Categories
social media

Former Topshop, Burberry exec launches Tunepics – an image-based music sharing app

Tunepics on the iPhone

Will.i.am, Kate Bosworth and Jamie Oliver are among some of the first celebrity names to be using a new music discovery app called Tunepics, while brands including Paul Smith, Chloé and asos are also on board.

Ever wanted to share a song with your photograph to help sum up the mood of the scene more than a filter alone can do? Now you can. Tunepics – launched in the app store for the iPhone and iPad today – enables users to pair images with relevant songs thanks to the iTunes API.

“Over 500 million pictures are uploaded to the internet every day, and over 100 million songs are downloaded each week. Together, that’s dynamite,” says the brains behind the new social network, Justin Cooke, former CMO of Topshop, now founder and CEO of innovate7. His aim is to help create the “soundtrack to your life”.

The experience is an intuitive one: you upload an image, place a filter over the top, then search the 35 million songs in the iTunes library by keyword to add them to your shot. The result appears in a feed alongside those from the friends you opt to follow; each one auto-playing a 30-second preview of the track as you scroll over it, as well as offering a ‘download’ button to buy the full version.

Posts can also be ‘re-tuned’ to your own followers, and shared via Facebook and Twitter where they will appear as a ‘tunecard’. For the likes of Will.i.am, that of course makes the app an appealing proposition for its potential to help drive record sales. It also provides a revenue stream for innovate7 through affiliate sales from iTunes (there’s no advertising model planned on the platform for now otherwise).

Cooke is particularly excited for the opportunity that lies in music discovery, both for consumers using the app and for young, emerging talent to start gaining recognition in a new way. On that basis, it launches with a specially commissioned soundtrack from British band, Ellerby, called Colour Me In.

But the premise of the app, which was built by agency AKQA, otherwise goes further than just being about music sharing and discovery. The aim is to provide multisensory experiences that evoke an emotional response.

“When you hear a picture, it changes everything; it awakens your senses. We want [Tunepics] to be like a cinematic celebration of your life,” said Cooke. “Music is the most powerful way to express the things we see and feel; nothing else comes close.”

To that end, the emotional response that posts receive from followers is also fully visible. Each is accompanied by an ‘emotion wheel’ (the design of which also makes up the app’s logo). This features a spectrum of 16 colours users can choose from, representing different feelings such as happy, moved, jealous and heartbroken.

Said Cooke: “A like doesn’t tell a story on its own anymore. When [Nelson] Mandela passed away, we didn’t want to say that we liked it, but that it moved us. This is all about enabling an emotional experience.”

Which is why this app also makes sense, from the off, for brands. Beyond the initial celebrity appeal, there are also the likes of Paul Smith, All Saints, asos, Dazed and Airbnb already on board.

The expectation is that embedding music into their social content will help heighten the moments they want to talk about. An example post from Paul Smith featured a collection of paint pots and the Rolling Stones track Paint it Black. “His response was that he couldn’t imagine life without music. That’s so powerful, and so true,” Cooke explained. In fact, a similar quote from philosopher Nietzsche features on the Tunepics introductory video from the innovate7 team: “Without music, life would be a mistake.”

Clare Waight Keller, creative director of Chloé, said the choice to join Tunepics from day one was an instant decision after a two minute pitch. “I just loved the added layers of emotion, simply adding music to an image really brings it to life. It’s like a way to capture what was going through your head in that moment.”

She also appreciates the emotion wheel. “[It] will be really interesting. ‘Likes’ have almost become empty gestures now, it takes no real thought to ‘like’ a picture. But to take the time to select the feeling the image inspired in you, shows real engagement. It’s a great way for Chloé to connect with our audience,” she explained.

Brands will also begin to benefit from the data said emotion wheel collates. Mood charts are displayed beneath each tunepic showcasing people’s responses, which suggests valuable consumer insights could be gleaned should the numbers creep high enough. Unlike Instagram, it is also possible to add hyperlinks to every post, which will prove quite the draw for the likes of Paul Smith again, and all those others with e-commerce capabilities.

It may come as no surprise to learn that prior to his role at Topshop, Cooke spent six years helping to lead the charge at Burberry – a brand not only with a longstanding music initiative in Burberry Acoustic, but with an unquestionable focus on emotive content tied to measurable business results.

