Here is a transcript generated by of the The Content Mix podcast interview with digital communication expert Anaïs Nighoghossian:

Carlota Pico 0:13
Hi everyone, I’m Carlota Pico from The Content Mix and I’m excited to be here today with Anaïs Nighoghossian, who is head of digital communication at the fashion brand Karl Lagerfeld and has over eight years of experience in marketing and communications. Welcome Anaïs and thank you so much for joining us on The Content Mix.

Anaïs Nighoghossian 0:34
Hello, The Content Mix. I’m really happy to be with you today. and I’m really glad to have this conversation with you.

Carlota Pico 0:41
The pleasure is ours, Anaïs, thank you again for joining us. To get this interview started off, I’d like to learn a little bit about your background, a bit about your company and how you got into your current role.

Anaïs Nighoghossian 0:53
Well, after spending like most of my career in a digital agency working for like big communication groups, I’ve been working at Publicis Groupe for a couple of years, and also had a small experience at Omnicom, at TBWA. And well, my first playground was actually digital CRM. And I had the great opportunity to work on the revamping of one of Nestle and most famous brands online loyalty program. So it dates back to 2013. And you know, at this time, we’re actually at the very beginning of data. And we were like trying to build all together this data management platform that we now perfectly know. And so my role was to try to reshape the consumer journeys for the brand digital channels, that is to say, newsletters, social media and e-commerce, and try to reshape the most seamless experience in order to drive business. So yeah, I went through data mining and to customer journey design and to content strategy, of course, because we had to nurture all the new channels that we were about to open and especially social media.

Carlota Pico 2:20
Okay, very interesting, a very diverse background, Anaïs. So let’s talk about your current role. You’re head of digital communications at Karl Lagerfeld, as we introduced you in the beginning. How is new media being utilized by the fashion brands today?

Anaïs Nighoghossian 2:37
Well, in this new media, or they are not really new anymore—let’s, let’s face it. Well, actually, my scope recovers, or includes, all organic channels. So I’m in charge of all the content production, editorial strategy and also influence collaboration for Karl Lagerfeld image to sign on social networks. I mean from an organic perspective, and all that is relative to paid media, paid social is directly handled by our marketing team. But yeah, my role actually is to really take ownership of our digital presence. Most of it, most of all on Instagram, because this is where our key audience are and try to build dedicated editorial lines per channel because I think it’s the same for many brands that most of the time they only tend to duplicate the content from one channel to another. But the content is never really specifically tailored for each channel’s specificity and this is really something we need to work on, partly because the user experience on each channel is not the same. The way you consume and you search for content on Pinterest is absolutely different from the your experience on Instagram, and each channel has a dedicated purpose. And my role is really—and my mission— is really to reshape all this—to make the user experience interesting. And I leverage on all our existing assets because when it comes to content, anytime you open in a channel, people are really afraid of the cost of the content. Okay? That’s why most of them may be reluctant to leverage on all the channels, then Facebook or Instagram. But the thing is, let’s be smart. It’s not all about budget, it’s not all about money. It’s the way you leverage your existing asset and you’re smart enough to make the most of them and adapt them to each channel specificity and DNA.

Carlota Pico 4:42
Okay, very interesting. You did touch upon my next question, which was going to be some of the challenges of your day to day job. But I understand that adapting content to your different channels is most likely one of your biggest challenges. Do you also adapt content according to different cultures?

Anaïs Nighoghossian 4:58
Well, actually, we tend to do it. But what is being localized is mostly the paid content, okay? Because that would be too time consuming and I guess not profitable enough, if we were to open organic channel for each market, I mean, we have…we need to…leverage on our existing fan base, which is actually six million right at the moment, we need to grow our fan base from a global perspective, because we are in charge of the global brand perception. And if I want to ensure brand consistency, image consistency, I think this has to be owned at a global level. This has to be handled and managed at a global level of…and if we need to adapt the content locally, that could be through paid media because you know, our Instagram fans, they come from all over the world; They speak Spanish, they speak Italian, they speak Russian, they speak Arabic, you know, and they all merge to this global account, because this is where the brand story starts. Okay. So I think it’s very important to remain coherent. But of course, we need to… to fine tune our strategy per market and that’s what pay media stands for and that’s what target, paid targeting… the targeting stands for.

