The likes of Valentino, Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Moschino, among many others are using Instagram to communicate with their consumers on the daily through storytelling images that represent the world of these fashion houses. It’s during various fashion weeks that competition arises between these brands. Instagram is unofficially the fashion industry’s preferred social platform and brands are becoming savvier on how to use the app to provide consumers with a highly constructed peephole into the brand’s luxurious world.
Now more than ever, luxury shoppers are connected to a digital universe and consumers seek brand interaction before they shop your brand online or even leave their homes to go into a store. A brand without an online presence can no longer be successful, as the “window shopping” aspect of real life has become almost entirely online, done from the consumers’ own living room. Without an online presence, consumers aren’t able to interact with the brand, experience it, and browse the collections. Even Chanel, who is considered a late bloomer to the digital universe finally cave in on October 2014 while its competitors such as Dior and Louis Vuitton had existed online since 2013.
L2 reports that 95% of fashion luxury houses as of July 2015 are on Instagram. Magazine and TV ads can cost from thousands to millions of dollars and do not receive merely as much user engagement and attention as a seemingly “free” Instagram post. According to L2, Instagram posts generate 15x more engagement than traditional advertising and other social media platforms such as Facebook.
Luxury houses’ Instagram profiles are essentially museums, carefully curated in a manner that brings the brand alive, and allows the consumer to experience the brand through extremely attractive and alluring visual imagery, both photo and video. These brands’ digital universe makes the fashion house both extravagant, exclusive, and aspirational, but also accessible to anyone anywhere in the world. The digital universe invites both consumers and aspirational ones to like, share, and ultimately, spend. Brands are now understanding that you have to be connected with everyone who touches your brand.
Marketing and PR Manager at Joe’s Jeans, Aimee, says that “[t]he challenge that remains is how to showcase the quality of the products while telling the full story behind them. You can’t feel or try them on, so we have to relay through images why they’re worth every penny. Our strategy is to create an aspirational lifestyle in 75% of our posts, to give our product an environment to be seen in by our followers. We want our followers to relate to our brand and want to be an advocate for the [brand]’s lifestyle, which is why we feature so many fashion influencers wearing our brand.”
Let’s examine the top 3 luxury fashion houses’ Instagram accounts to see what makes them so visually addicting:
Louis Vuitton @LouisVuitton 10.4m followers
One of the first luxury brands to stream a fashion show online (as early as 2009!!!). Their Instagram gallery consists of celebrity first row at their fashion shows, lookbooks, ad campaigns, and street fashion shots. Their Instagram feed is anything but boring. Louis Vuitton’s feed shows you how their products are a way of demonstrating success. Louis Vuitton’s feed really embraces the new-ish video feature of Instagram and features a lot of 15-second videos on their feed, mainly from their recent “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez” exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris, their fashion shows, and their new CSR campaign “Louis Vuitton for UNICEF #MAKEAPROMISE” to help children in urgent need.
Dior @Dior 9.3m followers
Dior arrived fashionably late to Instagram, announcing its Instagram debut on other social media platforms a month early, to ensure that they accumulate a fan base from the start; ensuring that their consumers anticipate content that will be engaging to them. This created a buzz around the brand and warranted popularity and engagement once the Instagram account launched. Compared to Louboutin and Louis Vuitton, Dior’s Instagram feed is a bit more commercial. They feature multiple ad campaigns on their feed, such as Charlize Theron’s ad for J’adore Eau de Toilette, The New Eau Lumière, Jennifer Lawrence’s campaign for the latest ‘Diorama’ bag, and Lawrence’s second campaign for the new Dior Addict Ultra-Gloss. Dior is also one of the limited few that uses Instagram paid marketing ads that show up as ‘Sponsored’ ads on people’s newsfeed, whether or not they are following the brand.
Christian Louboutin @Louboutinworld 7.4m followers
The Red Sole is Instagram’s most glamorous foot-candy. Louboutin’s account tops with user engagement and share-ability. Being as exclusive and splurge-worthy as it is, it has arguably one of the most user-generated content with almost anyone owning a pair posting a photo and tagging the brand. Louboutin, and other luxury brands, connect with people’s passions, which creates an emotional bond between the consumer and the brand. Christian Louboutin’s page is potentially the most artistic of the three, showcasing the classic Red soles as pieces of art. Their images are very colorful, creative, and most of all aspirational. When looking through Christian Louboutin’s Louboutin World, you really feel transported into an other universe that is so exclusive, only those who possess the shoe can be a part of.
What we can see from all three brands, which are representative of other luxury fashion brands, is that their Instagram feeds are anything but spontaneous. And though posting images and videos on Instagram is free, the editorials, shoots, and video production of these visuals can cost thousands of dollars. To be successful, brands cannot only rely on showcasing their lookbooks and products; they need to stress the importance and invest in visual storytelling that will communicate the vision of the brand and showcase a world of elegance, quality, class and style. In the end, luxury brands fulfill wants, not needs. When luxury brands utilize Instagram, their main and only goal should be to market their products to create desire and want.