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From the archive: Digital do’s and don’ts for fashion weeks

cara__BurberrySS16

Fashion weeks may be undergoing a period of significant change at present, but for now, the same fundamental rules for marketers during New York, London, Milan and Paris, exist. How do you showcase your new collection to a digital audience in a way that stands out from the noise and resonates with relevant customers at the same time? And how do you keep their interest long enough that one day, they might actually go out and buy what they see?

Here then, is a look back at a piece that first appeared from us in Campaign US a year ago: a list of 11 do’s and don’ts to help you:

Don’t post weak visuals. This is rule No. 1 for fashion week, a time when Instagram and Twitter are overwhelmed with blurry photos and videos of models as they walk past the front row. No one cares about mere proof that you were there; but they do care about Fashion Week more broadly, so give them something they can’t otherwise see. If you want engagement, think more like Dolce & Gabbana instead: a brand that consistently delivers beautiful still and motion imagery, real time or otherwise. With today’s devices, there’s no excuse for anything but. The more candid, docu-style assets belong (and work) on SnapChat, so put them there.

dolcegabbana_aw13

Do think beyond the “like.” What are you actually trying to achieve during Fashion Week? This is one of the noisiest times of the year in this industry, so be prepared to put the legwork in to be able to get the sort of numbers you want out. Your first challenge, therefore, is figuring out exactly what your objectives are, and accepting the fact they may be different from what you usually push for. Are you looking to build awareness? Drive traffic? Increase brand affinity? Or actually influence conversions? Apply your answer to the channels you use.

Do determine the channels most suited to your brand. Just because it’s a noisy time of year, don’t feel like you have to jump on every channel because you can, and whatever you do don’t just blind spray the same content across them all. Facebook needs to be different from Pinterest, which needs to be different from Instagram, and as already mentioned, really different again from Snapchat. And you’ll need to consider video, too. If resources are limited, use them wisely by prioritising which of the big platforms are right for your consumers. Who are you trying to reach, and where are they? It’s worth remembering much of the online Fashion Week crowd won’t be your current customers, but they could be your future ones; targeting them could be quite a different move, so think through how best to capture their attention.

Don’t be scared to experiment. As much as it’s sensible to have a strong base strategy going into Fashion Week, it’s also a time ripe for experimentation. Take risks by trying out new channels and thinking about what you could do on some of the more niche ones. In the past, Fashion Week has seen some great campaign work on the likes of Spotify by Zac Posen, Skype by Victoria Beckham, and WeChat by Burberry. Expect Snapchat to continue as the platform making the greatest splash this season. But if something just doesn’t work for you, step away from it. The beauty of digital is being forgiven and forgotten very quickly — so cut your losses and refocus your efforts elsewhere.

VictoriaBeckham_skype

Do think about what will stand out. Snapchat will of course only get you so far. If brand awareness is your goal, then press coverage is key. If you’ve got the resources, go big by considering true innovation. Sometimes it might be seen as a gimmick, but it works. Fendi is a strong example. In February 2014 it introduced drones flying above its Milan Fashion Week show, recording the models as they walked out and beaming that footage back in real time to fans watching at home. The quality was terrible, but every major press outlet reported on it.

Do take advantage of organic content about your brand. If you’re directly involved with Fashion Week, it’s quite likely a lot of content will be generated on your behalf. Use it! Chanel has frequently been one of the most hashtagged fashion brands on Instagram, which helped it generate an enormous 2.4 million followers via @chanelofficial before it even posted any of its of its own content on there. (It finally did for the first time in October 2014.) Retweet or regram your influencers, integrate their posts into your own digital assets, and strive to push that advocacy further.

Don’t forget to interact with your fans. Social media is not a one-way channel, but it’s still very much considered so by many designer brands. Fashion Week is an ideal time to break that code and interact more regularly with existing and aspiring consumers. Rebecca Minkoff is a great brand to look at for inspiration. It took the idea of direct engagement a step further in 2014 by involving Instagram fans in a critical decision related to the show: which of two looks would walk the runway. It was an incredibly simple post featuring two shots side by side with the opportunity for followers to vote. It worked.

RebeccaMinkoff_vote

Do partner with influencers. Beyond the reposts and the interactions, think about setting up more strategic relationships with influencers in the space. They don’t have to be bloggers; perhaps they’re Instagram artists or Pinterest stars. Tommy Hilfiger in September 2014 introduced what it referred to as its “First Timers” campaign, giving access to a group of digital influencers from outside the fashion industry. Experts from the worlds of music, art, floristry, travel and architecture were all invited. This season, it’s introduing an “Instapit” for Instagram users. Tumblr also runs a scheme every season that sees up-and-coming artists and photographers on its channel, taken on tour throughout Fashion Week; they hit some of the big shows, meet the designers and enhance their own networks. Open up your space to influential outsiders.

