Thursday, May 3, 2012

The New 'Fast Fashion': Say No to Social, Say Goodbye to Your Business

Social media is forever changing the fashion landscape as we know it. The traditional operational cycles of luxury fashion are being disrupted by a real-time web environment- where bloggers and devout fashionista brand advocates are playing an increasingly influential role in dictating fashion trends, and are bringing a whole new meaning to the term ‘fast fashion’. Blogger Bryan Grey-Yambao, known to fans as Bryanboy, gets 1.5 million hits on his blog in one month alone. One post on colored denim from Bryanboy, and a new trend emerges, almost overnight.

Other media platforms are also picking up on the ‘fast fashion’ approach. Shows such as NBC’s “Fashion Star” allow viewers to buy items almost immediately after they are created, hence its tagline, “Watch it today, wear it tomorrow.” Popular band Devo just released the first interactive music video, in which viewers can access links to directly buy apparel featured in the video. Luxury e-commerce site Gilt recently launched ‘Pin It to Unlock’ on its Pinterest board, which allows shoppers the opportunity to purchase exclusive, just-released items the moment they have been pinned to 50 times.

The evolution of social allows consumers to engage in fashion in real-time, all the time. The brands that will win are those who realize that this new mode of interaction and engagement necessitates a different, fast-paced marketing approach. Static Facebook and Twitter pages no longer cut it. 

The brands that are coming out on top are those who leverage social to create meaningful and sustainable relationships with consumers. They are also the ones who are finding ways to monetize it. 

Below are four ways to adapt social into your business, and use it to increase consumer engagement as well profitability:

1. Blog like there’s no tomorrow. Fashion bloggers are the new thought leaders in the industry. Smart designers and execs realize this and are creating their own personal blog communities. Designer Rebecca Minkoff and DKNY’s SVP of Global Communications Aliza Licht lead wildly successful online communities Minkette and dknyprgirl, with droves of loyal brand advocates that do a lot of the marketing work for them. Be honest, be earnest, be open to dialogue, and watch your fan base (and sales) grow.

2. Play with Pinterest. It’s the hottest thing in social right now, and innovative companies and brands are finding ways to monetize it. Says Gilt Kids General Manager Rachel Jarrett: “We are giant fans of Pinterest. We think it’s the future. We know [our customers] are highly engaged there and it’s a great way to interact with them. Create an online board for your brand, and use it to engage customers with your product 

3. Test Engagement Ads on Facebook. Focus on reaching your target customer, create compelling call-to-action messages, and make a dynamic first impression by sending them to a custom welcome tab instead of your public page wall.  

4. Increase Your Online Presence. Gone are the days when high fashion hid behind its velvet curtain. Get your brand onto pages such as Polyvore and StyleCaster, global communities of independent trendsetters and stylists. Translation: where trends are born.

Is your brand ready to take on the fast-paced social media trend? It better be, because unlike most trends, this one is here to stay.

Martha Sojka is a graduate student in the Northwestern Medill IMC marketing program specializing in branding, analytics, and digital marketing. Her focus is on the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle industries. She is set to graduate in December 2012. Martha can be reached on twitter using the handle @MarthaDomiSojka

1 comment: