In this article published on businessoffashion.com, Vikram Alexei Kansara explores how the fashion industry, and luxury brands in particular, are adapting to the digital B2C landscape. It’s a great piece that covers many points, including some that are relevant for all industries. Here are some of the key takeaways.
The New Multi-Touchpoint, “Multilogue” Reality
The writer of the article explains that “media today is fundamentally different. Rather than a monologue, it’s a ‘multilogue’ unfolding in real time across a network of media-technology platforms where consumers are voluntary, active participants, meaning brands can no longer monopolise the conversation and, instead, must forge symbiotic, reciprocal relationships with others.”
Indeed, gone are the days when brand communication was predominantly made up of ads that appeared on billboards, in magazines and / or on television. Today, all of this exists alongside a new medium that has turned traditional advertising on its head: social media. The advent of social networks has led to a dramatic increase in the number of touchpoints between brands and consumers. Brands can share content on a number of platforms but, more importantly, consumers can engage with and respond to that content – a landscape of one-way monologues has therefore made way for one of two-way dialogues.
An Even Greater Focus on Content
Quoted in the Business of Fashion article Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s president for fashion, explains that “we need more and more content to keep alive the emotion that we offer to our customers.” Burberry is also cited as one of the leading luxury brands on social media, thanks in no small part to a dedicated production studio that “outputs a never-ending stream of slick digital content”.
There’s no denying that content must be a priority for any brand looking to stay relevant on social media, and that the content produced must resonate with audiences. L’Oréal is another brand to watch in this regard; thanks to a Social Wall embedded on its main website, the group has created an additional window into all content and made it easy for fans to share posts on their own social networks. You can find out more about the initiative in this case study.
Getting Up Close and Personal
Also quoted in the article is Nathalie Remy of McKinsey, who makes an important point. “Luxury brands are used to creating hero content that is very high-end,” she explains. “But in the digital world, it’s a lot more about emotions, proximity, reactivity.” Luxury brands aren’t the only ones adapting to this new, more “close up” way of communicating with customers; the idea of being more personal, less formal and, at times, more playful is a challenge faced by all brands with a tradition of clean, corporate communication: banks, insurance companies, real estate firms, and so on.
Sticking with the fashion theme, though, Harvey Nichols is a good example of a company that has broken with tradition. Last year, as part of the communication strategy for its loyalty app, the luxury retailer released an unexpectedly quirky video that exposed real-life shoplifters. Shot in the company’s flagship store in London, the video was designed to point out that customers could receive “legal freebies” by using the app. Though not what you would expect of a high-end brand, this is the sort of “catch you off guard” communication that more and more brands are using in order to engage and inspire customers on social media.
The Business of Fashion article concludes with the assertion that “the development of digital capabilities will be necessary for survival.” This sentiment is echoed in an article published on itbusinessedge.com, among others. The fact is that whether your brand sells luxury clothing or household cleaning supplies, the business landscape has gone digital – and you need to do so too.