Over the past few weeks the way fashion industries use social media outlets has been dissected. From celebrity endorsements to the world’s most renowned designers, a conclusion has been made: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are the reason audiences feel inspired to purchase your product. In a world where millennials are taking over, fashion industries are constantly striving to reach audiences of all demographics. Not only are we able to scroll, text and swipe with the touch of a finger, but we can watch and live stream, too. Everything is given to us right in the palm of our hands through our electronic devices and social media profiles.
We live in a world where celebrities are idolized and followed on every social media account possible. Who knew that “Keeping up with the Kardashians” would not just be a famous reality TV show, but instead literally mean keeping up with Kylie. Millennials want to be the first to comment, repost, favorite and purchase Kylie Jenner’s new makeup line right off of her Instagram photo within seconds of her post. Social media has given one of Kylie’s 78.7 million followers on Instagram a whole knew meaning. Audiences feel connected and involved like never before. Fifteen years ago, who would have predicted that professional athletes such as Tom Brady and David Beckham would be the faces of UGG and H&M? We live in a society that loves to watch professional athletes on the field as much as we do on the billboards. How are long-time, brand-name designers adapting to the social media culture? A hashtag like “#InstaKors” seems to do the trick.
Our century is surviving through the ability to stay connected. Individuals are a tweet away from the newest trend. This is creating new reputations for the fashion industry and allows them to reach constituent groups with a different outlet, creating a whole new era.
Fashion is a 1.2 trillion dollar global industry, with more than 250 dollars spent annually on fashion in the United States, according to industry analysts. With that being said, fashion labels need to be reaching audiences of all incomes across their social media platforms. Fashion will always be important and present in society, it is how the designers work to make their mark in the social media field that will help get their name out and respected while still being an affordable product.
Value-seekers who do not want to sacrifice style in the equation, are shopping at fast-fashion chains such as H&M, Forever 21 and even Target. The reality is that these cheap-chic brands are picking up more shoppers and have more traction. Not only does their high-quality for low-price ratio keep buyers happy, but also their constant engagement on social media. With Twitter and Instagram at the top of the charts for all three fashion lines, followers have said that posting online links and coupon codes on the brands social media accounts makes them eager to check out the latest trends. Frequent buyers have also stated that when they are notified about an upcoming sale on either Twitter or Instagram, they are more likely to purchase clothing right away.
Nowadays, why purchase one shirt for 50 dollars at a high-fashion store when you can buy a pair of business casual pants, a nice blouse and ballet flats at H&M all for the same total price? It’s all about shopping the looks for less! The media, such as a number of fashion blogs, are constantly offering suggestions for discount and imitation products that are very similar to designer brands, but half the cost. While this is good for average income and lower income consumers, high-fashion designers are losing money on their products and losing their importance in our society.
From giving major labels a bigger profile, to starting the careers of some of the world’s most famous models, social media and the use of mobile applications has become the biggest and best marketing strategy for major fashion labels. This holds especially accurate for designers like Michael Kors who has always been on top of social media, being the first brand to buy an Instagram ad.
Michael Kors has been actively using Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in order to give his customers and top followers a sneak peak into his hottest and latest trends. Living in a world where the public expects instant gratification, Michael Kors shows his customers the full range of looks on his social media accounts closer to when they can actually purchase them.
With 25 million followers in total, across the platforms, Michael Kors is always looking to tell his brands story on the applications his fans are using and loving. His brand worked with Snapchat’s “Stories” feature to launch Fashion Week runway pictures, backstage shots and front-row pictures. This was so successful that Kors had a super-social Fashion Week show too, streaming the entire show live on the Internet, asking fans to join a chat during the show using the hashtag #AllAccessKors. This lead to the Michael Kors franchise dominating the social media rankings as the No. 1 fastest-growing and most engaging brand on Facebook.
Michael Kors wanted the mix of models for his spring/summer 2017 show to represent diversity. Backstage, he made his vision come to life by implementing diversity as far as the look of the female models, and their body types. This is extremely effective in a generation where millions of women struggle with appreciating and accepting their bodies. The idealized woman in fashion during this decade would need to spend enormous amount of time and energy attempting to achieve something that is not only trivial but also completely unattainable. With Michael Kors using models of different demographics on his social accounts, he is able to reach a larger target group of customers in the fashion world.
Around the world companies have used athletes to promote their brands since the 1930s, when baseball legend Babe Ruth endorsed a soft drink brand called Red Rock Cola. Since then, the times have changed and social media has taken over in brand marketing and brand promotion. The key for fashion brands is choosing the right athlete to endorse your product. These athletes need to seem like they would be an authentic customer of the product, fashion line, or service that they promote. Trustworthiness and credibility for the brand are most important. They need to be believed in the eyes of the public. This results in fans and consumers buying the EleVen athletic wear that Serena Williams promotes on Instagram and the striving ballers purchasing the newest LeBron James Collection basketball shoes because LeBron states he is an all-around better player while wearing them.