Do back all of this with budget. Free only goes so far these days. Partnerships take money. Content takes money. Most important: If you really want to target specific sets of customers, boosting your presence with real media spend is what makes all the difference. Think about doing so in real time, reacting to what is working and getting behind it to push it further.

Do think beyond the moment. It’s easy to get carried away during Fashion Week in a bid to keep up with what everyone else is doing. The amount of incredible visual assets at your disposal certainly helps, but don’t forget about what that means for your digital profile the rest of the year. Brands that enjoy the best engagement are the ones that maintain the quality, volume and velocity of Fashion Week long after the live stream. Look to Victoria’s Secret for inspiration: Its annual show has become an entertainment property in its own right, and the content it surrounds it with is equally commendable.

Or maybe… Don’t bother. If you’re not already an integral part of Fashion Week — set up with a scheduled slot for your show or presentation — consider how necessary it is to bid for relevance. Yes, there are opportunities for digital engagement, but it’s even easier to just get lost in the noise entirely. If you have something to launch, truly consider a different time of year before you use up valuable resource — not only might your consumers pay more attention, but so will others in the industry.

Categories
Blocks e-commerce

Alibaba’s Taobao gets serious about luxury

taobao1

Alibaba’s getting serious about the quality of the goods on its platforms and wants to attract more high-end brands. How’s it going to do it? The poacher is turning gamekeeper. The e-commerce giant frequently criticised for allowing counterfeit or low quality goods onto its sites is teaming up with four third-party inspection agencies to boost the quality of products sold on its C2C Taobao site.

The company has already boosted the high-end credentials of its B2C platform Tmall and last year Burberry became the first luxury brand to open a virtual shopfront there (as pictured below).

Now it’s Taobao’s turn. The aim is to help Taobao satisfy consumer demand for better quality and also help local manufacturers improve their offer. In the process Taobao could shift slightly from its original C2C marketplace concept. As more reputable manufacturers see it as a channel through which they can sell their products (without being tainted by an image of poor quality and rampant counterfeiting) change is inevitable.

Anyway, the four agencies Taobao is linking with all have heavyweight credentials and include Swiss inspection & certification agency SGS, Germany’s TUV, French agency Bureau Veritas, and the China Certification and Inspection Group.

burberry-tmall

The company is spending billions in order to attract over 10,000 higher quality manufacturers to set up shop on Taobao and it has a target of CNY100bn (that’s nearly $16bn) for such goods.

Earlier this year Taobao set up a vertical channel for high-end Chinese manufacturers and more than 4,500 of them have set up stores already, with sales of over CNY15bn expected by year-end.

The move makes good business sense. Taobao itself has said its growth has been slowing down as it’s struggled to remove low quality goods and counterfeits from the site. It should also reduce the chances of it being sued as it has been in the past. Only this year Gucci owner Kering sued Alibaba, claiming over 2,700 different Taobao sellers were offering 37,000 counterfeit Gucci bags in one month alone.

The challenge ahead for Taobao is huge. Will luxury labels think it’s doing enough? We’ll have to wait and see.

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

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Editor's pick mobile social media

Are fashion brands prepped to forego quality in order to fulfill the wants of Snapchat?

Stolnikmagazine_march2014_hr
Image via Stolnik magazine

Something is happening with social media content. Where once highly pristine images made all the more perfect with an Instagram filter were a sure-fire strategic win, what’s beginning to take over with younger generations and the early adopter set is a much more candid approach to documenting a moment in time.

From Snapchat to Periscope (and all the other live streaming apps in between), there’s much more of a raw aesthetic filling our content feeds. It’s unedited, unscripted, totally of the moment, and more authentic as a result. As Lucie Greene, worldwide director at J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, explains, it’s part of a consumer shift in terms of what is deemed acceptable with visual language.

“We’re seeing intimate, real, and even amateur style photography becoming aspirational. And consumers, meanwhile, becoming active creators of content. They’re even starting to see themselves increasingly as their own brand. What’s interesting is that traditional entertainers and fashion brands are embracing this — they’re moving from slick, glossy, synthesised content to more ‘real’ looking imagery,” she says.

Inevitably it’s a big shift for the majority of brands however. In the fashion industry particularly, this more organic form of content is at odds with the increasingly strict controls in place around social media output. For many brands, content is created months in advance. For the giants in the space able to be more flexible, there are large teams and significant creative budgets in order to produce such flawless assets.

