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The digital marketing world changes at the speed of light due to technology and consumers behaviors. Within digital marketing, one of the industries that has demonstrated a fast and exponential growth in the past 5 years is the Bloggers industry, which thanks to the power and influence it has acquired, today is part of the positioning strategy of myriad brands.
In the fashion industry there are worldwide famous bloggers who have also worked to be recognized as real companies, and they have succeeded because more than being fashion bloggers, they are true fashion marketers. One of them is Chiara Ferragni, Co-Founder of The Blonde Salad and the Chiara Ferragni Collection, her own shoe line.
Chiara here, Chiara there… Chiara is everywhere; she is even in the Top 5 of my 2014 favorite blogs. She is now also a Harvard Business Review (HBR) Case, which has been created as part of a new luxury marketing course offered to MBA candidates in this school. This is the first case study that HBR has done on a blogger, and as expected, Chiara proudly created her own hashtag #TheBlondeSaladGoesToHarvard .
This new HBR case covers the full The Blonde Salad story, starting with the conception of the blog launched in 2009 by Chiara and Riccardo Pozoli, her boyfriend back then. They started a partnership to share Chiara’s everyday life, her looks, her journeys, and her pictures through a platform we now today as her blog. It’s a disclosure of the business model and strategy implemented that five years later lead to the creation of two companies, which together generated 8 million Euros in 2014 and a team of 16 people named The Blonde Salad Crew (TBS Crew).
This case explores every aspect about this impressive marketing giant; it’s segmented in two parts: Chiara as a celebrity, and her shoe line. It vaguely reveals the future of The Blonde Salad, the blog seeking to emulate to the online magazine model, as well as the future of Chiara Ferragni Collection, the brand looking to conquer new markets, but in very selective stores only.
Chiara’s famous face, only in the first quarter of 2015, appeared on the cover of Lucky, Grazia, Vogue Spain and Marie Claire Mexico magazines, and there are still more editorials to be announced during the rest of the year.
What does HBR Study Case reveals?
Behind every great woman, there’s a great man. And so is Riccardo for Chiara, who with a strong business profile, made her a popular celebrity while building a firm business model.
Creation of a focused team. The brands The Blonde Salad and Chiara Ferragni Collection achieved stability until the TBS Crew was created. In this team there are project managers dedicated to product and clients portfolios; they divided the roles by tasks: social media, editorial, logistics, personal assistance, commercial, advertising, and the public relations. This team is headed by Alessio Sanzogni, former e-commerce and e-communications manager at Louis Vuitton Italy.
Today there are no rules, there is creativity. Chiara and Riccardo succeeded being creative while generating stories about Chiara related to product. Today the TBS Crew, with a great ability to adapt to the changing industry, has as main goal, in the most creative way, to continuously diversify the blog content, as well as Chiara Ferragni Collection, to which new accessories will be added soon.
Brand integrity. It’s critical to position Chiara as someone with a strong point of view. The blog content cannot seem paid, period.
Content generation and segmentation. The blog’s origin was to tell stories about and by Chiara. One day Instagram started to cannibalize The Blonde Salad’s traffic, which lead to an editorial team creation dedicated to support her on content generation, giving to the blog a new structure with new sections beside her stories, seeking to retain her readers spectrum. This also provided the key to compete and survive tomorrow: to become an independent online lifestyle magazine. To achieve this, they brought to the TBS Crew Marie Claire’s Italian site fashion editor, Francesca Zaccagnini.
Reject customers for a smart commercial strategy. While looking to position The Blonde Salad and Chiara Ferragni as high-end brands, the amount of exclusive brands to work with is limited, this considerably reduces the revenue coming from advertising. Reason is why the business model is to build long term partnerships to support the company.
Chiara shared a post on The Blonde Salad announcing the release of the HBR Case, she closed her article:
“Thank you for making this happen guys, it’s probably the achievement I’m most proud of (sharing a happiness tear right now).”
Read the not-so-secret secrets of the Blonde Salad on HBR for USD$14.