"Overly branded content is less impactful" says Refinery29's Lucie Fink

We sat down with Lucie Fink, lifestyle host and video producer for popular website Refinery29, to speak about the state of digital content. Read on for more from one of our #YMS16 speakers:

We always like to start things off with who are you, what do you do, and why do you do it?
My name is Lucie Fink and I’m a Video Producer / Lifestyle Host at Refinery29. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2014 where I created, hosted and produced a video series for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Throughout college, I made numerous appearances on NBC’s Today Show as a millennial spokesperson. I now create video content for Refinery29 -- everything from “Try Living with Lucie” (my 5-day challenge series), to DIY content for our Snapchat Discover button, to stop motion food videos for Instagram and more.

A video posted by Lucie Fink (@luciebfink) on

Video video video. Most huge publishers are jumping on this hype, especially by cultivating the personal brands of content creators like yourself. Where does one usually draw the line between content that’s branded ‘Lucie Fink’ versus ‘Refinery29’ content?
While I try to keep my personal video projects separate by posting them to my ‘Lucie Fink’ social media accounts as opposed to R29’s, that line is naturally blurred. I wouldn’t post anything to my personal accounts that I wouldn’t feel comfortable with my Refinery29 audience seeing, and vice versa. Also, many of my followers discovered me through R29, so at this point, that line is very thin.

At the end of the day, “Lucie Fink” in real life is exactly the way she portrays herself in her Refinery29 videos, so the truth is, there doesn’t need to be a discrepancy at all!

If you sign on with an influencer, I would suggest letting the influencer give the post as little branding as possible in order to see the best results.

There’s been a ton of furore over social media influencers and their efficacy. What is the one thing as a social media influencer and content creator you’d like to say to brands?
I would like to demonstrate how overly-branded content has a way less impactful outcome than content that seems organic. Our audience knows what’s sponsored, and they’re more interested in learning about what we REALLY like and what products we REALLY use. If you sign on with an influencer, I would suggest letting the influencer give the post as little branding as possible in order to see the best results.

We love the Try Living With Lucie series. What has been your most challenging ‘5-day’ challenge, and why? Also, which of the 5-day series would you recommend people try out?
The most challenging 5-day episode was 5 Days of Zero Trash. Learning how to live a waste-free lifestyle doesn’t happen over night, and this challenge definitely impacted my day-to-day routine more directly than any other to-date. That being said, I did have some major takeaways from this episode that I’ve carried with me into my life.

One of my favourite episodes was 5 Days of No Sugar. I would absolutely recommend that people try this one out! I have such a big sweet tooth, but this week made me feel great. While I don’t think I can cut out all sugar every single day moving forward, I’ve started trying to cut it out every other day! That’s a step in the right direction.

What do you think about live video, and do you think it’ll be the next big thing for publishers and content creators?
I am so obsessed with live video at the moment, and I am very excited to see all of the new things that are coming along with it. I think live streams will become quite large with publishers and content creators in the near future, but sooner or later I have a feeling it will start resembling live television programming. The upside is that it’s free! I would encourage all content creators to take advantage of this platform.

What does the next year look like for you? Any exciting new campaigns or projects we can look out for?
Truthfully, I never know what’s coming next! New and exciting video opportunities pop up every day. I am continuing “Try Living with Lucie” but I’m also introducing new video formats into my R29 repertoire. Additionally, I am partnering up with some brands through R29 to create tons of fun sponsored content! New videos are on the horizon so stay tuned for behind-the-scenes content on my Instagram (@luciebfink) and subscribe to Refinery29 on YouTube for video updates!


Lucie will be speaking at Youth Marketing Strategy NYC, 21-22 September 2016. Catch more of her insights in the session, 'The future of youth content' where she joins other innovative publishers in sharing their thoughts on content.

Get your tickets for YMS NYC 2016 here.