Those doing a really nice job of it however (on Snapchat check out Burberry, Valentino and Everlane), are still remaining ‘on brand’ with their output, just with a slightly more lighthearted view. If you’re a subscriber, check out the full report on WGSN to read all about what they’re doing to achieve it, and how true interaction will be the next leap forward in this space.

This post first appeared on WGSN.com/blogs

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Blocks business Comment Editor's pick social media technology

New York Fashion Week (and beyond): Digital do’s and don’ts

This story first appeared on Campaign US

fendi_drone

New York Fashion Week kicks off Wednesday, with hundreds of designers showcasing their latest collections in back-to-back runway shows and presentations. What is fundamentally a trade event — an occasion for press and buyers to see next season’s looks and plan accordingly — has become increasingly consumer facing.

Last season, a reported 1.2 million tweets and 330,000 Instagram posts mentioned #NYFW or related terms. Those weren’t just from brands. Fans and followers around the world (not to mention influencers on site) are tuning in to experience as much of Fashion Week as possible through digital means, soaking up streams of content across multiple channels, then post their own content alongside

Pressure for the brands has never been greater, as teams must consider how to showcase their products as quickly as possible to a huge digital audience. Standing out from the noise has become the greatest challenge no matter the size of the organization. Here are 11 do’s and don’ts for fashion’s big show.

Don’t post weak visuals. This is rule No. 1 for fashion week, a time when Instagram and Twitter are overwhelmed with blurry photos and videos of models as they walk past the front row. No one cares about mere proof that you were there; but they do care about Fashion Week more broadly, so give them something they can’t otherwise see. If you want engagement, think more like Dolce & Gabbana instead: a brand that consistently delivers beautiful still and motion imagery, real time or otherwise. With today’s devices, there’s no excuse for anything but.

dolcegabbana_aw13

Do think beyond the “like.” What are you actually trying to achieve during Fashion Week? This is one of the noisiest times of the year in this industry, so be prepared to put the legwork in to be able to get the sort of numbers you want out. Your first challenge, therefore, is figuring out exactly what your objectives are, and accepting the fact they may be different from what you usually push for. Are you looking to build awareness? Drive traffic? Increase brand affinity? Or actually influence conversions? Apply your answer to the channels you use.

Do determine the channels most suited to your brand. Just because it’s a noisy time of year, don’t feel like you have to jump on every channel because you can, and whatever you do don’t just blind spray the same content across them all. Facebook needs to be different from Pinterest, which needs to be different from Instagram. And you’ll need to consider video, too. If resources are limited, use them wisely by prioritizing which of the big platforms are right for your consumers. Who are you trying to reach, and where are they? It’s worth remembering much of the online Fashion Week crowd won’t be your current customers, but they could be your future ones; targeting them could be quite a different move, so think through how best to capture their attention.

Don’t be scared to experiment. As much as it’s sensible to have a strong base strategy going into Fashion Week, it’s also a time ripe for experimentation. Take risks by trying out new channels and thinking about what you could do on some of the more niche ones. In the past, Fashion Week has seen some great campaign work on the likes of Spotify by Zac Posen, Skype by Victoria Beckham, and WeChat by Burberry. Expect Snapchat to be another platform to make a splash this season. And if something just doesn’t work for you, step away from it. The beauty of digital is being forgiven and forgotten very quickly — so cut your losses and refocus your efforts elsewhere.

VictoriaBeckham_skype

Do think about what will stand out. Snapchat will of course only get you so far. If brand awareness is your goal, then press coverage is key. If you’ve got the resources, go big by considering true innovation. Sometimes it might be seen as a gimmick, but it works. Fendi is a strong example. In February 2014 it introduced drones flying above its Milan Fashion Week show, recording the models as they walked out and beaming that footage back in real time to fans watching at home. The quality was terrible, but every major press outlet reported on it.

Do take advantage of organic content about your brand. If you’re directly involved with Fashion Week, it’s quite likely a lot of content will be generated on your behalf. Use it! Chanel has frequently been one of the most hashtagged fashion brands on Instagram, which helped it generate an enormous 2.4 million followers via @chanelofficial before it even posted any of its of its own content on there. (It finally did for the first time in October 2014.) Retweet or regram your influencers, integrate their posts into your own digital assets, and strive to push that advocacy further.

Don’t forget to interact with your fans. Social media is not a one-way channel, but it’s still very much considered so by many designer brands. Fashion Week is an ideal time to break that code and interact more regularly with existing and aspiring consumers. Rebecca Minkoff is a great brand to look at for inspiration. It took the idea of direct engagement a step further last season by involving Instagram fans in a critical decision related to the show: which of two looks would walk the runway. It was an incredibly simple post featuring two shots side by side with the opportunity for followers to vote. It worked.

