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IMRG Online Retailer Interview: La Perla

A Q&A with Emma Hooper, Global PR & Social Media Manager, La Perla

We spoke to Emma about working with influencers, innovative marketing campaigns, and looking after the social media presence of an aspirational brand

In your own words, tell us about La Perla

La Perla is a luxury lingerie brand with fantastic heritage. We’re seen as leaders in our sector and in fashion overall. We have really high standards. Everything we create, conceptualise, and execute has to be at the highest standard to reflect the expectations of our customer.

More specific to my role, in social and digital, we’re constantly innovating. I’m currently looking into lots of interesting influencer partnerships and digital campaigns, and it’s something which we’re working hard on this year to lead in the modern digital space and make sure that we’re way ahead.

What are your biggest challenges in 2019?

A huge part of my role is to educate the people around me in the workplace. A big part of my job, no matter which business I’ve been with, has always been to ensure that other parts of the business understand just how amazing this marketing tool is now and the many ways it can help promote and amplify so many points of a business: everything from how to style our pieces, to our unrivalled heritage and craftsmanship.

Woman in red nightdress

Take me through your social media strategy

As I mentioned, we’re looking into a lot of influencer marketing right now. We’re also looking into paid campaigns, the ways in which we can loop in PR and media outlets with our social media, as well as the most fruitful ways of working with influencers and making sure that’s something we always capitalise on.

Not to give everything away of course, but we’re planning a strategy that is unique. There’s nothing we’re copying. It’s all new patterns and different ideas I’ve found through my year at La Perla, now having a great understanding of our audience. Just as in all other parts of the business, I always want us to lead, not follow.

Are you able to see any kind of ROI with social media?

Last year was a positive year for ROI on social media. I joined the team in April 2018, and since then we’ve seen a really positive conversion rate and increase in traffic to the website, as well as lots of boutique activations. I work across events and PR as well as social media, and getting people interested in the brand naturally aids social media success, as well as, of course, reaching those KPI’s.

Our boutiques are particularly important to us, because they’re important to our customer. Our boutiques are a huge part of the luxury La Perla experience our customer knows and loves us for. Having said that, naturally, digital is at the front of my mind and equally as important to the business. One side helps the other and we’re working in harmony right now; that’s certainly the plan going forward too.

Model in lingerie

Would you say your stores are the primary point of interest?

Our boutiques are a big part of our brand, but we’re moving beyond that too. We’ve got a very successful website, and we’re consistently looking at different ways we can optimise that. Social media has become a huge focus, and all digital channels are a priority. Whenever I meet with journalists or influencers, or anyone that’s outside of the brand that wants to come in, I always take them to the store: I know it’s going to be a beautiful experience. It’s a fantastic place to showcase the brand.

What do you consider your most successful campaign to be?

In general, we’ve worked with influencers a lot more, which is something which wasn’t being done too heavily before I arrived. It’s something I’m certainly looking forward to doing more this year.

We also launched a fantastic Christmas campaign named The Holiday Atelier. This really honed in on the craftsmanship. We catered to all our main customer groups: a shop-for-him, shop-for-her, and divided those into sectors. The overriding message for this campaign being, instead of giving gifts, if you give La Perla you are giving ‘classics’, or ‘uniqueness’, or ‘romance’. It was more like giving a feeling to someone you care about, which we found emphasised the whole boutique experience our customers love in a digital space too.

In any way we could, we replicated that online. For example, I ran a lot of different Facebook campaigns around this communication all targeted to those particular demographics who suited that particular buy.

Designing lace

How do your customers engage with you through social media?

We get a good mixture of everything when it comes to engagement. We get tagged in 50 or 60 images every few hours on Instagram. There’s a lot of sharing from our audience: I think when someone buys something from La Perla they feel particularly proud of it, and social media is a great place to shout about that. We get a lot of comments on our images. A comment is a really valuable piece of engagement and information for me – I’m always keen to see them as we can share these with the whole business. Feedback is so useful, particularly via social media.

Also, people love to share our La Perla posts across all channels without much encouragement at all. Engagement on our social channels comes quite naturally which speaks volumes about how people in the social media space see our brand. It shows people look to us as aspirational – something people want to share and engage with – and they want the people that follow them to see they’re associated with us.

With a brand like La Perla, it’s quite an easy feat on social media engagement-wise. We maintain a consistent level of novelty within our content. Our follower rate in particular is something which I’ve never really seen before: having worked both agency and in-house with many different luxury brands in the past, I’ve not seen such an engaged audience as I have at La Perla on social media.

Do you take your customers’ perspectives into account when deciding your next campaign?

Absolutely. Social media is a place where people aren’t afraid to give their honest opinion. They’ll say exactly what they think about a model you’ve posted, and they want to know every last part about the work that goes into a garment we’re promoting.

It’s a very useful space where we can share that feedback with the rest of the business – it’s always good to see. And although we’ve not got this narrow-minded view where everyone who follows us on social media is a customer (because they’re absolutely not), it’s definitely a great view of our customer-base to see what’s resonating well with them.

We’ve got such a lot of heritage with our brand that I often have people comment about things such as, ‘this lace is amazing; I remember 30 years ago I bought a nightgown which used that same lace and it brought me such joy’. People love to hear of the detail in all we do.

Lace bra

How effective are your brand ambassadors in extending the reach of La Perla?

They’re fantastic. We’ve actually got a really great ambassador programme I work with that joins digital and physical experiences at La Perla particularly well. We work with interesting taste-makers, socialites, or influencers from the local areas near our boutiques.

First up, they’ll help us launch an event. And they’ll bring along their crowd, who are, of course, likely to be La Perla customers. They help to promote us as much as possible, and we work with them on lots of different concepts and campaigns. With this activity we’re working with the customer as well as someone who will tell the story to others, in person and online.

The people who are on board with us as part of the ambassador programme are La Perla fans themselves and they’re really active with promoting us on social media and talking about us to their friends, as well as bringing in new influencers through their own networks, which works really well for us. It’s not something I’ve done before with other brands, but it works so well with La Perla.

We also get an awful lot of requests from people who are looking to work with us as influencers. And on the flipside of that, we reach out to a lot of people to help us out as influencers, too. Influencer marketing is such a saturated area on social media, but if you do it well, and have it as genuine as possible, it can really benefit your brand.

That’s the position we find ourselves in: anyone who wants to work with us wants to talk about the craftsmanship, the detail, the story behind the items. Each piece and every collection tells a story. It’s a really nice piece of content to share: no matter what stance they come from engagement-wise, people are always really keen to tell our story once they know it.

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