Retailers need to align brand exclusivity with social media marketing in the fashion industry, but a balance needs to be struck when curating experiences on social media and implementing IT strategy.
On the 12thJune, the talented Qudini team got to rub shoulders at the British Fashion Forum with some of the top fashionistas and gurus to speak to them about their take on the latest industry trends and how these high-profile personalities are using technology to transform their brands from the catwalks to the store.
Tom Ford spoke at the event iterating his concern about the changing perception of the catwalk. He expressed his views in front of a packed room of how it has been transformed from being something which was seen as exclusive and luxury in days gone by; where designers would typically launch their collections in the fashion capitals of the world, to that of the selfie obsessed generation taking photos of themselves being at the fashion show rather than paying attention to the clothes and the actual show itself.
How should designers overcome the challenge of maintaining exclusivity versus spoiling the surprise?
A balance needs to be struck between how designers, boutiques and traditional brick and mortar retailers manage the expectations of their customers. With it becoming easier to experience a brand first hand without that exclusive invitation to London or Paris fashion week, it has enabled retailers to be able to offer that exclusive look for less to what could be viewed as the detriment of these couture designers. With over 6,000 tweets being posted each second, brand messages are sent out in real time and experiences are being created. Perceptions of your brand are being talked about whether you embrace or negate it.
Designers, boutiques and retailers alike need to embrace the new challenges which technology presents. As brand curators, your audience, whether at a fashion show or in-store, expects more for less and retailers and brands alike need to take into account the value that it will bring to buyers and how they like to consume information and ensure that they have a strong strategy in place which takes into account these channels which are being used to talk about the brand.
Technology should augment not hinder the brand strategy
When incorporating technology into the design and retail strategy, you need to ensure that it aligns with your audience’s expectations which will help create memorable experiences in the long-run. Designers now have to keep grounded and ensure they are creating experiences for their audiences which connect emotionally and heighten the senses. This means actually finding out what matters to them and keeping it compelling through the use of technology to fulfil their expectations from their reputation on social media to the catwalk itself and everything in between.
Companies have to empower and inspire their brand advocates and evangelists and ensure that they do this at each touchpoint whether through technology or in person. Broken brand promises can lead to financial damage to the brand. Make sure that your staff is trained and ask if not, why not. Are your employees delivering on promises to your brand advocates?
Think integration, not silos
Instead of bemoaning what impact the lost luxe effect will have, designers and boutiques should embrace the new technologies which are out there and use customer touchpoints such as social media and view it as a key channel to create better user experiences online. Unfortunately, there is no one channel anymore, there is in fact an array of them, which can create an opportunity or a challenge depending on the way you look at it. As long as the brand maintains consistency with regards to tone of voice, values, virtues, technology should in fact augment what the brand is doing. From using augmented reality at fashion shows in 2011 where models walked past each other as holograms to the all-round experience and using virtual reality to enable attendees to experience different designers exhibiting in-stores; it is all about aligning what your company values and how you can help reach your customers in a better way.
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