Just the Beginning

Social media is a vital channel through which the fashion industry enhances brand engagement and marketing techniques. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snap, Pinterest, and so many more are used as vehicles to promote brand identity and converse with consumers. Since fashion is constantly evolving and changing, it’s important that there are ways for companies to keep their consumers up-to-date with current events in a quick and easy manner.

Our earlier posts talked about how it is smart for companies in the fashion industry to use celebrities to promote their products since they are influencers for so many people. As consumers, we tend to trust our favorite celebrities because we feel like we know them and see them in such a positive light. We especially love to hear when someone we trust is connected with a brand name or product because (in our heads) it gives the brand more authenticity and credibility. Another advantage is that when celebrities or beauty-influencers post something on social media, it’s been proven to reach its target market quicker than would a 30-second paid advertisement shown to a general audience. If celebrities don’t just outright sell the product, but rather try to embed the advertisement by showing the benefits of it in their daily lives, then audiences will respond especially well. This can be done through simple commercials or videos spread through outlets like Twitter, Facebook, etc. This is efficient and more cost-effective than traditional advertising.

Designers use social media in a similar way. Instagram is especially popular with designers to visually show their new product lines. In a way it is replacing fashion magazines, with it’s ability to show the latest trends and products with just the touch of the finger and the scroll of a screen. Designers often use this platform to create excitement and spread word-of-mouth about upcoming fashion shows and fashion week.

Lastly, fashion companies don’t all have the same target audience. There are many different demographics to be reached that are specific to each and every company. My post focused on body types, and how some companies try to appeal to those with bigger body types, while some are more attracted to the fitter body type for their brand. This doesn’t apply to women alone. The “ideal” body type for men has gone from lean and skinny to big and muscular over recent years. However, there has been a strong movement of women promoting body-positive image in the media. Companies like Aerie have done this by campaigning with hashtags such as #TheRealYouIsSexy.

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The fashion industry has thrived now more than ever since the arrival of social media.

Undeniably, social media and the fashion industry will continue to evolve together. It’s important for companies to reach their audience by being whereever they are, and nowadays everyone seems to be online. It is a great vehicle through which the fashion industry promotes products, encourages conversations, and creates excitement for new lines and fashion events all over the world. This method of reaching consumers won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

 By: Alanna Goodman
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Hourglass Figure No More

Hashtags (#) have become a mainstream way for people to see what trending topics are popular at the moment, and also a way for people to click on their own hashtag and see who else is talking about the same thing. Consumers using peer-to-peer communication to talk about brands on social media is vital for a company’s success, since peers trust each other more than any other source. Lately, trends have been created more-so by bloggers and peer influencers than through traditional advertising.

Aerie (an underwear company) has effectively used hashtags to create conversation amongst their targeted demographic of younger women (teens through twenties) mainly through their chosen medium of Twitter. The hashtag #AerieREAL represents their campaign which has targeted average-sized girls who want to see their own body type reflected in models as opposed to the stereotypically beautiful size zero models. Their slogan “The Real You Is Sexy,” is showcased by getting everyday girls to model for them and not retouching their imperfections. They brilliantly appeal to most young women because the majority don’t have “perfect” bodies and want to wear Aerie’s underwear because they are inspired by so many women embracing their true selves. Aerie has created a lot of brand association with this hashtag and even encouraged girls to post untouched photos of themselves on Instagram using their hashtag. Sales went skyrocketing after this campaign and they even saw a 13% increase in new customers.

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This is an ad from the #AerieReal campaign on American Eagle’s website, showing women of many different body types.

On the flip side, some companies want to appeal to a fitter body type. While using women of all shapes and sizes works very well for Aerie, companies like Under Armour, or Nike for example, prefer to attract a fitter body type for both men and women. They often use Instagram to post pictures and videos of really slim or fit (and often well known) athletes to show that if you buy their shoes or other products, you can look like them too. Nike also has hashtags such as #justdoit and #nikewomen so when people post pictures with those hashtags, they can see others who have been inspired by the Nike lifestyle so much so that they promote the brand of their own free will. Nike actively uses Twitter and Facebook too to keep an ongoing conversation with their targeted demographic: athletes and aspiring athletes.

It doesn’t matter what body type a given company wants to target; what really matters is that they know where their audience is, what they want to see, and how they can reach them.

By: Alanna Goodman

What’s H(app)ening with Louis Vuitton?

Consumers develop their feelings about specific brands based off of how the brand is marketed and how it’s widely perceived. First impressions are extremely important. With luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, some consumers are willing to pay for more than they can afford because of the way the product has been marketed, and if it’s been marketed correctly, a personal attachment can be made between consumer and brand. However, for consumers to view a luxury brand as luxury, studies found that it needs to be marketed as rare, exclusive, and “trendy.”