Topping it all off is the fact those aforementioned filters are based on the weather – another theme familiar to Burberry fans. Every photograph uploaded can be enhanced with true-to-life overlays of the snow, raindrops, sunshine or even a rainbow.

“I’ve always had a fascination with music, colour, images and the weather, and how they influence our mood and emotions. I want people to be able to share the depth behind the moments they experience and to articulate all the ones that they dream of having,” Cooke explained.

Categories
e-commerce social media technology

WGSN’s Google Hangout: 15 years of fashion and retail

 

Online trend forecaster and b2b fashion publication, WGSN, is set to host a Google Hangout next Tuesday, December 10, which will see a panel of industry-leading experts talking about the modern history of the internet and sharing their viewpoints on the innovations set to shape the future.

For those of you who don’t already know, this is my employer, which also means I’ll be hosting the Hangout. Joining me at 4pm GMT will be Uri Minkoff, CEO of Rebecca Minkoff; Justin Cooke, founder and CEO of Innovate7 and former CMO of Topshop; Nicola Peters, director of innovation and experience at Innovate7; and Amy Levin, founder and creative director of College Fashionista. We will also have WGSN’s editor-in-chief, Sandra Halliday, and director of advisory services, Ruth Marshall-Johnson, on the air.

The event is a celebration of WGSN’s own 15-year anniversary. Now that doesn’t sound very old, but can you believe when we started out, Google was still in its Beta phase. Most retailers obviously hadn’t begun to consider the prospect of selling their wares online, let alone envisioning the global connectivity sites like Facebook and Twitter would bring.

Fast forward to 2013 and the world as we knew it has, of course, completely transformed. Classic marketplaces have been disrupted, new initiatives have both emerged and disappeared at the speed of light, and consumers now have more of a voice than ever. Keeping up is a 24/7 challenge; but never more of an exciting one.

So please join us live on Tuesday, while we debate it. You can of course also expect to hear a few thoughts on things like 3D-printing, wearable technology, and those Amazon drones. Sign up here: wgsn.co/1eH2467

Categories
Startups technology

Justin Cooke departs Topshop, launches innovate7

CannesLions_JustinCooke_Topshop

In a move that doesn’t come as a huge surprise to those tracking his movements in the industry, Justin Cooke today announced he is departing his role as CMO of Topshop to launch his own agency. innovate7, as it’s called (lowercase intentional), aims to “challenge businesses both creatively and strategically to look at the evolution of their business model”.

Cooke, formerly also VP of press at Burberry, has long-considered “innovation” as part of his daily vernacular. Most recently he can be credited for Topshop’s Shoot the Show initiative with Facebook in September 2012, its #whosthatgirl campaign in the lead-up to Kate Bosworth’s holiday music video last December, and The Future of the Fashion Show launch with Google+ at London Fashion Week in February 2013. At Burberry he also worked on the Art of the Trench and Retail Theatre projects.

“I wanted to change the fashion industry and challenge it to understand what the future of retail might look like. With the customers’ behavior shifting so dramatically, enabled by technology and mobile devices, I realized I could disrupt a number of industries and that this was the perfect moment to do that,” explained Cooke. “We will be partnering with brands to understand their heritage and define their future. Encouraging them to embrace modern thinking, integrate new technologies and shape emotive experiences.”

Emotion is another keyword of Cooke’s.

His reputation in the digital space was cemented by Joanna Shields, currently CEO of the UK government’s Tech City Investment Organisation, formerly VP and managing director at Facebook EMEA: “Justin is one of the brightest young talents I have ever come across. He has an extraordinary vision of what the future looks like and the ability to connect with people in a time when the world is primed for digital disruption. London needs more technology fuelled success stories and digital leaders like him, and I am confident that innovate7 is going to be one of them.”

The company launches with seven employees, including Nicola Peters, also formerly of Burberry. She joins others said to be from the likes of Apple, Facebook, Red Bull and Nike. The aim is for clients that span “music, fashion, technology, sport, publishing and automotive”, with two announced already including tech start-up Rockpack and the tailor Tissimans.

Cooke also revealed he is developing a new multi-dimensional media site; a social platform that will reportedly “have relevance to brands and challenge the top five social networks”. Due to be revealed later this year, it has already received an investment stake of 19.9% from a large media group, alongside private venture capital funding.

Cooke’s successor at Topshop has been announced as Sheena Sauvaire, formerly marketing director at the company. She will lead the team this fashion week with a new social initiative said to still be in place.

