Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with Laura Uslar, global brand and 360 communications manager for a cosmetics company within LVMH Group, on influencer marketing in the fashion industry:

Shaheen Samavati 0:13
Hi everyone, I’m Shaheen from The Content Mix and I’m excited to be here with Laura Uslar, a social media and content marketer in Paris, who’s now working for a makeup brand within the LVMH group. Thanks so much for joining us Laura.

Laura Uslar 0:26
Thank you for having me.

Shaheen Samavati 0:28
So could you just start out by telling us a bit more about yourself and your background?

Laura Uslar 0:33
Yeah, of course. So I’m actually Venezuelan. So I’ve been living in Paris already for 10 years, maybe a little bit more. So I did a career in communications when I was back home in Venezuela, then I decided I wanted to do something more creative with my life. So I came to Paris, to study film, directing, and screenwriting. So nothing to do, I mean, not nothing to do, still something to do with what I do now but way more artistic. Then I did that for three years, then when I finished, I wanted to maybe stay in the city because back home things were complicated, politically and economically. So I decided to start working here, I started working in a casting agency, then doing small jobs in films, maybe like video clips and stuff like that. Then at some point, I really didn’t like the rhythm that would give me because, you couldn’t plan anything ahead. Money wise it wasn’t good either. So I decided I wanted to stay doing something creative, but more linked to the communication world. So that’s how I started and then I started my first internship as a community manager. So this was back to, I think it was 2013. So it was when Facebook was barely starting all the media and the business of ads, Instagram was starting. I was like, I don’t really need a career for this, I’ll start doing this. Then when I entered there, I really enjoyed it. So this first agency, it was basically focused on luxury brands. So I was actually hired because they had international clients and they needed someone that spoke English and Spanish. So I thought it was perfect. But then actually my first clients were French clients and I had to step up my French game in this whole thing, especially being a community manager where I needed to write a lot and write for big audiences. So this is something that taught me a lot. There I had clients like Guerlain beauty and fragrance brand, I did Biotherm as well. Then I had very different brands such as Volvo, which is cars. So it was very enriching, workwise and as a community manager. Then I stayed there, I think for four years and then I wanted to evolve into the client, be able to work for one brand and dedicate my full time to it. So that’s when I started working in Paco Rabanne, I started as a social media manager and influencer manager. So it was super interesting because the brand challenge was to change their full image, I think when I arrived there the fragrances had a very different image from what the fashion brand was doing. The idea was to do a full brand in terms of social, influence, content, everything, so I stayed there for three years working with a very cool and creative team from whom I learned a lot.Then I kind of like realized my mission there was already accomplished, this was back in the last confinement. I had the opportunity to join this makeup brand within the LVMH group, more of a global or more general role, a communication role. I wanted to step out from being specifically social media and being over specialized, to have something more strategic where I could really touch different touch points, let’s say. So that’s where I am now, I’m communications and content manager for this brand.

Shaheen Samavati 4:41
So when you went to Paris, did you have the idea that you wanted to work with fashion and luxury brands? Or did that just end up working out because it’s such an industry there?

Laura Uslar 4:55
I don’t know. I always loved fashion in general. So when I came to Paris, my idea was actually to work in film. When I was working in film, I was doing a lot of costumes and set design. So it was always something that I really liked in general. I was doing a lot of makeup as well. So I guess I’ve stayed in the same product range, it’s just like a different job that I do right now. Then when I started in this agency and I saw the brands they were working for and the brands that I had as clients, I thought it was fascinating, not only from the point of view of the products that they sell, but also the heritage that they had and everything. So it just made sense for me.

Shaheen Samavati 5:50
Yeah, it was like a natural evolution. Very cool. So you just joined the LVMH group this year or within the last year?

Laura Uslar 6:02

Shaheen Samavati 6:05
Well, first of all, what was it like changing jobs in the middle of a pandemic? You’ve been onboarding remotely and everything I imagine?

Laura Uslar 6:14
Yeah, it was very weird, I must say. I think the beginning, the first two weeks, I was able to go to work. But I started right after summer. The thing is I knew my close team, the people that work for me, and my boss I knew from before, so this was perfect. But then my role is very transversal so I need to not only see my team but also the marketing teams, the image teams and to see everybody working with masks, in the end, I saw them once and then I had to see them twice. I didn’t really recognize people because you don’t really see their faces. So it’s very weird, then of course working remotely when we were confined and everything, you need to come up with new strategies to be able to engage with your team and keep them active and motivated. So yeah it’s definitely a challenge to say the least.

