The luxury fashion industry has been going through somewhat of an identity crisis for some years, trying to fit in with new millennium and generation Y and research shows that digital marketing is a topic that luxury marketing can’t ignore (Hiene, 2013). Whatever the case, social media following has become a big deal to brands eager to reach today’s consumer, and they’ll often rely on fashion bloggers to make it happen. Fashion bloggers have capitalised on the trend of luxury brands looking for a helping hand to elevate their digital profile, rewarding themselves the title “digital influencer” (Eytan, 2016). The term was coined when their audience started to shift away from the blogs, and instead started following these fashion bloggers predominantly via Instagram, with many of your favourite bloggers now appearing on the front row of all major shows and have started to appear in more luxury and VIP campaigns. The current argument within the luxury fashion sector is whether bloggers work in luxury fashion marketing. Many argue than bloggers can cheapen the look of these expensive brands and using them can take away the exclusivity that many of the luxury fashion consumers are looking for. With the belief that the blogging world can take away the expensiveness and exclusivity of the brand, picking the right brand ambassadors for the campaign and target audience is an important feature for the success of your campaign.
Picking which blogger to choose can be difficult as there are now so many – but the reality is the VIP target market is less engaged and trusting in bloggers with millions of followers over bloggers with smaller audiences because the relation is less personal, and consumers react well to personalisation (Gordan and Hulls, 2015) and relatability. These smaller and more select bloggers are called power middle bloggers (The Realtime Report, 2013), power middle bloggers provide qualitative blogs with followings between 10’000 and 50’000 monthly visits. They provide the highest quality content but within communities that are highly trusting, even for sponsored articles (Phelan, 2016). These smaller blogs will not be compromised on the “exclusivity aspect” that luxury brands love so much and their audience will be more reactive and provide better results. Power middle bloggers are gently dethroning celebrities and star bloggers; people are looking for fashion, travel, lifestyle blogs when it comes to get inspiration and be inspired, not celebrities, especially within the luxury market.
These power middle fashion bloggers have now started to appear more and more within the luxury sector, one of the most successful and recent blogger and luxury brand collaboration was Coach’s campaign in 2010 which consisted of four fashion bloggers Simpson of What Is Reality Anyway, Kelly Framel of The Glamourai, Karla Deras of Karla’s Closet, and Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere to design limited-edition bags for the company. The four bloggers chosen were four well known fashion bloggers, which at the time was a small pool to choose from therefore they still had a small and exclusive following at the time. A study on the impact of luxury fashion brand’s social media marketing on customer relationship and purchase Intention proves the effectiveness of luxury brands’ SMM on both customer relationships and purchase intention (Kim and Ko, 2010). With this in mind and the successful coach collaboration it proves that digital marketing and that bloggers can work with luxury fashion brand and showed that luxury brands can still have that VIP edge, even with the use of a daily blogger.
The relationship between bloggers and social media within the luxury market will always be one in which people disagree. The idea that bloggers can cheapen an exclusive and expensive brand is the obvious statement. However previous brands have proved that using the correct blogger, usually a smaller and more exclusive blogger, can work within this new technologically obsessed era. This shows that when creating a campaign using bloggers, especially within the luxury market, picking the bloggers, and ensuring they suit your target audience, can influence whether the campaign is going to be successful or not. Consumers need to feel that they can relate and trust the bloggers and with influencer marketing becoming the new content king (Morrison, 2015) it’s even more important for the influencer used to be relatable and to your target market.
Eytan, D. (2016). Are Fashion Bloggers Able to Convert Followers into Buyers?. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/?toURL=https://www.forbes.com/sites/declaneytan/2016/05/11/are-fashion-bloggers-able-to-convert-followers-into-buyers/&refURL=https://www.google.co.uk/&referrer=https://www.google.co.uk/ [Accessed 5 Apr. 2017].
Gordon, K. and Hulls, R. (2015). Consumers want Control of Personalisation in Order to Build Trust. [online] Digitalmarketingmagazine.co.uk. Available at: http://digitalmarketingmagazine.co.uk/digital-marketing-data/consumers-want-control-of-personalisation-in-order-to-build-trust [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017].