Carlota Pico 6:16
Okay, very interesting. Could you talk to me about one of your favorite campaigns during Corona times what made it so special?

Anaïs Nighoghossian 6:25
Well actually during Corona time, the Karl Lagerfeld team they actually embraced a new editorial path. Because before that, the communication was only product focused, like producted oriented, and because of Corona time, because of the crisis that we all went through, because people were spending more and more time at home, it was not only about selling product, it was all… it was about selling a lifestyle, you know, telling… and make… embark people, embark Karl Lagerfeld on a much broader brand story that would include lifestyle communication and to this extent to make this to make this true and vivid and interactive. While the team has developed a lot of, let’s say, entertaining content, lifestyle content around the brand communication pillars, that is to say music and art, so we would give rendezvous to our audience like once a week or twice a week around live IG set on our ideas, IG, Instagram stories or IGTV, we would also suggest and entertain them through art lessons, drawing sessions with our famous designers. So this is actually something we would like to make to continue in the long run and create like monthly rendezvous—monthly meeting—with our audience around these pillars that are also part of our DNA, but that we never really experienced before.

Carlota Pico 8:00
Okay, that’s extremely interesting because basically what you’re doing is creating value for your audience. So not only focusing on the product, but also focusing on other interests that your consumers could have so that they can better relate to your brands. Is that a fair…?

Anaïs Nighoghossian 8:14

Carlota Pico 8:15

Anaïs Nighoghossian 8:16
And this helped us have a more emotional connection was the audience that we didn’t have before. Well actually, it existed, but we never really leveraged on this.

Carlota Pico 8:27
Okay, let’s talk about technologies because obviously you’re head of digital communication so that involves technologies as well. How do you plan to incorporate some of the most disruptive technologies into your communication strategy?

Anaïs Nighoghossian 8:41
Well, actually, to be very honest with you, I don’t see technology as a… as a… gimmick, you know, technology has to serve a purpose. So what do we want to do? If we know we have a very…we are happy to see that digital is booming and online sales are booming. So the challenge with including technology in our digital campaign would be to serve this purpose, you know, if you want to sell online, or what about, I don’t know, developing a filter on Snapchat to make consumer, try on our shoes, our glasses, sunglasses or whatever, but it has to bring value to the experience, bring value to the user and serve our purpose, which is actually selling. I don’t believe in like, free technologies, you know, just for the sake of it, not just to entertain people, you know, because they would… they would get bored and even though all our partners they would say, okay, you want to do wellness, you want to sell play time with your brand, then go for it, then go for a filter, okay, why not but in the end, what’s the benefit for my brand? The image benefit would be actually quite low, maybe, because the production costs are extremely high. So we really need to try to find this balance between, of course, engagement, KPIs, and also business KPIs, but the technology it has to serve a purpose and has to bring value to the user, okay?

Carlota Pico 10:20
Okay. And also. So what I understand is that you will be incorporating or have already incorporated technology that will help you drive sales.

Anaïs Nighoghossian 10:30
Yeah, sure. In the end, we all want to do business.

Carlota Pico 10:34
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you don’t have a company if you don’t have sales, right?

Anaïs Nighoghossian 10:38

Carlota Pico 10:40
Okay. Do you have any advice for aspiring digital communicators that want to get into the fashion industry? Because the fashion industry has a lot of nuances and peculiarities at the moment.