Shaheen Samavati 7:12
Yeah. It sounds like it. So could you tell us more about what’s your typical day like now and your responsibilities? So you’re leading a team it sounds like?

Laura Uslar 7:23
Yeah, I have a team of two people and then I also work with a social team, with a PR team, with the image team, so it’s a lot of teamwork, which I love and I’ll probably speak about that later. But a typical day, in my job, I would say it’s very transversal, as I was saying. So I’m involved in a lot of meetings because I have to have the vision of everything that’s happening in the brand. As a communication manager, my first role is to set the strategy of the brand, the tone of voice, the new vision where we want to go, it’s really a brand that’s in current evolution. So we’re re-working everything from the bases, the values of the brand and everything, so this the core work that we’re doing. Then when it comes to launches, I need to think about the big idea and the concept that we want to communicate with each launch, then from there drive whatever is going to be done by the image team in the campaign or whatever activations we will need to do in social, or what’s going to be done in influence, etc. So it kind of goes like this. I need to translate everything for all of the touch points. Then there’s also another part which is a lot of coordination with the markets, because it’s true that we have a brand strategy but at the same time, we need to exchange with all of our markets where we have, Asia, Europe, the US as well. So each market has different realities so we need to constantly onboard them and exchange with them to make sure our strategy is adapted to them. So that’s basically what I do and what I could do in a day, from a meeting with a market to, I don’t know, meeting with marketing and you know describing the whole idea.

Shaheen Samavati 9:37
So you’re coordinating things across all the different markets?

Laura Uslar 9:44
Yeah, I think my my job has a very creative part and there’s another part which is very much communication and coordination to make sure that everybody’s on the same page.

Shaheen Samavati 9:57
Okay. Could you tell us more about your audience and what your channels are for reaching your audience?

Laura Uslar 10:05
Sure. So our audience right now, our core audience, is really makeup artists. This is an audience that we cannot forget. Where we’re trying to take this brand now is to go and reach broader audiences, when I say broader audiences of course, it’s people interested in makeup, because that’s what we sell, but also people that maybe use just a little makeup and just want to feel beautiful, but they’re not professionals. Also more people that are interested in fashion, that are listening to makeup in a certain way, or new creatives as well. The new vision or where we want to take this brand is really towards artistry and I think it’s something that’s super important. This is why we need to onboard a different kind of audience of course. So in terms of channel, I guess Instagram for now, is our main bed, but we’re also using a lot of YouTube, which is super important for makeup brands. It’s very relevant. I guess as the trends come, there’s also TikTok that we’re developing now to reach a younger audience. I know there’s brands like Elf and Fenty that have done it very, very well. So that’s where we are at now, to reach those people.

Shaheen Samavati 11:45
Okay, yeah. What do you think works well, on TikTok? That’s a hot topic lately, a lot of brands are trying to figure out how to use this format.

Laura Uslar 11:56
I think TikTok is very particular. But what’s interesting is that it’s very different from what Instagram and Facebook were once, where you would work on very crafted content with your creatives and then you would post to get the likes. With TikTok first of all, the algorithm is completely different. Then what I think is super interesting, it’s so spontaneous and it’s so authentic, and at least for us that’s what really works. So there are many different strategies, but I think it’s super important to as a brand, not get caught up in the sense of the content needs to be perfect or reposting something that you posted on Instagram. I think you need to get away from that, have a new mindset and be able and open also to working with younger creatives that will give you input in what are the codes that you need to have to succeed there. Just get away from the perfect brand image and just be more authentic and natural.

Shaheen Samavati 13:13
Okay, cool. What’s been your approach so far, what do you feature in your TikTok videos?

Laura Uslar 13:22
We feature from makeup looks and very close ups. Maybe some little videos of like, get ready with me, but very step by step, but in a fun way. It’s true that makeup is an art but then you can also make it very fun. So we’re working with different talents within TikTok that are doing constant content for us, then also we do some content in house, we play with textures of the products and we mix it with some upbeat music and it’s just, I don’t know, it’s fun to watch and it makes you want to test the product. At least that’s what we think for now but I think it’s working very well.

Shaheen Samavati 14:16
Yeah, very cool. Any other examples of campaigns you’ve been part of? Your current role you’ve only been in for a few months but also in the past maybe?

Laura Uslar 14:31
You mean like general campaigns?

Shaheen Samavati 14:36
Yeah campaigns or content in particular that’s worked well, or style of content?