RebeccaMinkoff_vote

Do partner with influencers. Beyond the reposts and the interactions, think about setting up more strategic relationships with influencers in the space. They don’t have to be bloggers; perhaps they’re Instagram artists or Pinterest stars. Tommy Hilfiger in September 2014 introduced what it referred to as its “First Timers” campaign, giving access to a group of digital influencers from outside the fashion industry. Experts from the worlds of music, art, floristry, travel and architecture were all invited. Tumblr also runs a scheme every season that sees up-and-coming artists and photographers on its channel, taken on tour throughout Fashion Week; they hit some of the big shows, meet the designers and enhance their own networks. Open up your space to influential outsiders.

Do back all of this with budget. Free only goes so far these days. Partnerships take money. Content takes money. Most important: If you really want to target specific sets of customers, boosting your presence with real media spend is what makes all the difference. Think about doing so in real time, reacting to what is working and getting behind it to push it further.

Do think beyond the moment. It’s easy to get carried away during Fashion Week in a bid to keep up with what everyone else is doing. The amount of incredible visual assets at your disposal certainly helps, but don’t forget about what that means for your digital profile the rest of the year. Brands that enjoy the best engagement are the ones that maintain the quality, volume and velocity of Fashion Week long after the live stream. Look to Victoria’s Secret for inspiration: Its annual show has become an entertainment property in its own right, and the content it surrounds it with is equally commendable.

Or maybe … Don’t bother. If you’re not already an integral part of Fashion Week — set up with a scheduled slot for your show or presentation — consider how necessary it is to bid for relevance. Yes, there are opportunities for digital engagement, but it’s even easier to just get lost in the noise entirely. If you have something to launch, truly consider a different time of year before you use up valuable resource — not only might your consumers pay more attention, but so will others in the industry. This is, after all, a trade event at its very heart.

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Comment social media

Key fashion week trend: social media quality

There’s a lot to be said for the level of quality our industry is producing over social media these days, and rightly so for a world that prides itself on luxury. Whatever it is – better cameras, bigger teams, more budget – it’s working.

Take a look at some of the content highlights from the most recent round of fashion weeks:

Burberry_SS14

ToryBurch_SS14

Chloe_SS14

Prada_SS14

DolceGabbana_SS14

In order: Burberry, Tory Burch, Chloé, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana (as highlighted individually last season), all with beautiful executions across multiple platforms.

In terms of cameras, partnerships with tech companies for Burberry and Tory Burch have undoubtedly helped. The former, as reported at the time, teamed up with Apple (ahead of the news this week of CEO Angela Ahrendt’s move to become Apple’s senior vice president of retail and online stores) to exclusively capture its social media content using the new iPhone 5S iSight camera. This meant incredibly high res images, not to mention benefits including auto image stabilisation, a new ‘burst’ mode that allows users to shoot 10 photos per second, as well as an option for slow-motion.

Tory Burch on the other hand partnered with Sony to shoot its show using the F55 professional 4K camera, resulting in content with four times the resolution of standard high definition video. A detailed view of each and every look was hosted at runway.toryburch.com.

Meanwhile, we’re also seeing those in attendance at the shows sharing higher quality imagery too. Yes there are still blurry runway shots, but better smartphone cameras are of course at the root of this improving. That said, there are two other factors helping this along too:

The first is down to designers increasingly creating scenes for the crowd to want to capture. As Elizabeth Holmes of the WSJ reported: “Designers have a few tricks – falling under the heading ‘Instabait’ – to create moments that even hard-to-impress fashion week veterans can’t help but click and post.” These vary from elaborate set designs and props, to celebrity showcases.

The BoF covered this during the menswear shows in July too, writing: “In recent seasons, it’s become increasingly common for fashion shows to end with a tableau of models, perfectly positioned to be snapped and shared on social media. But at the most recent round of Paris menswear and couture shows, the staging of these instantly sharable moments rose to a whole new level of sophistication.”

A second factor that might begin shaping this lean towards quality all that much further, was hinted at by Tommy Hilfiger this season. As previously covered, it offered up a service that delivered assets – pictures through to collection information – upon request to showgoers over email in real-time. The aim was to “allow the industry to curate and share a new layer of exclusive, customised content on their own digital platforms for their followers during the show”. Doing so however cleverly put Tommy Hilfiger back in charge of the look and feel of its brand in the social space, ensuring its quality was as on-brand as possible throughout.

It might be a week for talking about technology, innovation and where the two cross with fashion thanks to that news from Burberry and Apple, but it’s important to ensure nailing content and quality likewise gets the attention it deserves. Overall the result is undoubtedly a better experience for the consumer so long may it continue. And for once, long may other industries be inspired by just how well (and by that we mean beautifully) ours can do digital.