Categories
social media Uncategorized

Vine, Google+ take center stage at London Fashion Week

This article first appeared on Mashable

Twitter’s new video-sharing app, Vine, took off in a big way at New York Fashion Week. Designers and editors alike logged in to Vine to capture and share six-second scenes from the shows.

London Fashion Week (LFW) attendees are poised to pick up where New York left off. Design houses including Burberry, Jonathan Saunders and Paul Smith, as well as the British Fashion Council, are all expected to use the app to bring followers behind the scenes and front of house.

It’s Matthew Williamson’s feed, however, that’s the must-see. The designer, known for his intricate, handcrafted garments, will use Vine to showcase details up close during Sunday’s show. As the looks hit the runway, backstage shots by photographer Sean Cunningham (of Burberry Tweetwalk fame) will be posted to Twitter, magnifying the embellishment and beadwork in a bid to bring followers a more detailed view than those available to the front row.

The initiative takes its inspiration from Williamson’s #MatthewMagnified campaign on Facebook, which makes use of the Pic Jointer app to show catwalk images alongside close-up detail shots of the fabric work. Vine will see them in motion, as introduced by the designer below:

Rosanna Falconer, head of digital for the designer, referred to the idea as “Cinéma vérité,” a French term for true-to-life documentary filmmaking. “I love the way it’s such raw footage. Rather than being a final polished campaign image, it’s about what’s going on right now, live from backstage,” she says. “We’re trying to give our followers better-than-ever access with a real, up-close quality. In many ways, it’s like a digital version of the go-see, which are the appointments made by press and buyers after the show to view the collection in greater detail. It’s the beadwork, the detail and the craftsmanship of the product right there.”

Up close and personal

This idea of a digital go-see, or bringing fans and followers even closer to the Fashion Week action, is also part of Topshop’s plans for the season. As part of a partnership with Google, the British retailer will be providing viewers with live access to every aspect of its show using dozens of cameras, capturing fittings, “red carpet” arrivals and the show itself from multiple points of view. The aim is to offer the experience of what it’s like to be the model, the buyer, the makeup artist or even the designer.

Central to this is its model-cam, which will see Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Rosie Tapner and Ashleigh Good all wearing real-time, HD micro cameras so followers can see the show from their perspective. Pre-stitched into the clothes and bags, these cameras will show detailed footage from the runway as well as backstage. They have been developed with satellite broadcasting company, SIS Live, and make use of the “Hawkeye” technology from major sporting events like Wimbledon.

Justin Cooke, Topshop’s chief marketing officer, says he expects it to steal the show. “The models will become the protagonists. Viewers will search for ‘Cara on the runway,’ and their content will get propelled around the world,” he says.

In addition to Topshop, a new partnership between the British Fashion Council and YouTube will serve up live streams of 20 shows through the LFW channel at youtube.com/lfwtv. A further 13 will also be streamed at londonfashionweek.co.uk/live.

Topshop is adding to its event with pre-show coverage also live-streamed through a customized YouTube page. Hangouts will air from the red carpet, backstage and the front row. “We’re using it as a live broadcast, like the Oscars, like a live behind-the-scenes documentary,” says Cooke.

Catwalk countdowns and live Q&As

Last season saw a big focus on visual diaries in the build-up to London’s shows, and the same goes for the Autumn/Winter 2013 shows.

Julien Macdonald returned to London Fashion Week following a two-season break, and in so doing shared preparation images over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram leading up to his show on Saturday. There was also a time-lapse video of the show space being constructed.

Peter Pilotto, meanwhile, who arrived on Twitter just last week, is likewise posting images in the buildup to his Monday show in what he’s calling his “Catwalk Countdown.”

Back at Topshop, the four aforementioned models will all be featured in a “Road to Runway” digital diary on Google+, documenting everything from their first fittings to the moment they hit the catwalk. There’s also a Google Hangout inviting viewers to see behind the scenes at Topshop’s headquarters ahead of the show and ask the design team questions as they apply their finishing touches.

Expert Q&As are also a go-to for the British Fashion Council again this season. Twitter sessions will this time be held with British Vogue’s Alexandra Shulman, designers Manolo Blahnik and Henry Holland, and blogger and DJ Bip Ling, using the #AskLFW hashtag.