Laura Uslar 14:42
Yeah, I have an example of the brand that I’m working with now, as I said it’s a brand thats in current evolution, so we really want to reach these new audiences. Just by looking on Instagram, we’ve discovered this very up and coming makeup artist that we really like who has a real vision, a future vision of makeup. Not only a good makeup artist, but a real vision of beauty and what are the trends that are going to come up etc. She’s in the US and then we saw that she was doing the artistic makeup for a very niche fashion brand for their couture show. So we’re kind of on a test and learn mode. So we decided just to contact them on Instagram, we did this partnership. So this makeup artists used our products in the show to make all the artistic makeup that they used. Then we reposted, we did specific content and we posted that on our social platforms and it’s crazy how, at the beginning, we thought, well maybe it’s not going to interest all of our audiences, because fashion with make up it kind of distracts your attention. But in the end, we realized we had like three or four times more organic reach than normal, which is crazy. Then we were also reposted by important media within the beauty world with like Dazed beauty or Vogue beauty. So it’s not something huge right now but it reassured us that we are in a good direction of where we want to take the brand and if it’s interesting for our audience.

Shaheen Samavati 16:32
Yeah. So speaking of influencer marketing and your experience with that, what do you see that works really well and doesn’t work? I’m curious if you’ve seen brands that get it right or wrong on both sides? Like what makes a good influencer partnership, I guess is the question?

Laura Uslar 16:59
It’s true that in my current role I set the influencer strategy globally, but then I don’t do the operational thing. Influencer strategy was my actual job in my previous role. It’s true that, first of all influencers, people, when I used to talk about that people were like, oh, but working with influencers, they must be such stars or such divas, it must be so difficult to work with them. I think they couldn’t be more wrong in my sense, because I think the first thing that you need to do when you’re a brand is identify profiles, that you know, of course, go well with your brand, but also that you’re not going to impose to them. If you’re working on a co creation strategy for content, don’t impose to them whatever you want them to do, it’s really a matter of collaborating together and giving you the liberty of creating for you as a brand. So that’s the first thing that I learned that we were successful in, in that sense. I think what some brands are still doing now is imposing things to influencers and in the end they seem unnatural and they’re not engaging, they don’t sell anything. So I think that is one of the things. I would say I think the key to working with influencers is giving them the liberty to really create and do stuff for you, because actually it’s going to be them in the end that’s going to help you build your brand. It’s not the opposite I would say.

Shaheen Samavati 18:56
Okay, do you have any other examples because you mentioned one already, of a good collaboration that worked?

Laura Uslar 19:10
Yeah, from my previous job, I have a few for example, but I remember there was this one experience, I used to work in the fragrance part of Paco Rabanne and then the fashion brand and we were having this huge film shoot for a campaign in the media for the fragrance. We really wanted to collaborate with the fashion team to do something together and get out some content that was quality, but also be able to work with some influencers that would be relevant for both the fashion side and the fragrance side. It was difficult because the audiences weren’t the same, the price range of the product wasn’t the same. So it took some time. But in the end what we did is we really took a little time, but we had this amazing casting, there weren’t huge influencers, let’s say they were middle, there were some big ones, but it was mostly people that were talents. It was not only people that had followers, this is something super important taking into account when you’re casting influencers, I know I’m going elsewhere, but it’s true. My bosses, they would tell me, this person has only, I don’t know, 500,000 followers, you need someone with 2 million. In the end, it’s also thinking, yeah but maybe the 2 million is not that engaging, the 2 million person is gonna have like 1000 brands that he’s working for. So maybe you prefer to have a smaller one that will really engage with your brand. So it was a mix of things. We all went to this huge film shoot, we did a very qualitative trip with them, we engaged them with the brand, we got them to know the fashion teams, we did editorial shoots including the fragrances. So it’s kind of the first collaboration that we did with a fashion brand and it was kind of the concretization of this one brand that we wanted to do since the beginning. It’s funny because as I was saying, these were a group of creatives. So we had photographers, we had an actress, everybody was doing something or they were influenced because of what they were doing. So as I said, photographer, actress, we had a girl, a multi disciplinary artists, she was an artist, she’s an ice skater, people that really do stuff. In the end it’s funny, because this was the first collaboration that we did with the brand and this group of people were the people that came with us throughout the rest of the years, they became like the pool of the influencers of the brand. In the end it’s funny, because even when we did events, my last event before the COVID crisis was in New York, I really wanted to work with one of them because we needed content and invite her to the party. In the end, it was her who ended up doing the full campaign film, and the people that you really engage with the brands, they become like your spokes people.

