EOS wants to elevate its flavor game in the lip care category. The balm brand is working with influencers across the globe to roll out six new products in an initiative called Flavor Lab. Here’s what the collaboration, which is the first of its kind for EOS, could mean for the brand and for modern influencer marketing.

Lip care has come a long way from the medicinal candle creations in a tube to the bright EOS balls that dot drugstore aisles today. The latter’s strategy has been decidedly more colorful than its competitors from the start though, not only because of its packaging, but because of the flossy flavors offered, like Aloha Hawaii Strawberry Kiwi and Blueberry Potion. It’s this appeal that EOS is honing in on for its new campaign, which takes inspiration from nineteen influencers from eight countries to create the six new flavors, which include Lychee Martini and Watermelon Frosé. As such, the brand hopes to become the beacon of flavor goals for the balm business in the same way that Pantone is with colors.

Ever since the beauty influencer universe was rocked by scandal last year, choosing authentic partners and brands has become crucial to keeping both parties’ reputations intact. Unlike many influencer-brand collabs, EOS’s campaign is putting the flavors at the forefront—not the influencer. Indeed, the names of the influencers chosen, including Torri Webster from Canada and Marta Lech Maciejewska from Poland, won’t be placed on any of the new products or packaging. Additionally, those chosen were influencers who had already worked with the brand in the past. These influencers will begin promoting #eosflavorlab on Instagram at the end of this month and will continue until the end of August. Though specific posting requirements haven’t been revealed, “influencers have discussed communications strategies with EOS that are above and beyond what the brand is requiring”, according to Soyoung Kang, EOS CMO.

Given the brand’s bumpy history with fancy flavors and colorings, betting on those might not be the safest choice. Subtly incorporating influencers who already have a tried-and-tested relationship with the brand, on the other hand, could be a very smooth move, especially as the credibility and reliability of modern-day influencer-brand deals continue to crumble.

Because EOS is drawing inspiration for its new products from the influencers it’s working with, Flavor Lab could face less risk in looking inauthentic for either party—both key factors in choosing a partner or brand through influencer marketing. For example, haircare brand Briogeo found a partner that fit with both its aesthetic and values in mega influencer Tati Westbrook. Thanks to four videos from Tati, as well as other influencer engagements, Briogeo received 11% of its site traffic from YouTube from April 2017 to March 2018—more than any other tracked hair care brand in Gartner L2’s report on the topic. These videos stood out for their authenticity to the influencer’s style. None of the videos include Briogeo’s name in the title, and two do not include the brand in the video description. Instead, they follow the format of other videos Tati has released.

EOS isn’t the first brand to bank on the benefits of long-term relationships with influencers. Sephora recently took matters into its own hands with an influencer-incubation program while KFC kicked it up a notch further with a virtual influencer. That said, brands (balm and beyond) looking to boost consumer confidence should try swapping one-off collabs for more committed creations to keep influencer marketing alive and well in their industry.

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