A few weeks ago I wrote a post where I shared my top tips on negotiating with brands based on my experiences in the day job, as  I work for a magazines and do collaborations with brands all the time.  This was very well received (thank you!) so I’ve followed it up by casting my net bit further and going straight to the horses mouth.  Asking the people behind the brand about their experiences with bloggers and their tips for successful collaborations.

Bloggers are usually approached by PR’s to promote/review/collaborate on their brand.  In most cases and especially for the more premium products, PR’s have to ok their blogger suggestions and rate of pay with the brand manager, i.e the marketing bod.  They’re the one’s that have the final say on which blogs get picked and which don’t.

So I’ve asked my old pal Nicola Pigne to share some of her experiences as a brand manager.  She’s worked with a wide range of beauty brands, from Johnson & Johnson, Avon to Prada and Calvin Klein fragrances. As well as that she’s TRI-lingual and a current mum of one but soon to be three…



Bonjour Nic!

Nic, how did you get into brand marketing?

I am quite a creative person and really enjoy ‘creating the dream’ for people so brand marketing was a great route for me. Whether you create the dream via in store retailtainment, via some unique magazine insertions, via bloggers or via TV advertising- the opportunities are endless! Having studied French and Spanish at uni, I also love the international dimension you often find when working in beauty marketing.

What does your job entail?

Presenting new launches to senior management and top retailers, working closely with the international head office (often based abroad), managing a team, attending shoots, managing creative/ ad/ PR agencies, organising events, producing local gifts with purchase/Point Of Sale/print ad ideas, coming up with innovative ideas (e.g for PR or Point Of Sale) for retailers and for the brand, monitoring and analysing sales….

Career highs/lows?

Career highs- Frequent trips abroad for conferences/meetings, creating an in store cinema in Selfridges for the launch of Prada Candy, illuminating bus sides all over London for the launch of CK One Red, planning and attending the shoot for Jamie Redknapp.
Career lows- Being let down by one retailer on a particular exclusive that had been agreed, a dissatisfying in-store installation (which was then rectified of course), international head office occasionally not meeting local market requirements…

Why do you work with bloggers?

To reach a younger or specialised and incremental audience- there is a great chunk of the population who tend to go online rather than reach for a print edition of a magazine. To create new, energetic content for the brand, to create a buzz around a new launch by pre- releasing info/pics/video content to bloggers

How do you choose a blog to collaborate with?

Number of followers, area of expertise, quality of content, the creativity shown in their photography …

What’s your advice to bloggers keen to collaborate with brands?

Try contacting their PR agencies directly initially to blog about the brands. Once you become more established, the agencies or brands will likely approach you to try new products, attend launches or to work on a collaboration.

What’s the key to a successful collaboration?

Setting out key guidelines/KPIs beforehand, ensuring all parties meet these, good communication and respect between brand/agency and bloggers

How do you find blogs to work with?

Generally the PR agency will come with a pre- selection of recommendations based on topic, content, imagery, number of followers etc and we will cherry pick from their list

nic1You have a 2 year old and are currently pregnant with twins (oh emm geeee!) what are your tips for handling a boisterous toddler?

Rewarding or praising good behaviour, using ‘time out’ for bad behaviour, ‘exercising’ them in the morning so they get nice and worn out and have a great nap which gives you time out, giving them responsibility (eg. Gabriel helps me put away the shopping, unload the dishwasher or the washing machine, peg out the washing- this keeps him out of trouble and makes him feel involved and important) , teaching and encouraging them to be independent and play on their own and most importantly keeping a routine to ensure they get food and sleep at consistent times to avoid tantrums

How do you feel about becoming a twin mummy?

Excited but also nervous! It was a huge surprise but we always wanted a big family so this is kind of a 2 for 1 pregnancy! I think it will be hard for the first year or so and then it should get easier.
My biggest fear is not being able to get out the house as much as I’d like to as currently that is what keeps me sane!

You’re raising your children to be bilingual, how do you do that?

We chose to raise Gabriel to be bilingual as my husband is French and I studied French at university. It is all about being consistent. We speak French and only French at home, then if we are out and about with friends or he is playing with other children, communication is in English. I figure that once he is at school communication will all be in English for him anyway so then it is upto us to teach him French at home. We noticed some massive progress when we went to France on holiday recently as he was playing with family and friends children in French and this really encouraged him to pick up some new words!



Thanks Nic, this has given me the impetus to up my game promoting the blog across social media and, gulp, maybe even approach some PR’s! 



Cuddle Fairy

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A Cornish Mum