Shaheen Samavati 22:36
Definitely yeah, I think a lot of times when people think about influencer marketing, it’s like getting the influencers to mention your brand or having your brand featured on their channels. But it sounds like you’re also getting those influencers, featuring them on your channels and getting them to participate in your content.

Laura Uslar 22:54
Exactly. I think it’s super important. I’m talking more of a global influencer strategy, of course you have more classic ways of reaching them, like with a seating or of course, you need to pay them for your mentions, etc. But I think it’s super important to have a long term relationship with them, so that they really become ambassadors to the brand. Every time people saw the people that work for us, they were like, Oh, my God, I really believe that you like the brand. I think it’s key, because otherwise if they’re not convinced about your brand, I mean, they’re not going to convince their audience.

Shaheen Samavati 23:37
Yeah. You’re saying it’s better to have a partnership with an influencer with fewer followers who’s like really devoted to the brand, than a less authentic relationship with someone with a lot more followers, right?

Laura Uslar 23:48
Yeah, exactly.

Shaheen Samavati 23:52
Cool. Going back to channels. Your expertise has always been in social media and it sounds like your focus now is also social media. Do you publish content on any other platforms or are you completely focused on social?

Laura Uslar 24:12
For brand it’s mostly social media. We have of course, our online platforms like our website, etc, but it’s generally social media. In terms of media, like media buying, we focus very much on the digital space. So display and social. We don’t do offline that much. So that’s where we’re focusing our efforts. In terms of content as well, what we’re trying to do is really have a global strategy and try to publish, this is basic social media, but really publish and adapt our content to each one of our platforms. It’s also important, we’re not just creating a strategy and then applying it. In terms of content, we’re testing and learning a lot. So we’re not afraid of doing something. In the end, in the social media world, you publish something, and three hours later no one will remember. So this is something that we’re doing a lot and it’s giving us feedback and guidelines on where we should be going.

Shaheen Samavati 25:34
Yeah it’s probably obvious to you because you’re in this world. But I think for a lot of people it’s only recently that there’s really been a shift to focusing on creating native content for the platforms. It used to be like you focus on your blog and you share on social, but that’s really starting to change. It’s changed but a lot of people still haven’t caught up, I think. It sounds like you’re really completely focused on creating native content really tailored to each platform.

Laura Uslar 26:04
Yeah, it’s super important. It’s the best way to be really engaging, this is what we want of course, I mean this is what everyone wants.

Shaheen Samavati 26:16
Absolutely. So your role is global. So how do you make your content resonate in different geographies that you’re targeting around the world?

Laura Uslar 26:29
As I was saying, we create the global strategy and something based on the vision and where we want to take the brand. But then what’s super important, and this is something that I recommend to everyone, I just have constant communication with our markets, in terms of how we present the strategy, the idea is not to impose something to them, it’s more to exchange. See in what way it’s relevant for them and how can they adapt it locally. So I guess it’s not something, like the brand strategy, it’s not something that is fixed, you need to know what’s the north of it, but then I think to be able to communicate the same thing in different markets, you need to be open and flexible to adapt it to different means, you know?

Shaheen Samavati 27:27
Yeah. But your channels, they’re like global channels, I suppose?

Laura Uslar 27:34
We have global channels right now, for certain markets they still have local channels, but it’s an exception to the rule, because we really wanted to have global channels for everything. But then, for example, for Instagram, we have one specific Instagram account for one market and we left it like that, because it was working very, very well. Same on YouTube. But in general, the recommendation is to have global channels. Then of course, we have the specific channels to each region, to Korea, or to China or even Russia.

Shaheen Samavati 28:21
Okay, well I guess we could go on about that. Lots of questions, but we don’t have to go too deep on that topic.

Laura Uslar 28:31
That’s a big topic and it’s funny because it’s something that I faced in every single brand that I’ve worked for. It’s always a question of do we stay with global channels or do we go localized? It’s always a big discussion.

Shaheen Samavati 28:48
Yeah, definitely. I don’t think there’s any right answer, it comes up a lot in our Facebook group as well, what’s the right number of channels? Or my boss wants to do 20 channels, is this crazy?

Laura Uslar 29:03
It depends also on the brand or the sector that you’re working on.

Shaheen Samavati 29:07
Yeah, exactly. It’s a strategic question really.

Laura Uslar 29:11
Yeah, exactly.

Shaheen Samavati 29:14
So I also just wanted to ask you, what skills do you think are most important for marketers these days?

