Research from Emerson College’s Engagement Lab, suggests luxury brands performing well in social media engagement often lagged behind in word-of-mouth (WOM) performance.
At the same time, brands who performed well in the WOM arena were making less impact in social media.
Tiffany, Kate Spade New York, Valentino and Christian Louboutin were showing high eValue scores in the research, while Ralph Lauren and Gucci were top of the index for offline conversations.
Online and offline sharing is crucial for luxury brand success
The researchers concluded that both online and offline social sharing were crucial for growth in the luxury market – and the boundaries between them were becoming increasingly porous.
Brands that take advantage of this fluidity between social and WOM, they said, can create brand experiences that merge real and digital conversations, cutting through in incredibly powerful ways.
These are conversations that elicit desire, promote affinity and ultimately drive more sales than those taking place, exclusively, either on or offline.
Instagram’s “Label Lust” message comes alive
Last year Graziashop was among the first Instagram advertisers, now it leads the way with Instagram activity (part of its Label Lust campaign) designed to raise brand awareness and engagement through shared storytelling.
Graziashop used Instagram to post quirky, fun sponsored images and videos targeting 22–45 year old females in the UK with an interest in designer shoes, bags, fashion tips and blogging.
Over a six-week period the images followed the storyline of a Graziashop character. Showcasing selected products from the Graziashop range, the heroine truly inhabited the brand’s shopper lifestyle.
The campaign echoed the stories fashionistas tell themselves and each other about the products they dream about and acquire.
Tales of love at first sight, long distance love, the one that got away (when an item you really want is sold out) and falling head over heels with a pair of… heels.
Instagram delivers strong results for Graziashop
Instagram was exactly the right place for this kind of campaign with its hip vibe, massive reach and impactful 30-second video format, with social traffic peaking at 18% of overall website traffic during the campaign period.
But more than this, Graziashop’s Instagram campaign shows how using the right platform can lift a brand’s marketing message beyond the realm of social media.
As the Engagement Lab has pointed out, there is currently a huge opportunity in social to exploit the fluid boundaries between on- and offline to start passionate conversations that continue in the real world and lead to the sales counter.
Graziashop was one of the first brands to use Instagram when its paid advertising launched in the UK and has shown how Instagram, particularly, can make a brand message part of your audiences’ consciousness.
Delivering stories imaginatively with the creative use of native social tools can inspire your customers to tell their own stories in their own ways, but always with yours in mind.
Should luxury brands remain out of touch and exclusive?
I often hear comments that luxury brands should be exclusive, scarce, not “sell out” and that “true luxury brands do not care about shareholder value”. I couldn’t disagree more.
Luxury is about desirability, product excellence, exemplary service and fundamentally a brand promise.
If exclusivity and scarcity is the strongest value in a luxury brand that does not care about shareholder value, it won’t be a brand for long.
The continued proliferation of social media, live streaming, interactive apps and buyable shows at the various Fashion Weeks proves that everyone wants runway, today.
The inclusivity that social media gives to luxury fashion brands will continue to fundamentality change the way, and the very reason, for Fashion Week itself.
Even if they’re not buying, your customers want to talk to you and about you.
Working out when to sell to them and when to talk to them is part of the challenge of dealing with social media. But in reality every social interaction is an opportunity for engagement that may lead to a sale.
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.
Whether using social media to maintain a beautiful customer service experience or storytelling the luxurious lifestyle of the Founder, brand or ambassadors; the conversation is happening, with or without you.
You can’t choose to opt out. But you can choose not to participate.