Too Faced - A Conversation with VP of Global Marketing, Somer Tejwani

Conor sat with Somer Tejwani, Too Faced VP of Global Marketing. Here are some valuable insights for creators like you.

At Createur, we know how valuable it is to learn from the best. So, we're bringing you "Earned", an influencer marketing podcast by Tribe Dynamics' co-founder Conor Begley. In this series Conor sits down with esteemed industry leaders, exploring the minds—and marketing strategies—behind the most successful beauty and fashion brands in earned media.

In this episode, Conor chatted with Too Faced VP of Global Marketing, Somer Tejwani. You can listen to the full podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast, or Google Podcast. You can also watch the whole interview here. 

Below are some highlights from the interview that are especially insightful for influencers. Learn about Too Faced’s top three influencer marketing strategies, and find out how the brand’s tactics for engaging influencers have evolved over time.

Here is a direct peek into the brand side of influencer marketing!

Conor Begley: I want to talk about tactics and philosophies. Philosophically, what is your approach to influencer marketing? What are the core philosophies that you think drive a successful program?

Somer Tejwani: There are a lot of things but the top 3 are authenticity, respect, and humility.

Authenticity: when you’re working with someone, it’s not based off of the numbers or from a spreadsheet. We don’t think in terms of “who’s going to get me the highest EMV”, or “who is the it-influencer of the moment.” That’s not a way to build a long-standing strategy. You have to go back to “why do I need this content for?”

Respect: This might be controversial, but I think it’s an outdated concept to not pay influencers. It’s a job. You’re okay to pay your photographers, models, and make up artists, and then to use that image for your campaign. Why wouldn’t you be okay with paying someone to use their content in your marketing. Especially if you’re regramming it or using it in your advertising. So I think it’s outdated, I think there needs to be mutual respect. This is their job, this is their livelihood. Or if it’s just a side gig, it’s still the hustle. Maybe four or five years ago it was considered normal in the industry not to pay influencers. But today, it’s just not a long term strategy.

Humility: Any leader out there who thinks they are the smartest person in the room because they went to a nice, fancy school, or because they’ve been in the industry for X number of years. It actually means nothing in influencer relations. You’re not the smartest person in the room, especially when it comes to social media. The 20 year old influencer you hire probably knows more than you. Because they grew on the platform, they spend hours on it. Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10 000 hours to become an expert at something, well that adds up really quickly when you spend hours each night on TikTok.

Conor Begley: Talk to me about Too Faced’s influencer collaborations, because I feel like that has been such a core part of your strategy and your success. 

Somer Tejwani: When we do collaborations, it’s not some big reverse-engineered plan to fit influencers into some product pipeline. It's nothing like that. It's truly authentic. There's not a better word for it. It's literally like you're chatting with someone, you're meeting with them.

I remember we worked with Vegas Nay, Naomi Giannopoulos, who is this incredible talent, and she truly had this really unique perspective on makeup, on how she wore makeup, on how she talked about makeup. Jerrod hit it off with her, and they were in the kitchen and were like, “Let's do a palette together." I think that is what makes the most successful collaborations: when there's already that authentic friendship that you can build off of, or that authentic mutual respect, love of each other's craft, love of what each other is doing, and you're trying to get together and make something even more special.

Conor Begley: And those are all long-term relationships as well, right? I think that’s one of the other things that people miss is, they’re like, “Oh, I'm just going to find a celebrity and we'll create a product together." And I don't know how long you knew Vegas Nay, but you didn't meet her that day, right?

Somer Tejwani: Yeah. Years, years, and we're still friends, and I think that is where the magic is. So when you have new brands, or if you have someone who wants to create a brand, that's something that's really important that you take into mind—who is going to be the face of your brand, or who are you going to partner with? It's not this scientific algorithm or something that can be contrived in a boardroom. Because consumers can totally sniff that out, right? It comes down to creating magic, creating something special together, and bringing together two unique, different people with different perspectives, personalities, past experiences, to birth something new. These are the kind of surprises and delights for the consumer that I think really get them excited too.