Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 | 8 min read
Don’t be fooled; Fashion Week is not just about the clothes! It’s also a time when fashion houses try to outshine one another with innovative digital marketing. More shows are live streamed to massive online audiences than ever before. And these days, it’s not just magazine editors that fashion brands want in the front row but also bloggers and digital-savvy celebrities that will increase their newest line’s social media exposure.
With Fashion Week New York starting tomorrow we decided to look at a few of the most interesting marketing trends seen at previous Fashion Week events – trends that non-fashion brands can learn from, too.
Fashion labels are using technology to breathe new life into the selfie, tapping into their fans’ natural behavior on social media in order to connect with them.
London Fashion Week saw a fashion-first when Cara Delevigne glided down the GILES runway with her smartphone last February, posting a selfie video on Instagram. Content doesn’t get much more exclusive than that.
Similarly, Diane von Furstenberg sent models down the runway wearing Google Glass in order to post social media content from a model’s perspective. Could this become more popular as wearable technology develops?
Photo via Marketing Land
Designer Matthew Williamson introduced a Twitter Mirror backstage at Fashion Week last fall, which was a tablet that let models Tweet photos of themselves just before hitting the runway with the hashtag #OhMW. Matthew Williamson’s previous Fashion Week campaigns have also pushed social media that little bit further with Tweets and Vines that let users zoom in on details on the garments.
How You Can Steal This: Investing in a Twitter Mirror might not be the best route for your brand, although it has worked well for big sports events and award shows. However, running a selfie competition, inviting fans to share brand-related selfies for the chance to win a prize, is also a fun way to tap into selfie culture.
One way to increase chatter among fans is to put them at the center of your campaign. Marc Jacobs created social buzz by crowd sourcing models through Instagram and Twitter. The #castmemarc contest generated over 70,000 entries. This is now a growing trend as other labels like DKNY try sourcing models through social media. There’s likely to be a lot of talent and expertise hidden within your brand’s fan base which could be worth exploring.
Rebecca Minkoff found another way to get fans on board by putting them in the driver’s seat. They asked their 425,000 Instagram followers to choose which designs made the final cut for the S/S15 New York show. Users were then able to see their chosen designs on the runway.
How You Can Steal This: From crowdsourcing to giving fans control over the products that they see, brands should always be looking for new ways to grasp their customers’ attention and make them feel valued. Other ways brands can get fans involved is through poll style posts, customer reviews and ‘fan of the week’ posts, or even by running contests to find guest bloggers.
Creating online buzz around your product launch or event has become so valuable that some brands are now accepting social currency as a form of payment – tweets and posts in exchange for goods. User-generated content can help bring out the human side of a company and reinforce your brand message.
A Marc Jacobs Tweet shop popped up in New York in the run up to Fashion Week, followed by another in London this summer. The Tweet-to-buy mechanism meant that customers were only able to purchase products by posting on social media with the hashtag #MJDaisyChain, with the best photos and videos being rewarded with more valuable prizes, like jewellery.
The interactive space was designed to facilitate social interaction, from the free Wi-Fi to the Vine booth and live Tweet screen. In addition to creating buzz around the hashtag (#MJDaisyChain peaked at 1,700 per day), it helped fans connect to the brand and with each other as they interacted with like-minded fashion fans.
How You Can Steal This: Brands like Marc Jacobs recognize that a customer’s Tweet has a value and that a carefully crafted Vine animation has an even greater value. A tweet store is one way of generating lots of social content, but not the only way. For example, brands could start by running a simple Instagram contest before jumping into a full Tweet-to-buy campaign.
Real-time content means relevant content, and this makes it more engaging. No one knows this better than fashion brands who live-stream their shows and post backstage content in real-time on their social channels.
In addition to sharing their show in real-time through live streaming, Kenneth Cole also used paid media and a Twitter party to help create buzz at the February 2013 New York Fashion Week. The brand used Promoted Tweets to target users with relevant interests to drive awareness and engagement leading up to and during the show. Users were also incentivized to Tweet the hashtag #KCrunway for a chance to win prizes.
Not only did Kenneth Cole gain 8 times more followers; the brand also reached 430,000 livestream viewers.
For Fashion Week 2012, Topman created an interactive livestream experience that let users take control of the 360° camera and engage with Tweets on the hub page. This got the hashtag trending worldwide on Twitter and helped Topman gain over 100,000 new fans.
The footwear brand Hunter also put an extra twist on their traditional live stream during Fashion Week London 2014 by creating a second screen experience on Instagram. They gave fans a glimpse into the inspiration behind the collection with and invited three Instagram followers to live-post from the show.
How You Can Steal This: Of course, live streams and in-the-moment content aren’t just limited to fashion shows. Any brand that holds an event should be looking at different ways to share exclusive, real-time photos and videos across their various social networks. It’s a good way to engage fans by giving them an insider’s view into your brand.
Fashion brands are using new technological and social media innovations to create social buzz and interact with their fans in unique ways. Let’s review how marketers can incorporate some of these techniques in their own social media strategies:
Now we’d like to hear from you. How do you make sure your social media activity is on trend?
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.