Hiene, K. (2013). Luxury goes digital: how to tackle the digital luxury brand–consumer touchpoints. Journal of global fashion marketing, 5(3).
Kim, A. and Ko, E. (2010). Impacts of Luxury Fashion Brand’s Social Media Marketing on Customer Relationship and Purchase Intention. Journal of Global Fashion Marketing, 1(3), pp.164-171.
Morrison, K. (2015). Why Influencer Marketing is the New Content King [Infographic]. [online] Adweek.com. Available at: http://www.adweek.com/digital/why-influencer-marketing-is-the-new-content-king-infographic/ [Accessed 26 Apr. 2017].
Phelan, H. (2016). The Power of the Mid-Tier Blogger. [online] Racked. Available at: http://www.racked.com/2016/5/23/11703698/mid-tier-bloggers-whatvwore [Accessed 23 Apr. 2017].
The Realtime Report. (2013). “Power Middle” Influencer Marketing Campaigns Drive 16x Engagement Of Paid Or Owned Media – The Realtime Report. [online] Available at: http://therealtimereport.com/2013/03/20/power-middle-influencer-marketing-campaigns-drive-16x-engagement-of-paid-or-owned-media/ [Accessed 26 Apr. 2017].
Bloggers are the third most trustworthy source of information behind friends and family according to an independent survey of UK consumers commissioned by affiliate network, affilinet (Affili.net, 2015) and many believe influencer or blogger marketing to be the next big thing in advertising (adweek.com,2015). Online influence has become a valuable tool for the bloggers of today and whether they are modelling the latest new fashion, attending photo shoots or inspiring people through their every day life, the rise of the everyday blogger should not be underestimated. When someone mentions influencer marketing you automatically think of celebrities and their affiliation with certain products. However alongside the rise in blogging when it comes to influencing purchasing decisions, celebrities simply don’t hold the sway they used to. Bloggers have become powerful influencers, leading to retailers rapidly realising the importance of bloggers and increasingly using them for promotions over your favourite celebrities to avoid becoming obsolete in today’s Instagram and Snapchat-obsessed world
(Worn Through, 2015)
The trend for bloggers has increased significantly over recent years; today bloggers tend to make use of a wide variety of social networking channels to communicate with their followers and engage online through sites such as Facebook, twitter and Instagram. Blogging is no longer simply about posting an article and watching the comments appear. Bloggers are now posting honest and frank reviews on beauty products, lifestyle changes and fashion, leaving brands open to any form of criticism, meaning partnerships with bloggers would be beneficial to brands in 2017. The purchase behaviour of today’s consumers is increasingly influenced by reviews over traditional forms of advertising, and by participating in blogger outreach campaigns, brands can influence the social conversation around their product offering.
Recently brands have started paying attention to these ‘influencers’ and rightly so, as they should be a crucial part of their marketing and communications strategy, a blogger is the mutual friend connecting your brand with your target consumers (Matthews, 2013). According to Fashionista, a number of bloggers have signed contracts with prestigious brands as a result of their fashion content creation and overall influence, by merging online and offline worlds, they’re building brands to rival celebrities. Emily Schuman (Cupcakes & Cashmere), for example, signed a deal with Estee Lauder, and Elin Kling (styled by kling) cooperates with H&M, Urban Outfitters and Gap on several campaigns and projects.
The downfall of the celebrity influencer
Brands using celebrities are often hoping for an aspirational connection, even though the lifestyle of a Hollywood star or famous athlete isn’t particularly relatable for most of us. Bloggers, on the other hand, represent a unique intersection of celebrity and “person like me.” When they talk about a product, their audience can relate to the experience. Instead of following suit with traditional advertising techniques, many fashion brands are adopting novel ways of collaborating with influencers to expand brand recognition and promote sales. Consumers no longer feel the same attraction towards celebrity-endorsed commercials overflowing with glamour and luxury as they seem too good to be true. Now, customers look towards a more down to earth pool of inspiration — photographers, Instagram stars, Viners, Youtube celebrities, SnapChat personalities, and these influencers are closer to our lives, which makes the fashion products they are promoting appear more attainable.
So why do bloggers work so well?
