Luxury fashion meets humour

Stefanno Gabbana defies any controversy and public feuds with his Italian charm and humour, refusing to remain silent and addressing these accusations in his own way. Throughout the years, he’s been online ‘battling’ with protesters, including celebrities like Elton John and Miley Cyrus, all starting from the brand’s politics and his personal expressed views. Never taking these controversies seriously, he defends his brand through unapologetic comments, not wanting to get involved in any political/ social issues.

Consequently, their SS18 campaign featured a #BOYCOTTDOLCE&GABBANA hashtag printed on t-shirts and shared throughout the campaign, as a mock to the ‘haters’ protesting against the brand. They went so far that they created a protest video where the two Dolce&Gabbana designers appear as well and featured it on their website. Taking the public controversy and using it to their own advantage, they showed once again the relaxed spirit of the brand, willingly disassociating themselves with external issues and focusing on keeping the public entertained. After all, bad publicity is still publicity, right?

Some said this approach to address public issues isn’t responsible for such a prestigious brand, but sometimes you have to give it a laugh, fashion is not something to take seriously after all. It’s a form of expression.
Dressing Melania Trump was a move Americans did not approve either, considering Trump’s relationship with American fashion. Stefanno wants nothing to do with politics, ‘especially American politics’, as he stated, and just wants to keep making people happy with couture clothes.

Compared to classic luxury houses such as Chanel or Cline, who refused to have a presence on social media or even have an online store for a long time, in an attempt to maintain a personal relationship with their consumers, there are brands who innovatively went for digital transparency. Up until few years ago, would you imagine being taken behind the scenes through Snapchat, or would you still take that brand seriously? Risky yet successful, digital and online presence is now a MUST for any brand who wants to stay relevant. With Millennials being expected to represent the largest spending generation by 2035, and an important luxury consumer, being able to interact with them where they spend the most time – social media – is essential.

Considering you’re already online and ready to build your public, are you sure you’re speaking their language? Do you master Emoji or Memes? You’ll have to! Gucci proved the fashion scene that they can adapt to the younger customer by launching their 2017 watch campaign through their own memes featuring new products. It was so simple and impactful, having been shared hundreds of thousand times and creating buzz around the campaign. Of course, this strategy fits with Gucci’s brand identity, which is fun, adventureous and unapologetic. Burberry is now not the only brand innovating the digital fashion environment, and you can see why that’s not difficult when you have social media tools in your hands.

Everlane, a niche sustainable brand came up with ‘Transparency Tuesday‘, a series of Instagram and Snapchat stories that take their consumers behind the curtains and into the production process through Q&A sessions. They were also the first brand to launch an entire accessories collection exclusively on Snapchat. Encompassing some of the most current marketing trends today – customization, social media commerce and instant gratification, it built great buzz around the brand and a great consumer response.

So are transparency and humour something you should consider for your future campaigns? We think so, here are some guidelines for how you can do that and bring your consumer closer to you:
MARKETERS TAKEAWAYS
  • Allign your strategy with your target consumer, your message and tone and your brand identity. If these don’t match, your message will come across as forced.
  • All you need is a great idea, some creativity and courage and the right tone.
  • Make social media your market place. Instagram and now Snapchat (TO VERIFY) have the shoppable post tool which some brands are already using to bring social media followers straight to their online shops. The process needs to be quicker and easier to navigate everyday, since people’s attention span is nothing to joke about.
  • Being so direct and close to your audience is a great opportunity to gather data.
  • Be authentic! Transparency and an honest message count more than an expensive, beautifully crafted campaign!
  • Don’t be afraid to include digital in your strategy, and use it it an original way.
  • Try to incorporate some form of transparency with your audience, whether it’s about where your raw goods are coming from, sharing stories of the people who are part of the production process or simply staying true to your brand promise.
  • Don’t be afraid to interact with your audience! After all, their feedback is something you need to stay tuned to.
  • Yet again, make sure your message is consistent on all channels.

Photo courtesy of Dolce&Gabbana, Gucci, Orietta Scardino/EPA, Everlane.

Article by our Intern, Ana Maria Oprea.

What You Need to Know about Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing is mainly a form of advertising that helps the customer experience the brand. If traditional marketing uses printed adverts, online campaigns, editorials, television etc. to communicate their brand identity, experiential marketing aims to play with people’s senses and emotion, making them included in the brand.

It is known that the human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015. Crazy, right? This customer inclusion has a higher chance of immediately attracting, and most importantly, maintaining the customer base, because it creates an emotional connection and a two-way dialogue. This type of brand-customer interaction can take many forms, from packaging to digital, the online presence and in-store elements. After all, everyone connects with an experience in some way.

If in the past the centre of every business was their product, today the customer and their needs should be the focus.

So what are the forms this engaging type of marketing can take? Here are some examples:

We’re seeing more and more people choosing to shop online, regardless of their preferred shop. Today, we need to give people a reason to come and spend time in-store. So how can experiential marketing be brought in-store? Some brands decide to enhace their in-store experience by housing an additional service – in-store cafes, the famous Topshop nail bar and hair salon, customization services, in-store events (Burberry acoustic concerts). Some may go so far that they expand into other industries, such as hospitality, opening spas, hotels, or pop- up cafés. (See Bulgari Spa, Fendi Hotel, Dior Pop-up)

While digital marketing does have an important role to play in raising brand awareness, experiential marketing is the way to attract paying clients. (X-Wealth, 2014) That is why digital should be brought not only through devices, but also in real-life scenarios, such as on the runway – Burberry has taken their shows on a whole new level by building a multi- sensorial experience – on-stage orchestra, the fake storm and the model holograms.

The growth of social media and digital in general is facilitating brand communication. McDonalds Sweden turned their Happy Meal Boxes into VR goggles, targeting the perfect audience – technology native Generation Z.

Experiential marketing can solely take the form of Snapchat videos, Instagram stories or live streaming, taking the customer behind-the- scenes, to a world they don’t usually have access to. Brands should take advantage of these tools that brings their customers closer, feeding their curiosity.

One of the latest forms of an experiential strategy was approached by Lancome, with their customised foundation. They not only developed a system that promises to match anyone with their perfect foundation shade, but you leave with a personalized bottle with your name on it, and your own formula which you can get again and again.

Charlotte Tillbury took customisation further with a virtual “magic” mirror which allows customers to test her nine signature looks without putting any actual makeup on.

TAKEAWAYS FOR MARKETERS

  •  Find a way of interaction with your brand that creativelly spells out how people can benefit from your brand.
  •  Build emotional connection – take your target audience’s needs and desires and build an experience around them.
  •  Give your brand a human voice – people like to feel they’re interacting with other people, even if they are behind a brand.
  •  Great co-branding opportunity.
  •  Use EM as an effective tool for reaching people in every socio-economic class.
  •  Make sure your brand experience is consistent on all channels (online, in-store, social media, mail campaign etc.)
  •  Don’t neglect online and offline brand allignment – ensuring the customer journey is a seamless experience from the first interaction with the brand, to the purchase.
  • Customers are more savvy than ever and less loyal – it doesn’t take long before they move on to your competition if the shopping process is not perfect.

Article by our Intern, Ana Maria Oprea.