Anaïs Nighoghossian 10:51
Well, there…well, your question is quite broad, actually. But what I think is you have to build a content strategy and an editorial strategy that is aligned with social media codes, and social media uses, you know? Everything happens to be very horizontal on social media. And even though when you work for instance for a luxury company, you want to sell a dream to people and keeping kind of distance between your brand and the audience, you need to find a way to make them be part of the dream that you want to sell, you know, so… And so very, very often I saw, you know, very statutory brand, high luxury brand, high-end luxury brand, that stay very on top, actually, meaning that they never interact with the people on social media, they do not interact with their own customers. They’re… the captions are very statutory and not engaging at all. So we need actually to, to be careful to this because of course, there’s a distance that you want to keep, because you want to remain distinctive and, and speak from above. But still, you need to make your community be part of the dream. And that’s why you know at Karl we really believe in community animation and composition first because it reinforces the sense of belonging that your community has and feels towards you. Second, because we believe also it’s a driver of business. And it’s a it’s a driver of engagement. So I think this is the best—the better—gift that you might offer one of your followers.

Carlota Pico 12:40
Because of your former role as international social media manager at Cartier, which for audience is a b2c ultra luxury jewelry brand and also because you’ve mentioned several times your current activity on social media, particularly on Instagram, I do want to talk about social networks of course. Companies are expected to spend $120 billion in digital marketing by 2021. And a big chunk of this will be spent on their activity on social networks, of course. So as a b2c company, what are the components that should be considered or included in the majority of social media marketing budgets?

Anaïs Nighoghossian 13:22
Well, actually the thing, that what is key, is to find the right balance between the investment that you’re going to make in content production and in paid, you know? Because the content it costs a lot to produce. So what I would advise to partners or colleagues or people from the industry is to try to before you you start the production, just try to assess the written investments of your content, meaning that you could actually merge your organic brief or your paid media brief in order to get a global and more generic social media toolbox with all the assets that you will use both for paid and for organic. It doesn’t mean that all the things that have been produced for organic, for paid sorry, has to be used for organic, but it means that: be careful before asking contents dedicated to organic because, pay attention to the reach of your content, you know? Most…very often, I have seen people you know that they will spend, they will spend like hours working on dedicated glossy paper stories to be published on their own Instagram channels, but be aware that whenever you publish organically on your Instagram channel, you would reach, you’re going to reach no more than 5% of your organic audience. This, these are actually industry averages but bear that in mind. So if you want to develop an engaging content strategy for Instagram stories, for instance, think of content that would not cost a lot to produce that will be less glossy, more spontaneous, like behind the scene or…or making of, you know, things that are much more spontaneous and that the people want to see because, you know audience they want to show of course, your product, your Instagram account is like the your product window. But apart from this, if you want to involve them in your brand story they want to see like, much more spontaneous thing, much more spontaneous stuff. So you need to show how you craft,, who you work with, show the backstage of your industry. And this content can be can be really engaging on social media doesn’t cost that much and helps you manage your balance between investment in your content and investment in media actually.

Carlota Pico 15:50
Okay, what about, so you’re speaking about authenticity, which I completely agree that’s a new buzzword when it comes to marketing and any industry worldwide. What about the use of influencers within your marketing strategy on social networks, how do you include them or do you include them in your social media presence?

Anaïs Nighoghossian 16:11
Yes, we do because well, not all the time, but we include them whenever, first if we want to…if you want to style a project and from a you know from a lookbook or a company shot, you can’t necessarily have a clear idea of the way you could style the product in all the ways. So, in terms of style, inspiration, I think fashion influencer are quite a good thing. Second, they will… influence marketing can be very complimentary to paid media to a major plan because they will help us reach communities that we will not reach from a paid media prospect. So that’s why we really need to figure out beforehand which very specific tribes and community we want to reach, you know, imaging, we are a luxury brand and we want to reach people in the art…the art communities, in the art industry, in the streetwear industry, and will, let’s be honest, the media plan won’t help you reach this very specific niche. So that’s why we would better rely on the key opinion leader for this. So it’s all of its balance that we need to find. And once again, I think influence marketing is key, but influence marketing has to be a business driver, influence marketing can be measured. And I’ve developed also during my experience at Cartier, a strong methodology to measure, to assess the return on investment of influence marketing, we have many tools that can help us work on and collect like sustainable data to show the benefits of such implantology but it doesn’t have to be all the time has to be to punctual, relevant and once again serve a very specific purpose.