Likability: Bloggers are usually chatty and friendly people. They have likeable personalities and many viewers feel like their friends – with their honest opinions and true to life flaws.
Similarity: Consumers are more relatable to the everyday person. They don’t have flawless skin and they aren’t all size 8 skinny models. This authenticity makes them relatable.
Attractiveness: Of course there are many bloggers who share the attractiveness of our favourite celebrities, however bloggers’ down to earth personalities make them relatable as well as pleasing to watch.
Expertise: Bloggers ensure they do their research online, get invited to press trips to see new collections exclusively and test out countless launches, and therefore are the perfect source for up-to-date accurate information in their expertise
Trustworthiness: Sponsored posts are usually clearly marked (with an #ad hashtag) and most bloggers only talk about products they genuinely love; viewers can trust bloggers’ recommendations.
In contrast, celebrities score highly on the attractiveness front of course. But bloggers clearly win when it comes to similarity, likability, expertise and trustworthiness. Consumers are able to relate more to the everyday person and therefore the use of bloggers over celebrities in campaigns offers consumers a more believable and truthful review of a company. Companies are now seeing this relatability, and along with the following on social media which these bloggers collectively have access too, and how this can lead to a positive relationship for both blogger and brand they their research online, get invited to press trips to see new collections exclusively and test out countless launches, and therefore they are the perfect source for up-to-date accurate information in their expertise
Adweek.com. (2015). 10 Reasons Why Influencer Marketing is the Next Big Thing. [online] Available at: http://www.adweek.com/digital/10-reasons-why-influencer-marketing-is-the-next-big-thing/ [Accessed 17 Apr. 2017].
Affili.net. (2015). Bloggers trusted more than celebrities, journalists, brands and politicians. [online] Available at: https://www.affili.net/uk/about-affilinet/press-and-news/2015/bloggers-trusted-more-than-celebrities-journalist [Accessed 3 Apr. 2017].
Cupcakes & Cashmere. (2012). Estée Lauder and Cupcakes and Cashmere. [online] Available at: http://cupcakesandcashmere.com/beauty/estee-lauder-and-cupcakes-and-cashmere [Accessed 5 Apr. 2017].
Matthews, K (2013). The Definitive Guide to Influencer Targeting. [online] Available at: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/guide-to-influencer-targeting/ [Accessed 17 Apr. 2017].
Worn Through. (2015). You Should Be Reading: Fashion Blogging and Vlogging. [online] Available at: http://www.wornthrough.com/2015/03/you-should-be-reading-fashion-blogging-and-vlogging/ [Accessed 17 Apr. 2017].
Though luxury retailers pride themselves on their exclusivity, the rise in social media is changing the fashion scene. The dynamics of the luxury retailer have changed rapidly with 75% of wealthy internet users active on social media (The Fashion Law, 2017). As social media has become one of the main forms of communication, customers now expect much more from luxury retailer brands than what has been delivered using traditional marketing techniques. While the majority of luxury brands pride themselves on their exclusivity, social media aims to reach a large audience and a wider scope. The problem which these large luxury brands face is how to engage with social media without lowering the image of your luxury brand. There is a worry about loss of control and brand reputation when using social media, as most high end brands are realising that social media provides the platform for customers to research and discuss the companies, leading to many seeing luxury and social media as incompatible. Therefore there are specific steps to be taken in order to maintain the high end vision of the company.
In order to create a social media page which is able to keep the brand values and reputation you must let the customer lead the way, especially with luxury brands and loyal customers. Luxury consumers can be hard to please, do not want to lose current customers who invest money in clothing due to its luxury branding and price tag rather than its use of social media (Smith,2013). Therefore it is important for luxury brands to keep that exclusivity and high end feel over there social media presence. DKNY for example have created the perfect consumer driven social media page with over 300,000 followers asking questions and discussing the brand in a positive light, keeping their consumers happy.
Establishing brand values is especially important for high end retailers who mostly cater for the rich and famous. High end customers don’t want to see the VIP edge taken off the company they have invested a lot of money in therefore these companies need to ensure they keep up the luxurious feeling that current and previous customers have been involved in. Louis Vuitton have been able to uphold there high end sophistication across their social media with there beautiful digital campaigns and their fan base obsessively follows the brand on Twitter, where LV gives exclusive sneak peeks and hosts extremely high-end giveaways as part of their global product launches.
