Hector Muelas: Excess Baggage
By Justin Epstein Posted on Feb 27, 2018
RIMOWA Chief Brand Officer prepares to judge the One Show 2018 Social Influencer Marketing category
Last year, The One Show introduced a new Social Influencer Marketing category in order to highlight brands and influencers who have shined in this symbiotic relationship (you can see this year's winners here.) We are gearing up for the 2018 edition of The One Show, and we are thrilled to be highlighting some of the Social Influencer Marketing Jury — including Hector Muelas, Chief Brand Officer of RIMOWA, part of the LVMH family of luxury brands.
Hector has had a fascinating career path, from working as a journalist — including four years as editor-in-chief and creative director of VICE in Europe, as well as creative and executive stints at Wieden+Kennedy, CAA, Apple and DKNY. As we head into judging, we spoke with Hector about his thoughts on how brands can best work with social influencers.
We're loving Rimowa's new visual identity. Why did you feel the need to create a new visual identity now? What was your influence?
This year marks the 120th anniversary of the brand, and also the first year after LVMH's acquisition. One of the first things we did was to examine the brand's DNA and quickly came to the conclusion that Rimowa's visual language didn't ladder up to it. So we set ourselves to develop a new identity that would be more aligned at a conceptual level. The exercise was led internally, in collaboration with two small design studios.
Your career began in a traditional agency, Wieden + Kennedy. How would you describe your trajectory to your current position of Chief Brand Officer for Rimowa?
I was motivated by a fundamental need. I think as creatives we're often seen as the kids that play with coloring books, completely incapable of understanding the business and strategy piece. But if you really care about solving problems creatively, you eventually want to own the whole piece. I don't want someone to hand me a problem in search of a solution, I want to identify the problem and have access to the entire toolkit to solve it.
What are your biggest challenges in building Rimowa's social following?
The biggest challenge is to remind ourselves that, no matter how much we try to create content that is specific to the platform, what ultimately matters is human behavior. In other words, what happens to be successful isn't always something that has been made with the platform's behavior in mind, but with the user's general behavior.
"I don't want someone to hand me a problem in search of a solution, I want to identify the problem and have access to the entire toolkit to solve it."
What do you think makes a successful collaboration between influencers and brands?
Truth always works. There's nothing worse than head-scratcher collaborations. When brand values and strategic objectives are aligned, it always works. You can put together an aerospace company and a canned tuna enterprise and it'll work beautifully if they let the brand - and not personal taste - establish the architecture.
Why do you think Social Influencers are so important in digital marketing right now? Do you think this marketing channel has longevity?
People as media; is an ancient behavior, not a trend. We've always done or thought things by the virtue of someone's endorsement. The only thing that has changed is the way in which it is delivered -the Internet is allowing micro-niches and micro-audiences. What I think might disappear is the notion of a 'trend'. We might be moving to a culture where every single expression, no matter how weird it is, lives in parallel rather than in cycles.
We are looking forward to having you judge the Social Influencer Marketing category for The One Show 2018. What impact do you think winning a Gold Pencil has on someone's career?
It has a huge impact, both at a personal and professional level! Creative people need validation. In most cases, that's why we got in this business in the first place. Our whole personal narrative is an exercise in proving something. And having your work validated by peers, and analyzed through the lens of excellence that a platform like The One Show offers, isn't only a good thing — it is necessary.
Final judging for The One Show 2018 begins on March 13, 2018