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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Social Media Requires a Bespoke Approach

Thank you to Sophie Doran of Luxury Society for publishing my new opinion piece. Please have a look and let me know your comments.
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Is your luxury brand on Facebook or Twitter? Does it have a digital flagship that allows visitors to post questions to the designer? Is your luxury brand streaming your collection shows live on the web? Does your brand have an iPod/iPad application that allows users to upload photos and music? Is your brand using Foursquare or other location applications to pull customers into their retail stores? If your answers to these questions are yes than congratulations your brand has now entered the digital social media age. Not sure what that means? Don’t worry most luxury brands don’t either but that is not stopping them going digital.


Digital Social Media is supposed to be an extension of a brand, an integral part of the overall media campaign strategy including press, advertising and overall marketing, not a stand-alone one-off try. If a strategy is not going to fit into a brand’s overall marketing strategy nor reflect a brand’s image than what is really being accomplished? Would you rather be known as a brand that really gets it and integrates digital social media across their full marketing strategy like Burberry with “Art of the Trench” or would you like to be known as the luxury brand that uses a finger skateboard to generate hits on a viral video? Which do you think ties-in best with the brand’s image and will have a lasting positive effect on brand perception?

Which social media is best for your luxury brand? To answer that each luxury brand needs to understand where their brand came from, and what direction it is going, and as in any marketing campaign understanding the best media to get their message across. Social Media is not a one-size fits all marketing strategy. It won’t work for every luxury brand and what does work for some luxury brands may not work for others. When using social media luxury brands need to consider what message they want to convey and how it will integrate in their overall strategy. If a brand is not going to use a message in their print strategy then why make it a one-off or stand-alone campaign that does nothing to further the brand’s image or message and actually may detract from the brand and make people take it less seriously. For as long as I can remember luxury brands have centered their marketing messages on aspiring to a luxury lifestyle. Working in collaboration with print magazines and even their own web sites they have been able to convey this message – this has been one of the strengths of luxury brands, why change it now. As more magazines are entering the digital age and launching interactive web sites and iPad applications there are new opportunities to convey the same message across new digital media as well as using other social media to reinforce this message and get users to interact with luxury brands in a way that will enhance a brand’s image, not dilute it. There are many different social and digital media that can be used together or on their own as long as there are integrated into an overall strategic marketing campaign. Earlier in this article I cited Burberry and their “Art of the Trench” campaign as a strong example of relevant social media. Another example of integration across multiple media is Coach’s Poppy campaign in which they not only used a minisite but also used relevant blogs across the blogosphere to convey their message and get users to interact and take part in the campaign. Besides Burberry and Coach there have been many strong and relevant social media campaigns online by luxury brands, and sadly along with the relevant campaigns there have also been some irrelevant ones too. Just because one luxury brand is using a viral video of a finger skateboard to gain hits on the web, does not mean your brand should do it to.

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