Wednesday, October 14th, 2015 | 8 min read
Have you ever felt that buzz of excitement emanating off the audience as they leave a mind-blowing movie, a world-rocking gig, or even a thought-provoking social media conference?
Live events provide a great opportunity for brands to create unforgettable experiences for their customers. From fashion shows to big sports games to award shows, brands can nurture their customer relationships through personalized experiences that will stay with the customer long after the events have ended.
During the recent Fashion Week, we saw brands team up with the likes of Intel, Google, Periscope, and other tech and social media innovators, leading the way in creating memorable customer experiences. They explored personalized Instagram messages, apps that give shoppers exclusive access to products, live-streaming, and drones that give customers a unique view of the shows.
It’s clear that, with each Fashion Week, brands increasingly go out of their way to draw the customer in and make sure they enjoy the experience. And with 86% of customers happy to pay more for a better customer experience, it makes sense that events are used to form an important part of this overall brand experience, too.
Some of the biggest fashion trends to come out of Fashion Week S/S16 were romantic ruffles and floral blooms, but when it comes to marketing, the leading trend was clearly live streaming.
While Saks opted for Meerkat streaming, showing the audience different views of the action,
Ralph Lauren and Desigual used Twitter-owned Periscope to bring the NYFW experience to fans all over the world, revealing a mixture of runway fashion and backstage hype. And the live content wasn’t just restricted to mobile and desktop, as Ralph Lauren beamed Periscope videos to Billboards across the pond in London, too.
Meanwhile, at Tommy Hilfiger, we saw the world debut of Twitter Halo, a multi-camera device that can share 360° videos on Twitter in real-time, which were used to share in-the-moment backstage content. This may have contributed to the brand’s 30% increase in impressions compared to the previous Fashion Week.
Drones also played an important part in this season’s Fashion Weeks, capturing a bird’s eye view of the runway and celebrity audience members. For example, at the Rebecca Minkoff show, which also featured other tech elements like smart handbags, drones were used to capture the models walking the runway, as well as the celebrities watching them.
Live streaming fashion shows brings something that has traditionally been all about exclusivity and prestige to the masses. It puts the customer first. Afterall, if you can’t bring all of your customers to the live event, bring the event to your customers!
It’s clear that social media is becoming more and more important in the fashion industry, like all industries, with models achieving celebrity status largely through clever management of their social properties, and brands revealing precious new designs on social.
Always ahead of the digital curve, Burberry came up with another fashion first by turning to Snapchat before the show. They shared a preview of their entire collection to 100 million followers the day before the official unveiling. They also continued to engage Snapchat audiences with Stories from the live event.
Misha Nonoo has also done pioneering work in the space of virtual fashion shows, this time through the power of Instagram.
DKNY added an individual touch to their Instagram campaign by using the direct message feature to interact with their fans on a personal level. Fans who followed looks from the show tagged #DKNYSS16 could use the Instagram Direct button to tell @dkny which looks they were most interested in. They then received personalized responses, which explained more about the looks, including inspiration, sketches and exclusive behind-the-scenes photos.
Vogue and Teen Vogue also gave their fans access to extra Fashion Week content with a series of specially created YouTube videos featuring models and celebrities like Karlie Kloss. According to Google Internal Data, ‘Fashion Week’ content on YouTube has increased by 400% compared to two years ago, showing the popularity of video marketing for the bi-yearly global event.
Aside from the many designers who featured wearable tech as part of their fashion collections this season (such as an Intel-powered smart sports bra showcased during NYFW and Zac Posen and Google’s collaborative little black dress coded by girls), wearables took on a new form. Not just focused on making everyday life a little easier, these new smart garments also enhanced the customer experience during the live event.
Henry Holland teamed up with Visa Europe Collab, giving front row VIP guests at the House of Holland show smart rings. These contained an NFC chip that linked up to items of clothing embedded with a VISA receiver tag, which linked to VISA’s payment network via Bluetooth. Attendees paid for items by holding their ring near the tag, and they then received the items on their way out of the show.
This heightens the overall experience, giving customers something physical to take away with them from the show. It also elevates audience participation to the next level. They are no longer passive spectators; now they can gain something physical from the experience, too.
This echoes the trend for social shopping, which more and more brands are subscribing to.
Drone technology and the rise of live streaming social platforms like Periscope and Meerkat mean that brands can offer fashion lovers from around the world a front-row experience at Fashion Week – or at any other big event. Meanwhile, social channels are the perfect medium through which to offer consumers exclusive content they won’t find elsewhere, which helps get them excited for upcoming events.
Wearable tech has been the future of fashion for a while now, and this Fashion Week showed us how it can be used to enhance (and expedite) the buying experience and push the boundaries of social shopping. It’s easy to imagine wearable fashion that connects consumers with products taking off in the future – maybe someday we’ll be able to point our cell phones at a jacket that we catch a glimpse of on the street and find out where to buy it online.
All of these tactics lead back to the importance of making customers feel valued by showing them your brand is prepared to go the extra mile to give them what they want. Surprise and delight them with relevant content, and consumers will continue to come back for more.
About the Author: Bianca Ohannessian is the Senior Content Manager at Sprinklr London. With a passion for fashion and an appetite for adventure, when she’s not writing copy, she’s out exploring the globe.