Carlota Pico 18:06
I do want to talk, I do want to ask you about how you deal with fake influencers. I used to run international promotional campaigns for countries, specifically, campaigns on the Maldives… ultra luxury resorts…or for example in the UAE, Ukraine, etc. And oftentimes these ultra luxury resorts invited influencers to their facilities in order to—like you rightly said—tap into different communities, but sometimes the results weren’t necessarily what the resorts hoped for. So how can you tell the difference between a real influencer and a fake influencer?

Anaïs Nighoghossian 18:43
Well, there are many criterias that can help you assess the true value of an influencer when you want to work with them. Well, first of all, you can work with many influencer marketing tools to help you scan the influencer fan base and try to measure, to share fake followers or fake accounts among each fan base, so I work with tracker, tracker has a very good algorithm who can help you do this first job—that’s what we call the influencer vetting. Second thing I would advise is to rely on a solid set of data from your previous campaign to see who has the most qualitative engagement because it’s not all a matter of volume—you can have a 2 million fan base but generate less than like a 1% engagement rate. So make sure the engagement is qualitative. It means have a look at the comments below influencer posts. Are they structured sentences or is it emoji only? So that, you know, like, these kind of accounts that have only comments, including emoji can be suspicious because that may come from Instagram bots, even though Instagram has been doing a lot into chasing fake profiles and fake followers over the past months. So pay attention to this. Pay also attention—ask for the agent or the influencer himself to share the screenshots of their Instagram insights to make sure the reach is correct. And this notion of reachability is key. Once again, I was referring a little earlier to your reach per story, but the reach per post is key. If an influencer reach per post is below 10%, this is seen this is quite weak. Well, of course you have to analyze it per influencer category and size. But still, there are critical thresholds, you know, that can help you get through this. And once again, if the rate is below 20, or 30% of your whole fanbase it means the engagement is not enough, it is not qualitative enough, and there’s a huge suspicion of fake followers. So you… there are actually many criterias that are here and that you can have in your hand actually to analyze, to be clear sighted and analyze the quality of a fanbase before signing your contract.

Carlota Pico 21:17
Very good point. Very good point. Yeah. Do all this before you sign a contract!

Anaïs Nighoghossian 21:21
Of course, it’s not all about just “Oh, I like her. She’s nice. She has a nice feed.” Okay, have a check— check the data first.

Carlota Pico 21:28
Yeah, definitely. Okay. And I we are coming towards the end of our interview. But before we finish up, I do want to ask you about any new trends that you can foresee in the fashion industry, especially taking into consideration the current health crisis and Fashion Week being questionable in the near future.

Anaïs Nighoghossian 21:51
Well, I think once again, for if we were to organize any event or any kind of physical event, I mean, the event has to serve a purpose. So, let’s remain pragmatic and very realistic, also, especially when it comes to money, because the crisis has made us revise all our priorities and budget for the months and a year to come. So we need to be really smart, I think… agile, smart. Not do things for the sake of it, but just if it serves a purpose, you know, be it for your business, for your community, for your audience, and for your brand story.

Carlota Pico 22:34
Okay, wonderful. That was Anaïs Nighoghossian—excuse me for my pronunciation—on behalf of Karl Lagerfeld, who she is the head of digital communications for Karl Lagerfeld. Thank you so much for joining us on The Content Mix. It was a pleasure to learn about your experience and also thank you for those awesome tips.

Anaïs Nighoghossian 22:57
Well, thank you Carlota it was a pleasure to discuss with you.

Carlota Pico 23:00
Thank you everyone for listening in for more perspectives on the content marketing industry in Europe, check out The Content Mix. We’ll be releasing interviews just like this one every week, so keep on tuning in. Have a great weekend and see you next time.

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