Brands are teaming up with influencers, going beyond social media initiatives to deliver a unique point of view via covetable limited editions and collections. Here, some of the latest creative brand collaborations.

Cake Face Beauty

Campaign: Kim Thai for Lion-Hearted Lashes

Date: March 16, 2017

How influencer was identified: Cake Face Beauty founders Aleesia and Elaina Vega chose Kim Thai to collaborate with because of her “transparency with her followers which is what intrigued us from the beginning.”

How the collaboration worked: Aleesia and Elaina, who are sisters, gave Kim complete control over the creative process, which consisted of designing a completely new lash style and packaging. “She wanted something unique, and delivered exactly that. Lion-Hearted is packaged in a beautiful matte black magnetic box, with rose gold glitter accents, and finished off with a white bow. It is clean and chic, and suits her style perfectly!” said the sisters.

Unique value brought by influencers:

Kim Thai was extremely involved in the whole entire product development process. She designed her very own custom lash and tested it out for weeks, and even made a few changes to ensure that it was exactly what she wanted.

Influencer-generated buzz: Kim initially created buzz by giving her followers hints about an upcoming lash collab that was in the works. “A few weeks before our set launch date, Kim announced that she was working on lashes with our brand and her followers responded extremely well. She then began to use Lion-Hearted in almost all of her makeup tutorials on YouTube, consistently spoke about Lion-Hearted on Twitter and dedicated Instagram posts to get her supporters excited about her collaboration with Cake Face Beauty. Lion-Hearted is our best seller and has been extremely successful.”


Campaign: Smashbox + Casey Holmes Spotlight Palettes

Date: February 2015
How influencer was identified: “We chose to work with Casey for two key reasons. First, she has organic love for Smashbox,” said Bernard Zion, Vice President of Global Marketing. “Before our partnership began, she was one of the strongest contributors to our Earned Media Value, using and educating her followers on how to use our products. Second, we love the work that she does. She is authentic, has a loyal following and we are impressed by her love of, and talent in, the area of highlighting.” 
How the collaboration worked: Casey was a key driver in all aspects of the launch. “She partnered with our product development and marketing teams to select the formula, the individual shades and the level of shimmer for each shade. We kept tweaking until the product was just right, often sending Casey new submissions to her home for her to try and to give us feedback. She also helped us design the packaging, select the names and she worked with our team at Smashbox Studios to create how-to videos and product inserts featuring her favorite highlighting looks and tips/tricks,” Bernard said.

Unique value brought by influencer: “Casey keeps it real, which is one our brand’s core values. She talks in her video about her rosacea and doesn’t shy away from showing her starting point before makeup. A key part of her unique value was ensuring that our co-created product serviced a wide range of consumers, including those with textured skin. She also knows how to teach people to achieve easy highlighting looks. Finally, she has a strong fan base and she knows how to mobilize them.” Bernard said.

Influencer-generated buzz: “Casey’s excitement behind the palettes was evident in all of the social activity she put around the launch across her and our platforms (YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.). She teased it, she promoted it, she worked with us to offer her fans a secret code to get it early, she showed her fans using it. She has proudly and organically included it across so many of her videos because this represents her work (her name is on the front of the package!), and a product she feels super connected to in her makeup arsenal.”

Deck of Scarlet

Campaign: Deck of Scarlet’s collaboration with Sonjdra Deluxe

November 2016

How influencer was identified: “Sonjdra is an amazing combination of a beautiful soul that shines in her videos, and incredible makeup skills,” said Rachel ten Brink, CMO and Co-Founder of Deck of Scarlet. “Her message of makeup as a way to empower and love yourself ties exactly with our values.”