Personalization meets pre-orders

There’s much in the way of shoppable activity set for London this season, too. House of Holland has developed a capsule collection exclusively for eBay.co.uk, comprised of a dress, an oversized slogan t-shirt, an iPhone cover and a pair of tights, each emblazoned with the signature House of Holland Autumn/Winter 2013 “rave wave” print. The micro-line is available for purchase until Sunday, Feb. 24, with all proceeds going to Cancer Research UK.

Burberry, meanwhile, has rebranded its “Runway to Reality” shoppable concept as “Runway Made to Order.” Still a pre-order service for early season delivery on coats and accessories, it will also offer fans a personalization element with nameplate engravings available on each item. The rest of the brand’s show plans will be announced closer to showtime on Monday.

Topshop is enabling followers to buy straight from the catwalk again too, offering items from the collection for pre-order as well as makeup and nail polish for instant delivery. Its “Shoot the Show” and “Customize the Catwalk” initiatives from last season are continuing also, this time refined and modified according to people’s behaviors, i.e. how they interacted with the features during the Spring/Summer 2013 show.

In addition, Topshop and Google have developed a “Be the Buyer” app on Google+ that will allow fans to create moodboards of their favorite items from the runway while seeking video advice from Topshop’s own buying experts, as well as those from department stores Selfridge’s and Browns. The results, says Cooke, will help feed data back to Topshop on what items or colors are the most popular, cleverly shaping its decisions about what to put in store.

Such movements are proving that digital innovation at LFW aren’t solely about gaining fans and building awareness of current collections, but are an opportunity for getting consumers to help determine what will actually hit the shop floor. It doesn’t get much more personal (and for the retailer, efficient) than that.

Categories
data e-commerce social media technology

Topshop teams up with Google for LFW show

Topshop Google The Future of the Fashion Show

Topshop came out guns blazing with the announcement of its partnership with Google for London Fashion Week last night. Showcased via a very cool trailer from the team at Google’s in-house creative labs (as below), the initiative includes everything from a live model-cam to streetview access inside the autumn/winter 2013/14 show’s impressive Tanks at Tate Modern venue.

The idea is to use all of Google’s platforms to give viewers access to every aspect of the show as if they were “the model on the runway, the buyer in the audience, the make-up artist backstage, the designer fitting a look or the celebrity arriving”.

News quickly spread across the web, from Vogue to The Business of Fashion, and continued this morning on the likes of Wired and The Next Web. A headline from The Guardian, read: “Will Topshop and Google change fashion shows forever?”

Said CMO Justin Cooke: “By partnering with Google we are broadcasting the show to the consumer from every single perspective. A fashion show from concept to creation.”

So here’s the gist of it:

  • Models including Cara Delevingne and Jourdan Dunn will all be wearing real-time, HD micro cameras that will enable viewers to experience the show from their perspective. Pre-stitched into the clothes and bags, these cameras will show detailed footage from the runway as well as backstage. They have been developed with SIS Live using the ‘Hawkeye’ technology from major sporting events like Wimbledon. Said Cooke: “The model-cam will steal the show and this partnership with Google will feed that. Viewers will search for ‘Cara on the runway’, and their content will get propelled around the world”
  • Exclusive access to these models will also be provided over Google+, where a ‘Road to Runway’ digital diary will feature everything from the first fitting to the moment they hit the catwalk. There will also be a Google Hangout inviting viewers to see behind-the-scenes at Topshop’s headquarters ahead of the show and ask the design team questions as they apply finishing touches
  • Topshop’s YouTube page will feature a live feed on show day in a bid to broadcast the event much like the Oscars. Hangouts will air from the red carpet, backstage and the front row hosted by the likes of editor Melanie Rickey, blogger Chiara Ferrangi of The Blonde Salad, and beauty blogger Tanya Burr. Cooke said: “Our customisation of YouTube is a big deal, it’s not just Hangouts with one or two people; we’re using it as a live broadcast, like the Oscars, like a live behind-the-scenes documentary”
  • Google+ will also enable fans to ‘Be the Buyer’ with a hangout app that allows them to create moodboards of their favourite items from the runway while seeking video advice from Topshop’s own buying experts as well as those from Selfridges and Browns. This will feed data back to Topshop on what items or colours resonate the most with consumers
  • As with last season, every element of the show is also shopabble, from the new collection, to the make-up, nail varnish and music. The shareable Shoot the Show and Customise the Catwalk initiatives will also continue, evolved this time based on customer feedback
  •  Finally, there will also be a custom designed Google+ animated photo booth in Topshop’s Oxford Street flagship. Fans can try on outfits and have their pictures instantly uploaded to the store’s interactive digital window and Google+ page

If Burberry hadn’t already put London on the digital map, Topshop just did. Watch it all from 2.30pm GMT on Sunday, February 17.

