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 who 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 savvy 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 become 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 potential consumers.

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

By: Alanna Goodman

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Professional Athletes: The New Fashion Icons

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.

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Follow @mariasharapova on Instagram to see how she promotes Nike

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.

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@kingjames endorsing Nike Air Jordan’s

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.

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David Beckham modeling for H&M’s ‘BODYWEAR’ collection

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.        

By: Shannon Quinlan

Capitalizing on Social Media Idols

Celebrities are the ultimate influencers. For as long as advertising has existed, brands have been chasing after valuable endorsements from pop culture icons in hopes of tapping into their enormous influence. Money and power may have made them famous, but those aren’t the reasons why endorsements are valuable. The simple reason why celebrity endorsements are so widely sought is that when they talk, people listen.

We’re all used to seeing our favorite athletes and actors show up in TV and magazine ads. The reasons for using these types of endorsements are well established. According to an article from Forbes, a single celebrity endorsement can raise sales by around 4% almost immediately, regardless of the product or the endorser. It can also raise stock values and inspire confidence in stakeholders. However, the modern communication environment is more complex than it used to be, and so is the prospect of using celebrity endorsements.

It’s common knowledge at this point that having a social media presence is a necessity for any company interested in marketing, but the best practices for social media marketing may not be so common. It turns out that celebrity endorsements are just as, if not more effective when incorporated into social media marketing. A study by Brand Affinity Technologies found that celebrity-endorsed posts are 50% more cost-effective in activating audiences than non-endorsed ones and have clickthrough-rates 21 times higher. These are impressive numbers, but why does this work?

Jennifer Lueck writes about a concept called Parasocial Interaction. This refers to the way in which fans interact with their favorite celebrities on social media. Celebrities who are highly active on social networks, such as Kim Kardashian, have millions of followers. It is virtually impossible to get to know or even have any sort of personal interaction with a fraction of those fans. However, because of the personal and intimate nature of celebrity posts, fans often feel as if they personally know and have a relationship with these social media icons. They feel like a part of the celebrity’s life, knowing roughly the same amount of information about them as most people know about their real life friends. This familiarity and attachment creates very loyal and engaged followers, which is exactly what social media marketers are seeking. This explains why, when Kim Kardashian’s followers see an Instagram post from her featuring a new lipstick she’s in love with, they are 21 times more likely to click through and investigate that product; it’s essentially a recommendation from a friend, rather than an impersonal marketing message.

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Kim & Co. advertise husband Kanye West’s new clothing line

Social media marketing is all about activating and energizing your audience, motivating them to do the marketing for you. Having a celebrity endorse your product on social media is like gaining a mutual friend with millions of people. That is why celebrity endorsements are an approach every social media marketer should look for opportunities to incorporate.

By: Wesley Marcum

Celebrity Benefits: Accessibility and Trust

When walking through a store, or checking certain fashion social media, you typically see familiar celebrities modeling for a particular brand. This is no accident.  When  you like, admire, or value a celebrity you also value what type of outfit they wear and want to replicate it, and the fashion industry has picked up on this. This type of endorsement gives fashion industries a huge advantage because of the exposure it gives to the company, corporation or brand. The use of social media that each celebrity uses promotes the brand and gives the followers a direct click to go straight to that brand’s page. This makes the company more accessible to consumers allowing them to be linked directly with the fashion site. Nowadays no one remembers a fashion campaign that doesn’t have a celebrity in it. The fashion industry thrives on using social media with celebrities to get consumer loyalty as well as product purchases.

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Most popular celebrity endorsements

Fashion is always changing. What is the “in” outfit one fall will be the “out” outfit next fall, and this is usually conveyed through social media. A celebrity’s social media account is where the newest trends of clothing are shown. When a celebrity shows off the first piece of clothing that is just released consumers go crazy and want to buy it. The consumers trust celebrities more than the company and this shows how  the groundswell works in the fashion industry. When the celebrity posts an attention grabbing instagram that gives off something appealing to the eye, it is more than likely people will buy the product being featured. This tends to happen at a higher rate when the celebrity happens to be attractive allowing the consumer to positively think about the company even before actually looking  at the clothing during this time. This type of endorsement through social media builds trustworthiness for the consumers and gives more of a humanizing factor to the celebrity because it is more reachable to the average person. The outcomes are more favorable if the celebrity is likable and ultimately increases the appeal of a certain clothing type or brand.

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Rihanna’s Instagram where she is showing off her new Puma sneakers

Brands of the fashion industry pay money and give lots of benefits to the celebrities that sign contracts with them. A typical endorsement, specifically for male athletes, make a clothing company millions of dollars depending on how many people ‘like,’ share or expose the post.The fashion industry has noticed that the traditional ways of shopping have changed, which has only put more of an emphasis of selling through social media. The fashion industry is tailored to celebrities to make it easier to promote their brands by the constant spread of information. As much as the consumer thinks the celebrity is raving about a brand on twitter, it usually is linked to that company. The horizontal revolution has actually helped the fashion industry because it allows consumers to actively see and be involved with fashion through social media.

By: Corinne Schmidt

The Social Media Takeover

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.

 

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What does your Instagram say about you?

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.

By: Shannon Quinlan