Fashion companies and designers are well aware of the power of social media. In the fall of 2014, Louis Vuitton, an international fashion house who sells mostly handbags, shoes, perfumes, jewelry, accessories, etc. introduced a new collection of handbags on Instagram and tagged the noted photographer that took it (meaning it linked to the photographer’s Instagram page). The photographer, Pelayo Diaz, who had well over 500,000 followers, then reposted the photo to his account. This was smart of Louis Vuitton because by connecting with an influencer they reached a much wider audience with even more versatile backgrounds and in turn got an overwhelming 60,000 more likes on that picture than on their other ones. This is one example of how Instagram can be a beneficial medium through which designers can promote their products.

Louis Vuitton has used many other mobile applications to advertise like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Whenever they come up with a new collection, they create videos featuring celebrities and models promoting it and spread those videos on social media for people to share. This helps enhance their brand presence worldwide and being visible through lots of different social media vehicles (as opposed to just one) helps them reach a much larger audience. Since Louis Vuitton is more of a high-end luxury brand, and anybody with a phone or computer can use social media, this helps expose them to not only “the elite,” but to all types of possible consumers.

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Actress Michelle Williams advertising Louis Vuitton’s new handbag collection in 2013.

By: Alanna Goodman

Walking, Talking Advertisements

A company’s prime objective is always to reach their target audience. If they can’t do that, then what’s the point? A common and smart way to reach a marketable audience, especially if that audience is millennials, is to use celebrities to promote your product for you. Teenagers and young adults are extremely impressionable, so it makes sense that they would want to use the same products and services as the people they look up to and want to be like. They also tend to trust their favorite stars and therefore believe in their opinions.

Depending on their targeted audience, a company may choose a celebrity of a certain ethnicity or race to promote their product to try to appeal to said audience. A celebrity’s level of attractiveness is also important. Research and studies found that viewers first impressions of a product were positive (before they even saw it) if the celebrity endorsing it was attractive. Celebrity expertise in the product’s area is important too. If Michael Jordan were selling bass fishing equipment rather than basketball shoes, consumers might not find him to be such a reliable source. It needs to be a good “fit.”

For example, Kendall Jenner recently became the face of the cosmetics company Estee Lauder. This was clearly a good fit, because she is a 21-year-old woman who appeals to girls anywhere from early teens to late twenties. This is a very marketable audience for Estee Lauder, because those are a lot of the girls that will be buying their makeup products. No doubt a big part of their choice was the fact that Jenner has been coined the “Ultimate Instagirl,” with (as of Oct. 2016) a following of over 67 million.

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Kendall Jenner promoting makeup company Estee Lauder with the hashtags #KJ4EL and #EsteeModel.

Another example is the use of Brooklyn Beckham (son of David and Victoria Beckham) to shoot Burberry’s newest fragrance ad campaign. Real photographers were angry about this because the 16-year-old boy clearly wasn’t chosen for his talent or expertise as much as his name and social media following. It was very controversial because people assumed it was his 6 million followers on Instagram that got him the gig. However, it seems understandable since that is quite a large audience that Burberry can reach just by having Beckham post pictures to his account where everyone will see. Even Domenic Venneri (the founder of the digital marketing agency Vokent) said that he won’t hire people, even people working behind the scenes, without them having some sort of social media presence.

Consumers see these glamorous, attractive celebrities promoting a product and then they want to get it for themselves. Especially in the fashion industry, current trends are all about imitating what you see everyone else doing. The people that usually start those trends are celebrities because the platform they have gives them so much power and influence. For example, Jennifer Aninston’s hairstyle from the show Friends in the ‘90’s was groundbreaking. Every woman on the planet seemed to want “The Rachel.” If a company can tap into something like that and put their brand’s name to it, they have themselves a walking, talking advertisement.

By: Alanna Goodman

Where Did Print Go?

There is no doubt that we have moved on from the days of traditional media advertising where companies would shove messages in the consumer’s face without expecting a response. Today, social media and social networking thrives on two-way conversations and building relationships with consumers. They want to know what you think about their product or service and ways in which they can improve it if need-be.

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Billboards are an example of traditional advertising.

It was found in 2015 that there was a positive correlation between brands engaging with people online and their firm’s financial performance, as well as their search engine advertising effectiveness, which is the dominant type of online advertising. Search-engine advertising measures something called the click-through rate, which looks at how attracted the customers are to the given advertisement. It also shows the conversion rate, which provides information on how much sales or profit come as a result from the ad.

In a survey where 150 big time social media managers were interviewed, 33 of them said that paid advertising was their biggest project all week. In addition, according to Social Outreach, 74% of companies saw an increase in website traffic after making investments on social media and nearly half of those who are active on social networks “follow” a specific brand. This begs the question; how can advertisers make that their brand? Clearly, advertising through online networks and social media has become a dominant strategy for companies to figure out who their target audience is, and then target them. Later, we will look at the fashion industry specifically and their marketing strategies more in depth.

By: Alanna Goodman