How the collaboration worked:

Sonjdra was involved in everything from shade development and packaging design to helping promote the palette through her YouTube and social media channels. “It was very important for both of us that the collaboration was authentic and that Sonjdra truly loved the palette,” Rachel said.
Unique value brought by influencer:

Sonjdra and the team immediately clicked. “She was really invested in finding the perfect, universally flattering shades to go from every day to dramatic – her looks are never boring,” Rachel said.
Influencer-generated buzz: “We want to fully integrate Sonjdra’s social media power into our brand. Her Youtube video is not only on her channel, but is the ‘official’ tutorial on our site, her Instagram images were used in our emails, etc. The key to Sonjdra’s power is not only from her own reach, but the fact that she is so loved by the influencer community.”

M.A.C Cosmetics


Global Beauty Influencer Collaboration
Date: Spring/summer 2017

How influencers were identified/chosen by the brand: “We worked with eight markets – US, UK, Canada, Middle East, France, Germany, Brazil and Australia, where we know there are strong makeup influencer communities, to identify this unique group of influencers. We invited them to share their global view on beauty. Many of them have makeup artist and/or beauty editor backgrounds — these types of collaborations often lead to great creative experiences with M.A.C,” said Catherine Bomboy Dougherty, Senior Vice President – Global Communications of M∙A∙C Cosmetics.
How the collaboration worked: “Each beauty guru was invited to our facilities in Toronto, Canada where they had the unique opportunity to create their own bespoke shade of lipstick, packaged in a personalized signature logo carton. They worked with our color team to develop their ideal shade and texture based on their personal inspiration and to hand-mix pigment in our cosmetic chemist lab,” said Catherine.

Unique value brought by influencers: Each influencer was able to hone in on the unique shade they envisioned. They were able to adjust tones by adding in pigment and experienced weighing out the ingredients to finalize their ultimate shade for all skin tones and types. Although many of the shades look similar — they each encompass different textures, undertones, stories and backgrounds. The lipstick choices were distinctive to each influencer’s personal style and range from neutral to red, with varieties of finishes from satin to sheer created with their particular social followers in mind.

Influencer-generated buzz:

These global collaborators have always been M.A.C fans sharing their love for the brand on their socials, so the conversation was organic from the start. During their time at the M.A.C lab in Canada, each influencer announced the collaboration with a behind-the-scenes look into the creative process that generated excitement among their fan base. Multiple posts of their exclusive experiences in the lab were shared on their handles as a way to promote their lipstick prior to the launch. In their respective markets, each influencer will host an in-store activation, including meet-and-greets and master classes, inviting their fans and shoppers to meet them and to purchase their lipstick, ultimately connecting the consumers with M.A.C through the fandom of the influencers.

Ciaté London

Campaign: Chloe Morello Beauty Haul


Re-release in May 2017 (due to the popularity of the initial launch in October 2016)
How influencer was identified: “We met Chloe when she attended our VIP London Tour press trip. We immediately hit off a great relationship and started discussing ways in which we’d like to work together,” said Charlotte Knight, Founder of Ciaté London.

How the collaboration worked:

Chloe curated the palette, selecting her favorite shades. “We also wanted to include some Ciaté hero products in there, so she picked her favorite Liquid Velvet shade from our existing collection and the mascara for her fans to try. She had been using these products in her videos and so it made sense to include them as part of her Ultimate Beauty Haul.”

Unique value brought by influencer: As a trained makeup artist Chloe knows which shades would be the most versatile across all skin tones. “She also knows her fans really well, and reads every comment so she was sure which products her fans would want to see and which shades would get the best response. Chloe has a wide-reaching social media following, which helped introduce a whole new audience to our cult British beauty brand.”

Influencer-generated buzz: “Chloe was amazing in posting and promoting the collection, answering every comment and reposting our retailers each re-stock. She created a series of YouTube tutorials introducing the collection and showing in-use. We also co-created a promotional video, which ran across all social media platforms. And lastly, a Facebook Live tutorial in which Chloe was getting ready for her launch party in LA was fantastic in creating a real buzz around the launch. We hosted a number of giveaways and opportunities to meet with Chloe at in-store events, which meant we had a host of UGC content to re-post across all social media channels.”