I’m struggling to understand luxury fashion’s temperamental relationship with technology. For example, BOF reports that Chanel only joined Instagram last year, whilst Céline still has no social presence.
I think they have abstained from social and e-commerce because, so far, they haven’t been provoked to change. Fashion hasn’t yet had its ‘Uber moment’ to force the process of adaptation to digital. However, the rise in popularity of online retailers like Farfetch and Net-A-Porter means that the time when luxury brands will need to to adapt or die cannot be far away.
The luxury market is dominated by ideas of exclusivity and aspiration. So brands fear they may diminish their privileged status if they open themselves to social platforms.
However, fashion is inherently visual, so it’s the perfect product to dominate social. Retailers can use platforms such as Instagram and Pintrest to heighten consumers’ aspirational desire for luxury brands.
Instagram is the strongest visual platform with over 300 million users, of which, more than 75% log in daily. Yesmail analysed the 2000 brands who were actively using the social network and saw a 278% growth in followers in 2014. If fashion continues to sideline their social strategy, they are missing a sizeable opportunity to engage directly with their customers.
I believe there are 2 simple ways for fashion brands to make the most of Instagram in 2015:
The new supermodel has fashion credibility alongside a large social following, which will speak directly to millennials. “It girl” Kendall Jenner is the perfect example, with over 16 million followers on Instagram, 9.1 million on Twitter and 7.3 million on Facebook (numbers which would have surely grown by the time you read this). Her social reach is used as leverage to plug her many partnerships with the fashion world. Most famously, in 2014 she announced herself as the face of Estée Lauder in the less than traditional way – through an Instagram photo that showed her on set. That single post gathered more than a million likes coupled with thousands of comments.
Earlier this year, Marc by Marc Jacobs used Instagram to launch their upcoming campaign. Over 70,000 fans posted photo’s of themselves with the #CastMeMarc hashtag in just one week. Not only did they find 9 new faces to represent the brand (lowering the cost of model search and castings) but they also gained a load of free press. If that wasn’t enough, the brand’s connection with the consumer grew, increasing the chances for future engagement and aspiration.
A strategic social strategy aimed at driving consumer engagement will enable luxury fashion brands to remain relevant and sustainable for future growth.
Image: CC/BY/2.0 Christopher Johnson