John Legend may have over 15.6 million followers, but that’s only part of the social marketing strategy for his new skin-care brand, Loved01, as it builds its influencer marketing plans.
On Wednesday, the brand announced a partnership with influencer marketing platform Captiv8 to work with a diverse group of influencers aimed at democratizing skin care for individuals with complexions of color.
“One of the things we were looking for in evaluating different platforms was, one, obviously the various capabilities, and then understanding their commitment to diversity within the influencer space,” said Ashley Carter, director of digital at Loved01. “Within the influencer space, there are just so many different facets of what diversity means.”
“It’s a partnership where we’re both coming together intentionally and hoping to advance diversity and empower underrepresented communities,” said Krishna Subramanian, co-founder of Captiv8. He said Loved01 can use the platform’s “creator identification capabilities,” which include data collection and AI, “to access diverse creators and dive in to better understand how representative their audience demographics can be.”
Loved01’s previous partnerships with well-known influencers during its launch phase included content with Jackie Aina, Deepika Mutyala, Nico Valders and Patrick Starr, among others. Moving forward, the brand is expanding its focus to include nano- and micro-influencers, said Carter. “One of the things we’re really focused on is driving awareness. And one of the great things about influencers is that, when you start to follow certain people, they become a really trusted source for you.”
The brand is starting out the partnership with a campaign of around 25 to 30 influencers. The plan is to work with them in a “very consistent [way], so we can develop those long-standing relationships with those influencers” and use the platform’s data to analyze types of content that are successful, said Carter.
Beauty brands have faced scrutiny over their influencer campaigns in recent years, as influencers of color have spoken out to shed light on issues such as tokenism, limited opportunities, unequal pay and a culture that discourages them from addressing these concerns. In May, Tarte faced controversy after a Black influencer said on TikTok that she had pulled out of the brand’s influencer trip due to unequal treatment.
“With all aspects of business and life, and particularly beauty, we haven’t seen people with melanin-rich skin get the platform and the visibility they deserve,” said Carter. “That’s why Loved01 is trying to move the needle there right, and we think about melanin-rich skin first as a forethought.”
The brand is working with all genders and ethnicities, with a focus on influences with melanin-rich skin. In addition to typical influencer event locations like L.A., it is also hosting influencer activations across the country. It has already hosted influencer meet-and-greets with Legend in Washington, D.C. and Miami, and it’s planning future events in Chicago, Detroit, San Diego, Houston and Philadelphia. It will also be inviting influencers to its activation at Essence Festival, which is taking place in New Orleans from June 29 to July 3. “We want to try to help amplify those creators of color that might feel like they get lost in the shuffle because they’re not in L.A. or New York,” said Carter.