Comment technology

An inspirational note: fashion needs to take risk

Despite the significant number of start-ups there are in the fashion space today, the propensity with which the fashion industry in its more ‘traditional’ sense – its brands namely – is open to taking risk, remains very small. There’s a lot to be learnt from the tech world’s “failing fast” mentality to ultimately achieve reward.

So here’s a friendly reminder for the weekend. A touch of inspiration from poet Christopher Logue:

“Come to the edge
We might fall
Come to the edge
It’s too high!
And they came
And he pushed
And they flew”

As told by Steve Zades, creator of the Odyssey Project on Imaginative Intelligence, during a talk on the role of technology for the future of apparel at the Museum of FIT’s tech syposium in New York this week.


technology Uncategorized

Velocity revisited: key quotes from Stefan Olander and Ajaz Ahmed for brand marketers in 2013


I recently rediscovered my copy of Velocity: The Seven New Laws for a World Gone Digital, written by Ajaz Ahmed of AKQA and Stefan Olander of Nike, and published last summer.

In it are dozens of tabs bookmarking pages with my favourite quotes on, so I thought I’d share some of them here. It’s one of the most valuable books I’ve read regarding the movement of digital communications for brand marketers, and highly applicable to the fashion industry just as much throughout.

If you haven’t already, do pick up a copy – I defy you to get through it without likewise picking up the highlighter pen…

Stefan: “Without a platform to manage and nurture every interaction with its consumer, a company has no spine.”

Ajaz: “We’re in the age of connectedness. The solution is to create work that people want to share. Ideas that define culture rather than follow it.”

Stefan: “Belief in your ideas and an environment that encourages risk taking is incredibly important to create acceleration.”

Ajaz: “The philosophy has to be: let’s use the technology to make this the best way to do something, or let’s not bother doing it at all. The goal has to be about making a new experience an order of magnitude better than the existing way.”

Stefan: “People will usually thank you for taking the responsibility to curate their choices, for making things simpler for them, for doing the truly inconvenient stuff on their behalf. This means editing down product lines and ramping up product benefit.”

Ajaz: “Brands that have authentic, believable values use the spirit and energy of those convictions to ease effortlessly into any new environment. Even with a pre-digital heritage, they’ve found interesting methods and ideas to express their stories.”

Stefan: “We’re not chasing eyeballs. The goal is to create connections with our customers and earn their loyalty by serving them. The better the service, the stronger the connection.”

These two guests comments also stood out:

Trevor Edwards, VP of brand and categories at Nike: “The single biggest opportunity today is that buying a product or service marks the beginning of the consumer relationship.”

And in the intro by Richard Branson: “We’re living through a time of big and little changes in the way we do just about everything and the only people and organisations guaranteed to make fools of themselves are the ones who think they have got it all figured out.”

Now there’s something to consider for the year ahead…

e-commerce film Uncategorized

Yet to be seduced by shoppable advertising

There’s an interesting debate about shoppable videos in this week’s issue of Marketing Magazine in the UK. In it, I comment on why I’m not yet sold on the idea in its entirety.

Read the full story here – Branded content: watch before you buy – or see below for my extract…

Click-to-buy videos have grabbed the headlines as the industry tries to cash in on the growing appetite for highly creative and beautiful films, but I am unconvinced.

Most consumers do not want to watch a video, especially those any longer than 30-60 seconds, if they are trying to get something out of it. There’s a disconnection between viewing for entertainment and for purpose.

Shoppable content aims to capture consumers at the point of inspiration and the moment of intent, but to do so, it has to work – and easily.

This is not always the case, as one luxury brand learned last year when its shoppable ad simply didn’t work – there was not enough time for the user to move the cursor to click on the item being advertised before the frame changed.

Perhaps Target’s short-film series, Falling for You, provides a better example of where this trend is going to go. Its column running alongside the content featuring items from its collection is like a digital update on product placement.

The concept of the shoppable film is novel, but to work in the long run, it has to be fast, seamless and closer to the nature of online behaviour to have true and lasting cut-through.


How the recession changed the luxury-advertising landscape

“The recession was the best thing that ever happened to the fashion industry. A lot of what was going on before the recession felt very formulaic… [It] was a great opportunity to get a bit more aggressive and dip your toe into digital or something nontraditional,” Richard Christiansen, founder-creative director of Chandelier Creative.

As quoted in a piece by Advertising Age looking at how boutique agencies are helping make high-end brands more approachable through digital. A month old, but well worth a read.