Using social media can be seen as an easy option but keeping up with the new technology and trends of social media can be fast and tricky. A current marketing trend is that of using influences of famous faces and vloggers can reach the interests of the technological world. However this use of bloggers and collaborations would have to work with those of the brand values of the company to ensure that no negative press comes with the chosen celebrity. In 2014, British fashion label Burberry did just that when it recruited models Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne to be the campaign faces of the then-new My Burberry fragrance. When the announcement was made it marked the first time the British It models had worked together, which furthered the attention the campaign received.
Social media doesn’t work if you’re not social, bringing people to the sites is a positive start but there will be no point in the sites if no one comments or interacts. Brands need to focus on putting posts and information that makes their customers engage and join in the conversation. By engaging with both core consumers and the broader digital audience, luxury brands have an opportunity to use the marketing potential offered by social media and create high anthropomorphism perceptions (the extent to which consumers’ associate human characteristics with brands (Hudson et al, 2016)) to ensure brand loyalty and engagement.
In luxury it is even more important to have a focus on social, with two-thirds of the target audience generating content on a regular basis and 15% doing that on a daily basis (Bishop, 2016). Whether luxury brands want to branch in to the wider scope of consumers and log on to social media, the conversation about the company is happening with or without you present. These luxury brands should embrace social media to further connect with their influencers, and to learn everything all about their customers. Luxury and social media can create vast opportunity if collaborated together, just ensure that your current and loyal customers are getting the same brand values which were originally instilled in them.
Bishop, C. (2016). What’s the point of social media for luxury brands?. Econsultancy.
Hudson, S., Huang, L., Roth, M. and Madden, T. (2016). The influence of social media interactions on consumer–brand relationships: A three-country study of brand perceptions and marketing behaviors. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 33(1), pp.27-41.
Smith, C (2013). “The Demographics Of Social Media Audiences, And The Unique Opportunities Offered By Each Network”. Business Insider. N.p., 2017. Web. 31 Jan. 2017.
The Fashion Law. (2017). Luxury Brands and Social Media: How Much is Too Much?. [online] Available at: http://www.thefashionlaw.com/home/luxury-brands-and-social-media [Accessed 14 Feb. 2017].
Discover My Burberry – inspired by the iconic trench coat. (2017). [online] YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1OwrDmO8mY [Accessed 16 Feb. 2017].
Wahacca is a Mexican restaurant which has recently moved down to Brighton offering Mexican street food and fruity cocktails. Following in its Mexican roots Wahacca have used the holiday ‘Day of the Dead’ to create an email marketing promotion to draw people in to the restaurant. This email example is a promotional email from Wahacca currently promoting the deal where if you order one dish from the menu you also receive free tequila and tacos if you show this email.
Any student who sees the title ‘free tacos and tequila’ is instantly drawn to such an inviting email, therefore as soon as the email came through I opened it immediately. Having the word “free” in an email can sometimes be seen in junk or scam emails therefore when creating a subject line like this you need to ensure that as soon as the customer opens the email they know it’s not scam and Wahacca does this by making sure the terms and conditions were clear when you first open the email, just to prove its legitimate!
Design & Images
The email is clear, concise and does what it says on the tin! As soon as you open the email you see the words “Free Tacos and Tequila” right in the middle of the page in clear white and blue text, which also fits the day of the dead theme. The pink background fits with the Wahacca branding and also keeps with the theme once you click on the landing page, it has also incorporated the day of the dead skulls which are a well-known image within that event, ensuring people know it’s a reason to celebrate! The lack of imagery on the email apart from ‘free tacos and tequila’ means that is isn’t 100% obvious where the email is from but the use of colours to match Wahacca’s branding has helped make it clearer to the audience where to gain this promotion as well as the landing page link.
