INSTAGRAM: TOP 3 BRANDS’ MARKETING STRATEGY

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.

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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.

References

  1. http://www.luxurydaily.com/fashion-brands-increase-instagram-interactions-by-77pc-report/
  2. http://www.paceco.com/luxury-fashion-brands-use-social-media/
  3. https://www.shopify.in/blog/14288561-how-to-build-a-massive-following-on-instagram

 

 

INSTAGRAM: THE MAKING OF A FASHION BLOGGERS

With the rise of Instagram, came the rise of social media influencers. Instead of turning to the pages of magazines, the Millenials now look to Instagram to find their inspiration and idols.

The social media influencers are bloggers, brand ambassadors, and models, amongst other things, who have come to fame often without agents, simply from attracting a huge amount of followers. Social media influencers, specifically fashion bloggers, have become the new “It girls” with huge cult followers. They set trends, agendas, and show us often orchestrated snippets of their life within the fashion industry.

Their huge liking and influence among their followers have become of value to fashion houses. Though fashion bloggers are certainly not paid the astonishing sums of $300,000 per post like Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, fashion bloggers are still remunerated in one form or another.

So you might wonder, how does one become a famous fashion blogger? Well it’s easy actually; accumulate and maintain an immense network of followers and keep them interested. Though it might sound easy in theory, successful fashion bloggers need a sense of humor, a point of view, and to showcase their followers with parts of the fashion world that they do not have access to. Although both popular, Emily Skye and Leandra Medine take their influence in completely different directions – Emily Skye, a gorgeous fitness and swimwear model vs. Leandra Medine of The Man Repeller blog. After establishing a follower base, consistency becomes key. Followers are more likely to become loyal when the blogger uses specific and repetitive hashtags, which will keep their followers glued from week to week.

Instagram has allowed these fashion bloggers are lifestyle influencers to become famous without the help of agencies. It is also the platform where models are being discovered by talent scouts. Brands are keen for exposure and earned media, and so the more followers you have, the more influential you are, the more likely to be picked up by an agency or by a brand to become a brand ambassador. The tagging of brands and being reposted increases influencers’ follower base, with people flocking to these influencers for creative and aspirational content that isn’t labelled as a sales ad.

How is it that these influencers are making money? Influencers are cashing in when they promote brands in their posts. The amount of money one receives per post, depends on the level of value and influence that the blogger has, and how valuable their follower outreach is valuable to the brand. Bigger follower base does not mean bigger money. The key factor that makes an influencer valuable is the level of engagement that they receive from their followers. So for example, some influencers may have 300,000 followers but only 1,500 people engage with their posts. Brands are looking at the follower/engagement ratio, instead of follower count.

Sponsored Instagram posts are often seen as indirect earned media, as the influencers are being paid, whether monetarily or through products and services, but their posts are not perceived as advertisement. Thus, it is crucial for brands to critically select the influencers that are most capable of turning follower engagement into actual sales. The fashion bloggers’ feeds consists of various kinds of images: those that are obvious advertisements, to editorial posts, to completely candid and personal photos. Although some followers claim that bloggers deceive people with the product placement in their images, those are actually the most effective images that a blogger can have. This shows that the influencer has been so carefully selected by the brand that the blogger’s sponsorship of a product makes the product seem as a natural part of the blogger’s day.

What makes a fashion blogger successful is having a sense of authenticity. We go back to re-examine the idea of authenticity in the digital realm and we find that the most successful digital influencers are those that remain authentic, or work very very hard to stage authenticity within their posts. A trend that I have noticed among fashion bloggers is their attempt to seem absolutely normal, to show their followers normal parts of their day, to make themselves relatable to their followers. Eva Chen, fashion chief at Instagram says that “finding the things that are your signature moves sort of speak and posting them in different ways over and over again.”

As there are always two sides to a story, former Instagram model Essena O’Neill “came out” and said that her images did not represent real life and authentic pictures and that her photos were staged. This lead to others following in her footsteps and addressing the authenticity lines within the digital world.

As Instagram celebrities, fashion bloggers and digital influencers are changing the routes to fame, we ask ourselves, do we really hate the staged authenticity or have we become so accustomed to it that it’s almost impossible to click the “unfollow” button? Are fashion bloggers famous or infamous in today’s society?