Brands reaching into the social communities of these athletes is the smartest thing they can do. Even an announcement from a brand signing a celebrity or athlete will make the stock prices of the company rise. Just one endorsement can increase sales by 4%. Brands utilizing Usain Bolts social media accounts create a personal interest in his fans and followers. TV commercials and billboards are easy to classify as staged productions, whereas Twitter, Instagram and Facebook profiles make the promotion significant and much more attractive to viewers.
Maria Sharapova partnered with Nike to promote their brand. Not only did she build a successful tennis career, but also a large number of followers across her social media profiles. With 1.8 million followers on Twitter, over 15 million fans on Facebook, and 164,000 on Instagram, she is one of the most desirable athletes for endorsements.
The Nike Jordan shoe brand has become one of the most successful athlete endorsement campaigns in history. In 2009, statistics showed that Jordan continued to boost Nike’s bottom line with the Jordan Brand taking 75% of the basketball shoe market, and a 10.8% share of the overall shoe market in the United States. Brands must pay more than $10 million dollars just to use his imagery! The Nike Jordan fashion line now boasts clothing from athletic shirts and shorts to accessories that include socks, wristbands, headbands, hats, backpacks and of course basketballs. Air Jordan shoes are still one of the mostly highly coveted and highest selling items in Nike’s existence. The iconography of the “Jumpman” logo combined with innovative designs and Michael Jordan himself revolutionized the Air Jordan brand and the look of basketball footwear forever.
Professional athletes have been endorsing products for years, but in the last decade athletes have started endorsing brands that have nothing to do with the sports they play. Professional athletes such as Tom Brady and David Beckham have moved to endorsing brands that are trendy and fashion centric on their social media accounts.
Tom Brady is known for endorsing UGG boots. This eventually skyrocketed the launch of UGG for Men with the help of a giant spread of him sitting against a wall in GQ magazine wearing the furry boots. David Beckham is a big endorser of fashion lines for H&M clothing. Bodywear by H&M suddenly became more desiring. Both Brady and Beckham are not representing themselves as professional football and soccer players on social media but rather presenting themselves as models of desire in the fashion world. This contrasts with the Michael Jordan brand because as models they are relying on sex appeal to endorse these products instead of athletic talent.
Worldwide ad revenue for social media networks is forecast to top $50 billion in 2018, which means social media has a bigger impact on corporate communication, advertising and marketing than ever before. Currently we are living in a society that cares more about the newest updates on social media platforms than it does the presidential debate.
In the social media platform world today, we can use the rising controversy between Instagram and Snapchat as an example. Instagram is a follower platform where Snapchat is more of a best friend platform. Snapchat hasn’t encouraged brands to build up huge followings. Heart icons do not exist for people to express their approval on Snapchat, which makes it harder to follow accounts because users have to know exact names and phone numbers to find them and add friends. Instagram makes searching a breeze, and its lets brands buy ads that directly link to their accounts, where people can follow them within seconds. These companies benefit largely from using social media. They are able to gain popularity and promotion as a brand, create a positive image, and receive customer responses. Marketing segmentation can also help companies become more successful. If companies can identify certain groups of people or organizations with shared needs and characteristics within the broad markets for consumer products, they can transfer these groups into larger market segments according to their mutual interest in their own products utility.
While we may be too caught up in our devices to know it, our online lifestyles have begun to make a real impact in our offline worlds, a trend that doesn’t seem to be reversing. Corporate communication, advertising and marketing have influenced these lifestyles repetitively as a cohesive unit. In 2014, Facebook talked with lenders about the possibility of linking profiles to credit scores, and one recent survey showed that 40 percent of college-admission officers now say they peruse applicants’ social media profiles in addition to evaluating G.P.A.s and essays. Most millennials are treating social media like the stage for their own reality show. Social media allows its constituencies to show the best versions of themselves online and in the corporate and advertising communities. This, in its own way, has provided us a means of generating “other selves”. We are either oversharing, or under-sharing, and it makes me wonder to what extent our online selves are true to our actual self? From a corporate communication standpoint, I believe that we are being lead in the direction to use social media as a prism. This prism projects only what we want others to see.
Social media’s role in corporate communication, advertising, and marketing is something bigger than ourselves. With manufacturers portraying their brands as different from and better than similar competitive products through advertising, packaging, and physical product differences, different constituent groups are feeling more connected by the hour.
This blog was created as a group project to provide in depth information on how the fashion industry communicates through the use of social media platforms. Our first focus for this blog will be analyzing how professionals in the fashion industry establish branding through celebrities. The second focus of our blog will examine how designers use mobile applications to reach millennials. Lastly, our blog will evaluate how fashion companies reach constituencies of all demographics and how they are effective.