Call to action
The link to the booking page is under Wahacca’s homepage therefore the email is also advertising there website as well as urging you to come in to the restaurant. Once you click on the link you are first taken to the booking screen showing you all the different locations and along the side you can see all the different tabs for the website including its home page, about Wahacca and events. When the audience click on the link to the Wahacca landing page it also asks for personal information when booking a table. This is a clever way of gathering data from the Wahacca customer as this data capture can be used in future emails where Wahacca will be able to personalise your emails and make them more specific towards you based on your purchases. The landing page is clear and relevant and continues to work with the Reach–Act–Convert–Engage model by converting the audience to book a table for the event and therefore engaging with Wahacca and purchasing there services, which also backed up by Ellis-Chadwick, Fiona and Doherty, Neil F. (2012) in their study of emails and there use of hyperlinks and interactivity to initially attract customers’ attention and then encourage further interest.
This email is an example of a promotional email triggered by an event and is trying to attract people in to the restaurant to celebrate day of the dead. Within the email is a link within the phrase “book now”, this is the obvious call to action from the promotional email, this is encouraging people to book a table as soon as the email gets to their inbox as the bold wording “now” makes the audience think that tables might not be available if they don’t. This is a clever use of marketing as people will be the most keen to visit the restaurant and use this promotion as soon as they read the email, especially as its advertising free food and drink, which is always appealing. In order to engage with the offer the email asks you to put in personal details such as your name, email address and address.
A follow up email “Sorry…Taco delay” was then sent a few days later which showed a weakness within Wahaccas marketing. Although I had already put in my personal details there was a lack of personalisation within this second email, which was also telling me that they were delaying their promotion! The email stuck to the original promotional emails theme showing the connection and who the email was from before you even read the content which shows good branding from Wahacca.
I believe this promotional email works well for the audience, it advertises the promotion well and entices the customers with the idea of celebration and free food, however the lack of personalisation within the emails could hold potential customers back as the email can just look very generic. My suggestion to Wahacca would be to use the information that the audience has provided within further emails, as studies have shown the use of personalisation through data mining is the most effective way to ensure customer satisfaction and increase loyalty (Sterne and Priore, 2000) and therefore will engage more in further promotions and events, especially as the information has already been given to them in the initial sign up stage.
Ellis-Chadwick, Fiona and Doherty, Neil F. (2012). Web advertising: the role of email marketing. Journal of Business Research, 65(6) pp. 843–848.
Sterne, J. and Priore, A. (2000). Email marketing. New York [u.a.]: Wiley.
Will you #bringdowntheking!
Game of thrones is one of the worlds most watched television programmes across the world therefore sky saw the perfect opportunity within the launch of its fourth series and its current place within New Zealands market. With the rise in social media Sky took this opportunity to create an inexpensive but successful social media campaign to boost there presence. The small proportion of the world who hadn’t watched an episode of Game of Thrones were usually those who were stubborn and often weren’t interested in it at all, these were the people sky wanted to target! With the help of DDB and Brandwatch Sky were able to reach new customers all over the world without them realising it was an advertisement, no one likes to read a sales pitch! By using analytics, one of modern days best tools, Brandwatch were able to track the most talked about issues within Game of Thrones and then used this to there advantage. Everyone loves to talk about a villain, therefore everyone loved to tweet about a villain. Using the #bringdowntheking Sky and Brandwatch created a statue of King Joffrey placed in a popular square in New Zealand and every interaction or mention with the #bringdowntheking saw the Game of Thrones villain winched down. Even if you weren’t interested in Game of Thrones being part of something so extraordinary brought in the interest of thousands of new potential fans of the show, and so the thousands of potential new sky customers.
The use of analytics played a massive part in this social media campaign, in order to engage with the viewers emotions. To create a successful social media campaign you need to know the content will be of interest to your target market, with Brandwatch able to take the main talking points from GOT fans they were able to give them exactly what they wanted – to #bringdowntheking. The campaign reached 43 million people in 163 different countries, something sky wouldn’t have been able to do by themselves. The joint venture allowed every business involved to gain publicity and achieve there goals through the use of popular social media activity, the modern day marketing trick! Social media campaigns are thought to be an easy way out of marketing, this case proves that’s not the case. Many different aspects of social media and content must be thought about before anything can be launched to ensure the success of the event. However when used correctly this case also proves that it could be the way forward to create brand awareness for your business!
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