At no other time during the year are there as many examples of the fashion world’s social media presence as there are during the New York and London Fashion Weeks. Fashion houses vie for the most social media mentions and would-be fashion bloggers swarm around town, trying to frame the one picture that no one else will post. It’s interesting to see how an industry that survives on exclusivity for its allure handles the democratic atmosphere of social media. Some argue that the following is just good marketing, while others say its crass gimmicks that end up cheapening brands.
Tweets for Free Goods
Fashion designer Marc Jacobs set up a Tweet Shop, where fans of the brand received a free bottle of Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau de Toilette in exchange for using the hashtag #MJDaisyChain in a Tweet or on Instagram. It worked—fans were lined up around the block—but what is the danger to an image-oriented brand when they are seen giving away freebies?
Source: Marc Jacobs Facebook
Google+ Hangouts and Tweetups are ubiquitous during fashion week. They usually bring together a well-known assortment of fashion bloggers and designers to answer questions put forth from the internet. Now Tommy Hilfiger is attempting to cut through the mass of content that is created by these well-known faces by reaching out to Instagrammers with between 500 and a few thousand followers. Those chosen by the brand attended the Women’s Fall 2014 show and were able to take exclusive photos backstage and with the designer. The downside to choosing such a unique tactic is that the audience you reach is far less than if the brand had chosen an established blogger. Tommy’s response was that they wanted a fresh eye to the staid fashion cycle.
Source: Tommy Hilfiger Facebook
The question of whether or not these social media stunts are beneficial for a brand largely depends on the brand’s goals. Tommy Hilfiger is known for his casual, American style and his connection with the hip-hop community, so it’s natural that his social media approach mirrors this democratic attitude. On the other end of the spectrum, Burberry struggled to bring its label back from oblivion due to the mass commercialization of its trademark plaid. The Heritage British brand has since been seen as a social media innovator. It was the first fashion house to stream its shows live online and, though it is the most followed luxury brand on Facebook, it is still seen as an aspirational brand due to its leverage as the arbiter of British beauty.
Source: Burberry Facebook
The fashion industry’s reliance on image is like no other in marketing, so social media strategy all boils down to the details of a brand’s goals—its targeted audience and the image it wants to achieve. Some brands define a niche and compromising that for financial goals would only dilute its worth. In this case, it is best to assess how a company’s bread is buttered—by appealing to the general public or by the elite few who can afford a brand lifestyle.
Top Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz