Birkenstock floated on the New York Stock Exchange with a valuation of $8.6 billion and a share price of $46. Commentators have linked the brand’s success to being featured in the Barbie blockbuster and re-envisioned by Phoebe Philo in 2013 when she was creative director for Celine. However, in a hectic media landscape these big, banner moments would never have such a sustained impact.
In actual fact, Birkenstock has undergone a decade-long rehabilitation and repositioning thanks to Instagram influencers. In the fashion vertical alone, its shoes have been adopted by the minimalists, the dopamine dressers, the high-low specialists and the nothing-but-luxury crew. Then there’s the wider lifestyle creator community where you’ll find parenting, food and interiors influencers wearing Birkenstocks in their content every single day.
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It was Instagram, where – through the documentation of daily outfits rather than picture perfect styling – that Birkenstock became increasingly relevant. Fashion creators produced dressing solutions for their followers and the Arizona design proliferated thanks to its adaptability, its comfort and the way it could dress down a summer dress and pair perfectly with jeans. The exact same thing has been happening with the Boston clog since approximately 2021. The obsession has also spread to TikTok, where #Birkenstocks has more than 823M views.
In some ways, it’s easy to miss the impact influencers have had on a company like Birkenstock because the brand is in the background in their content. It’s an omnipresent thing, with its shoes being worn so regularly they are not even commented upon, often not tagged or explained. While viral looks can create a spike in interest, the Birkenstock presence in fashion and lifestyle content has been, in the nicest possible way, inescapable.
6 ways to style casual summer outfits with your Birkenstock clogs 🏽✨super simple outfit ideas using things you might already have in your closet! they’re honestly so comfy I always just throw them on when I’m running out the house 🤣 #birkenstock #outfitideas #summeroutfits #birkenstockboston
In my opinion, this is what brands should be aspiring for with influencer marketing – proper adoption to point of becoming ubiquitous with specific communities of creators. This is the longer game which has to be played underneath all of the bigger marketing campaigns and trend-driven opportunism.
The subtext of habitual use and constant presence is that products have value, are reliable, long-lasting and continually relevant. It’s not a sexy message and actually achieving this through influencer partnerships is remarkably difficult, given all of the options they have. However, the proof is in the pudding – Birkenstock is the third-largest listing this year on the US stock market.
Away from all of the trends and entertainment, there is a context and background being created by influencers in their content – find your way into that, and perhaps your company will be next.
By Sara McCorquodale, CEO and founder of CORQ. Picture credit: Birkenstock via Instagram.