Laura Uslar 29:22
I think in terms of skills, it has a little bit to do with a question that you just asked me. But it’s to remain flexible, it’s true that you might have your brand strategy or whatever you’re working on. But I think it’s important to remain open to new ideas because good brand strategy is something that comes from real teamwork and being able to accept suggestions. As I said new ways of seeing whatever you’re working on, but always stay with whereever you want to go, as your North never lose that, but be able to enrich whatever you’re working on with new ideas. The best work that I’ve done throughout my career has always come out from brainstorming, from being flexible and sure of yourself, letting people do suggestions and bring new ideas and new things. I think it’s the best way and I’ve also worked with people who have one idea in mind and they don’t want to change it. I think it’s always difficult because I think many things can be richer when you have more ideas and more heads thinking around.

Shaheen Samavati 30:51
Yeah, absolutely, very good point. So I wanted to ask you about a few of your recommendations and resources that would be relevant for other marketers. Do you have a favorite software tool or app right now?

Laura Uslar 31:10
I don’t really, I use Instagram a lot if that counts. But it’s true, in terms of apps I use Instagram for my personal enjoyment, but then I also use collections on Instagram to keep up with if I see cool influencer profiles that I want to work for. I have a huge board on that, then I have a board on photographers that I love, on content that I love or on brands. I think it’s the best personal and professional tool that I have.

Shaheen Samavati 31:49
Okay, very cool. What’s your best productivity hack is my next question?

Laura Uslar 31:56
I mean that’s the one. It’s Instagram collections, I love that. The thing is sometimes I have bad memory in the sense of, maybe you ask me about a reference and I know it’s in my head, but I don’t remember the name or whatever. The good thing about this is that you have it on your phone, so you just have to go and you’re like, Oh, yeah, I saw this reference and you go and you look for it and it’s right there.

Shaheen Samavati 32:22
Yeah. Very cool. It’s a good tip. Actually, I didn’t even know about it. So I’ll check it out. Do you have a professional role model or a source of inspiration to share?

Laura Uslar 32:38
I don’t really have a role model in the sense of one particular person, I think as I mentioned earlier, for me, my role model, what really inspires me, is to work with people that are motivated, that are creative, that really want to take a brand strategy further. I’ve been lucky enough to work with super creative people. Since I didn’t study to do what I’m doing right now, I did communication but it was way back. I think I’m learning a lot from the people that I work for. So this is why I’m such a firm believer of teamwork. So the most enriching experience that you can have is just to work with inspiring people.

Shaheen Samavati 33:33
Yeah, absolutely. Then I just wanted to ask if you recommend any resources for marketers, like communities, publications, podcasts, things like that?

Laura Uslar 33:44
Yeah I normally have a couple of newsletters that I’m subscribed to, which is Business of Fashion, I love Business of Fashion, I think it’s great to have a broad idea of what’s happening not only in the fashion world, but also in the beauty world. I do use also L2, I use it at work, I have a newsletter and they always have super interesting cases. But besides from that, of course LinkedIn groups are super interesting. Some of the subjects that come out are very insightful for whatever you’re doing maybe at the time. Then besides from that and I think this is more content oriented, I really make sure to keep myself inspired because this is the only way you’re going to be able to bring something else and something disruptive to the table. I’m always checking digital media,like IG, Vice, Dazed, even I don’t know Vogue or Antidote magazine. I have many kinds of media to stay up to date. In terms of trends, but also in terms of content.

Shaheen Samavati 35:04
Very cool. I’m curious on LinkedIn groups, any particular groups that you recommend?

Laura Uslar 35:11
I don’t remember.

Shaheen Samavati 35:13
None off the top your head, it’s okay.

Laura Uslar 35:15
I’m part of a bunch, but I don’t remember one specific one right now.

Shaheen Samavati 35:20
That’s okay. You can tell me later. I’m always looking for cool LinkedIn groups in marketing. All right, well, we’re reaching the end of the interview. So I just wanted to ask if you have any parting advice for other marketers in Europe?

Laura Uslar 35:39
I guess I already said it, but teamwork is the dream work for me. So this is what I would say.

Shaheen Samavati 35:49
Okay. Absolutely. To the point ending comment. I appreciate that. Well, thanks so much, Laura, for sharing your insights with us today.

Laura Uslar 36:00
No, thank you for having me. It was super, super nice to exchange about this.

Shaheen Samavati 36:04
Yeah, absolutely. We really enjoyed learning from all your experience. Thanks everybody for listening in. For more perspectives on content marketing in Europe, check out and keep tuning into the podcast for more interviews with content experts. See you next time. Bye.

Transcribed by