Rock Rose Digital, Shrewsbury, Shropshire.


Rock Rose Digital blog

Here you’ll find my musings about all things social media, building a brand, female empowerment and everything in-between. Expect plenty of tips, myth-debunking, client case studies and personal insights into my very own business journey.

How to launch a brand and work with influencers…(Or not)

Have you heard of Arii? Well, me neither until last week. She’s a social media influencer with 2.6 million followers, who last week launched brand Era and made headlines, for all of the wrong reasons. After just 13 days she pulled her new range of clothing, with no sign of it ever existing on her social media now other than an apology. The reason? She’d only sold 36 units.

Yup. 2,600,600 million people only bought 36 items between them.

When it comes to launching a brand and working with influencers there’s a bit of an unwritten rule of how to do things. I think it’s safe to say, Arii threw the rule book out of the window (not in a good way) and her naivety really shows.

A lot of people are jumping straight to criticise the influencer marketing industry, claiming the bubble has burst. The term "influencer" has become a dirty word, but used well as brand advocates and business champions, they can be the most valuable asset in generating growth.

Let’s unpick what really went on with Arii and the lessons we can learn:

Have a good product

Rule one of launching a new range of stuff is to make sure it’s good quality stuff people actually want. The general reaction online is that these clothes weren’t great. Poor quality garments with an equally poor logo on. Not inspirational or desirable. Kinda reminds me of those fcuk t-shirts circa 2003.

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Have an aesthetic aligned with your audience

Elaborating on the 1st point a little - not only ensure a good quality product, but one that is on-brand with your aesthetic. The product images stick out for miles on her feed, and are disjointed from the personal aesthetic she’s built and her followers enjoy. You can't imagine her genuinely wearing her garments in real life because they're not related to her style, so why would her audience buy them?

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Grow a community, not a following

Yes, 2.6 million followers is an insane amount. But having numbers to rival the Kardashians doesn’t mean an awful lot if they’re not engaging, and not real. A little digging shows only 57% of her audience are authentic accounts. And whilst her engagement levels look strong, it’s questionable how real they are too if she has so many fake followers.

You can also see her captions are lacking in any real gumption or opinion, making the account a bit flat with no real pull for following her.

Don’t chase the numbers, build a genuine community and give people a reason to follow!


Promote your product

Looking at her grid and online analysis of her stories leading up to the launch, there were 2 organic posts promoting her new range - just 2. And these 2 were just about her product, not her wearing it either. This isn’t including any paid adverts, but if you’re launching a brand, you want to be making some noise about it so all of your followers know what you’re doing, building anticipation and driving lust around your product line. The whisper Arii made is barely a fart in the breeze.

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Some pessimists are questioning whether she actually intended for this to happen. They're expecting a come back in a few months proving all the lessons learnt with a hard-hustling entrepreneur angle. I guess time will tell.

Need a pre-launch pair of hands to make sure you don't miss the mark on the brand launch basics like Arii? I have a few consultation dates for June and July left, let's see how I can help!

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jen eastwood