Brands that communicate consistent and authentic messaging across multiple channels are best positioned to create long-term brand value. While traditional marketing mediums still matter, fashion brands need to diversify their spend online as sales shift there.
Creating branding moments on Instagram, opening up experiential pop-up stores and promoting real customers are all marks of modern marketing strategies. Celebrity influence can drive awareness, but brands have to figure out how to work with them more authentically.
Print media (especially glossy magazines), outdoor media and TV (including cable) still benefit from significant advertising budgets. However, consumers nowadays have more power than ever before, and they are able to directly interact with brands they feel are worthy of their time via a number of new channels.
When Jennifer Lopez closed Versace’s Spring/Summer 2020 show in a reimagined version of the iconic plunging dress she wore to the Grammy Awards in 2000, the internet lit up.
The official ‘partnership’ with Google has been subtly presented more like a partnership by highlighting the long term friendship between Donatella Versace and Jennifer Lopez since the death of her brother Gianni Versace. In this way, few have questioned the budget that Google must have allocated to secure Versace’s ‘Jennifer Lopez moment’.
For Natalie Hughes, founding director of social media agency The Fashion Digital, the Versace moment worked because it tapped into nostalgia and self-referentiality.
Give the customer an experience
Experiential in-store retail has value in the age of online shopping. Whether in the form of concept stores or pop-ups, they help brands build better customer relationships, establish brand awareness and expand into new cities with less risk than opening a permanent store.
Canada Goose also looks at experiential stores as marketing tools: in December it opened a store in its hometown Toronto that carries no inventory but features an immersive Arctic environment of up to -15 degrees, which visitors can enter wearing one of its $1,000 coyote fur-lined styles available to try. CEO Dani Reiss calls it “the ultimate gear test”.
Dolce&Gabbana‘s strategic retail approach to create bespoke interior design concepts for each store rather than a uniform retail design concept will prove to be successful in the long term, especially if they succeed in maintaining the DNA of the brand. One of the key DNA features which Dolce&Gabbana has been mastering is related to its Italian origins with focus on Sicily, drawing on all aspects of Sicilian lifestyle (DG call it ‘Italianita’)
Tod’s has created a unique retail design concept for a new flagship store in its home town of Milan. Dubbed ‘Tod’s Studio’, the new store is more like a subtle blend between a showroom, with ‘upgraded’ luxurious furnishings which are not usually found in other Tod’s stores.
Sell ‘aspirational realness’
Highly trained customer service professionals, ideally supervised by key company marketing executives is a must strategy for any fashion brand. Sometimes, posting celebrities or top influencers wearing a product by a certain brand or look, can have lesser of an impact than actual customers of the brand who should be encouraged to share their ‘moments’ – wearing the products of the respective brands. These followers on social media who identify as customers too, will most likely embody the key values and DNA of the brand.
Critical engagements and discussions on social media channels often relate to pricing – this should be addressed most carefully focusing on real life motivations such as the quality of the respective product or its possible neutral colouring which justifies wearing the product on more than just one occasion.
Desirability may be earned, but not just achieved
Rosie Findlay, a researcher at the London College of Fashion emphasises what she calls “aspirational realness”, where brands find success by embracing marketing that mimics everyday life.
Instead of walking into a store and buying a bag after reading about it in a print magazine, consumers are more likely to spot it on Instagram, research it on a brand’s site, Google who sells it, and then buy it online or in a store depending on convenience.
Establish genuine relationships with celebrities
Celebrity endorsements remain an important tool for brands and advertisers, but they’re most effective today when they go beyond a simple stamp of approval. Brands benefit most when celebrities show genuine interest in them and who already represent the brand’s style and aesthetic.
Adapted from Kati Chitrakorn for Vogue Business / additional comments by CPP-LUXURY.COM editorial team.
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