Friday, September 12, 2014

How Fashion Week utilizes Social Media

How do fashion brands use social media, especially in times like fashion week?

As evidenced in an aforementioned article, brands clamor on twitter and Facebook to ensure that the wireless networks are abuzz with their followers. Take Barbie’s QR code enabled scavenger hunt through Manhattan, for a rewarding gratification of having the city at your touch phone savvy fingertips. Digital marketing has shown to be the Launchpad when targeting the yuppy iPhone and android tugging urbanite. View DKNY’s inventive paper-clad e-vitation, as a blaring example of new times. DKNY is one of many brands that successfully converted followers on social platforms into shoppers. Including myself!
CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg deserves two thumbs up for promoting twitter hash tag equivalents and beckoning New Yorkers to indulge in the conversation, which allowed lucky winners to pick up a fragrance sample two weeks in advance of an official brick and mortar launch at Bloomingdales. Smart eh? And as a police check, there was a crosstab of twitter followings and updates with foursquare check-ins.

Forget the bustling streets and lack of direction; iPhone apps like Lustr and interactive maps (shareable on Twitter and Facebook – stalker friendly or friend-wowing?) all allowed tagging of partner stores as an entry to a fabulous giveaway. It was not the retail brands that attach themselves to the digital fiber optics – from Bendel to Jimmy Choo, the upscale market sensed the current of the circuit, too.\\

And the perks of simply fanning or following a brand on Facebook or twitter? If Burberry, one was indeed lucky enough to get one of a gazillion samples of Burberry’s Body scent, launched and sampled on Facebook for its fans. Truly a far cry from makeup caked age-ing and harsh pitched sales folks at department stores who jeered scented cards in passerby faces. Oscar de la Renta raised its ‘likes’ by up to 40% through a similar campaign, exhausting 25,000 samples in 3 days – that’s more than department stores nationwide can do for a single fragrance in a month!

With so much interactive media space, I was envious of my non-Manhattan friends who were enjoying the festivities, albeit in a comforting environment. Livestream drew them to witnessing events in a less sweaty party, all on the laptop. Fashion brand channels offered coverage of their respective concerts, like Janelle Monae for Ralph Lauren or Joss Stone at Nine West. Was the endurance really worth it? I should say yes!

Coming to fashion week, I wondered the worth of standing at the back of a tent, compared to the minute by minute updates of everything from the gleam of the stage to the wardrobe malfunction of a model to the beat of the music, all of which was easily viewable on one’s smartphone, and at a location of choice.

Note to voyeurs: indulge in livestreams.
Note to brands: livestreams can either build your brand equity, or drown it.

Sourabh Sharma, Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at Follow him on @sssourabh.

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