 

Jourdan Dunn for Topshop

Topshop.com live stream

Topshop Google+ photo booth

Categories
Uncategorized

Topshop’s Cooke reminds us why music is fundamental to bringing emotion into digital

 

Justin Cooke, CMO at Topshop, took to the stage at Decoded Fashion in London Thursday with one simple message: “You CAN do emotion in digital.”

While he pulled on quotes, videos and nuggets of inspiration from the likes of Steve Jobs through to Mark Zuckerberg, not to mention Walt Disney and Sir Ken Robinson, what resonated the most was the powerful role music plays.

As Leo Tolstoy once said: “Music is the shorthand of emotion.” Cooke added: “Music is killer for me; you can take people down with it.”

He used the example of an Instagram shot he took of autumn leaves made all the more sentimental with the hashtag #paolonutini added to it. Or this beautiful animated Twinings ad that acts as a metaphor for taking a break from our hectic lives, while The Calling’s Wherever You Will Go by Charlene Soraia plays in the background.

But there was one example he gave that stood out more than any other, and that was the rain orchestra. If you haven’t seen it, do click above now – it’s almost worth knowing less about it when you do so for the first time.

… Spine-tingling isn’t it?!

What’s even better is that it’s also a phenomenal example of content that works beautifully for a brand, in this case Burberry, Cooke’s former employer.

Can a fashion house “own” weather? In this case, quite phenomenally so. From personalised animated GIFs of drops pouring down the window, to a partnership with The Weather Channel during the Olympics, rain has become as much a part of the British heritage brand’s campaigns as the outerwear it is promoting.

The autumn/winter 2012/13 Burberry show used this orchestra to fake a thunderstorm above its London Fashion Week tent, and the same now plays in its new Regent Street store in London. At the top of every hour, the lights dim and each of the screens circling the floor transform into a “digital rain shower” – quite a show-stopping moment for the unsuspecting shopper.

“We’ve tried to choreograph it so that you have content specific to certain areas, but then all of a sudden the whole store turns into one rain cloud and makes you stop and smile,” chief creative officer Christopher Bailey told The Business of Fashion at launch. “It’s not just about shopping. The important thing for me is that when you go in, you feel entertained.”

As Cooke explained: “People say you can’t feel that stuff… but when you’re at a show or in-store and that surrounds you, my god you can feel it.”

He pushed for brands to harness emotion to help their consumers feel more connected with technology and with things online. Super simple, but a great reminder that sometimes it doesn’t need anything more magical than that.

BONUS: Cooke also referenced a piece from The Wall Street Journal, The anatomy of a tear-jerker – a great look at how scientifically our emotions really get going through music.

Categories
social media Uncategorized

Topshop connects physical and digital worlds with #trickortweet Halloween campaign

Topshop is introducing the idea of tweets as currency this Halloween by inviting shoppers to take to Twitter while in store in exchange for certain make-up products.

Part and parcel of the British retailer’s #trickortweet campaign which celebrates its new Witching Hour collection, the initiative will see select flagship stores hosting a special “Tweet Shop” where the online-meets-offline experience will take place.

Trick or Tweet-themed backdrops and posters will be made available for consumers to take a twitpic of themselves in front of.

Fans away from the store are also invited to tweet to @Topshop using the hashtag with their favourite Halloween style tip or a twitpic of their Halloween outfit anytime between October 26-31. The same is being pushed across Instagram.

“We love the idea of using Halloween to connect our digital and physical worlds. We know our customer moves seamlessly between the two and we want to make that experience even more fun for them and drive conversation in our community around a moment that everyone wants to be a part of,” says Justin Cooke, CMO of Topshop.

Topshop will send back personalised thank you messages to entrants, with the best tweets each day winning £100/$150 gift cards.

Prizes will also be given in store to those dressed in the best Halloween-inspired outfits during the “witching hour” of  5pm-6pm on October 27 and 31. Further activities will include complimentary make-overs and a number of DJ performances.

Participating stores include Oxford Circus, Manchester Arndale, Liverpool, New York, Las Vegas and Chicago.