few are a diverse mix in gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, and even follower count. Sephora chose to also welcome creators with 10,000 followers or less. That being said, the squad also includes seasoned influencers like Christina Vega, Kali Kushner, Erick Glam, Grace Atwood, and Christine Le.
Deborah Yeh, Sephora’s CMO, said the company received over 24,000 applications, giving birth to a real social community: “We’ve always been thinking about how to make sure that our marketing mix is a contemporary and relevant for our consumers. These are people relationships, and the best people relationships aren’t quick a quick date—they are longer-term relationships. We felt like there was an opportunity for us to really build a longitudinal set of discussions with influencers.”
At at time where the legitimacy of influencers comes into doubt, Sephora chose to focus on diversity and authenticity rather than follower counts. So to choose their first ever #SephoraSquad members, the company did not look at the traditional vanity metrics, but asked each applicant to produce testimonials from their followers on how much an impact their content really has had on them.
Quality always beats quantity – at least when it comes to real influence.