With 329,800 Tweets, 120,000 Instagram photos and 9 outdoor screens streaming shows to locations across the UK last year, it’s not just fashion that British designers are savvy about – it’s the power and influence of digital to build their brands and connect with their audiences. The industry has always had to change and evolve and it’s not just the fashion that can inspire us. Not only have they acknowledged the digital evolution, they’ve embraced it with 2 air kisses and wrapped it in big, beautiful Burberry bow.
Snapchat the New Black
Last year, Burberry was the first to get their audience chomping at the digital bit by revealing its collection on Snapchat 1 day ahead of the runway shows. With 100 million daily users, Snapchat is no longer an app to be sniffed at. This not only got their fashionistas salivating but it enabled the brand to reach out to those not blessed with tickets to the shows.
Having hooked them in, brands are now encouraging customers to stay engaged by giving them the chance to buy straight from the catwalk, not wait 4 months for lines to hit the shops, by which point, according to Vogue’s chief critic Sarah Mower you’ve forgotten about it. It’s not just Burberry either, this has been echoed by the likes of House of Holland and Hunter. Brands are recognising that they need to leverage the frenzy and hysteria of a fashion show before it’s lost in a haze of champagne and Chanel no.5.
And it doesn’t stop there. Brands will be upping the social media ante throughout the whole week with their lines being live streamed and shared in conjunction with their shows. They want to interact and engage with their audiences to build anticipation, drive social media activity and encourage them to purchase.
Just like Lagerfeld’s latest muse, brands partnering up with names in the tech world is strategic. Last year Topshop were able to scan their follower’s Pinterest boards to identify their preferences in order to match them to the collections in real-time. Followers were able to chose their own colour pallet to personalise their experience with Topshop. In addition to this, they partnered with social media giant Twitter to feed live tweets to digital billboards across the country that were located within 10 miles of a Topshop store.
This real time feedback from the shows enabled Topshop to inform their customers of the next big trends at the opportune moment and then maximise on their impulsive buying behaviour. It also meant that their followers could feel apart of the experience. This channel to market echoes their ethos of making cutting edge fashion accessible for the everyday girl.
The Digital Critics
Not everyone agrees with this evolution of marketing in the fashion industry. Li Edelkoort, a trend forecaster, believes that the shows are now governed by greed and vision and this shift has resulted in industry people spending more time looking at phones and tablets than the show itself.
Learning Fashionable Lessons
But whatever your stance; blogging, streaming, posting and sharing has meant that fashion can bring inspiration to the masses and become accessible to more than just the elite.
We can learn a lot from the innovative campaigning, engaging social media platforms and the growth of brand awareness through reaching out to audiences on a personal level. Staying ahead of trends isn’t simply looking at next season’s colour palette; it’s knowing your audience, understanding their wants and needs and demonstrating your adaptability to change. Most importantly, these brands have taught us to;
- Encourage honest and authentic customer feedback (think front row fashion bloggers).
- Explore new, possibly unlikely, avenues of communication (think Snapchat and Burberry).
- Understand your customers and their preferences and then use this knowledge to meet demands and reinforce your brand values (Topshop got this right with their billboard campaign in local towns).
We may not know our Balmain from our Baukjen, but we do understand the importance of engaging communications. Contact a member of the team for more information about Umbrella Marketing Team’s outsourced marketing services.