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By now, it comes as no surprise that brand dollars determine which products influencers post and promote on their Instagram feeds. But do brands get the final say on how influencers style their products? After all, some of the first influencers (e.g. @songofstyle @WeWoreWhat @rumineely) got their enormous followings by styling outfits and objects in unexpected and popular ways.

However, a study of Instagram posts featuring Kiehl’s products reveals that almost all that are posted by major influencers have common elements. The backdrop is usually white sheets or a white wooden background. Several contain white flowers and white objects (bathing suit, coffee mug) and featuring a MacBook and/or a magazine.

These overlaps could possibly be due to the color scheme of the Kiehl’s brands and what it matches. However, it proves that leveraging influencers or user-generated content does not necessarily result in off-brand posts. Kiehl’s demonstrates it is possible to maintain branding while using influencers as photographers and promoters.

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