Xxxv) Luxury goods' use of social media

- at first glance, it would appear that social media would work against luxury as they aim for aspiration and exclusivity. But luxury brands like Burberry, Tiffany & Co. Jimmy Choo & OrotonGroup are including social media as a key plank in their strategy to engage with consumers, ie as a way to create

- authentic and real-time dialogues and conversations with potential customers, especially in emerging markets like China and Brazil where customers are technology-savvy and want to display their wealth

- elite communities for their brands on the Internet

- opportunities to share your image/photo of yourself with the brand

Use of videos on Web sites, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc to get consumer actively involved in the marketing process as this helps make the experience more general and starts a conversation, ie a story around the brand that connects customers to the brand/label, eg paddock-to-plate movement in the food industry. Firms are trying to build a community around their brands.

Consumers now want more content, ie intellectual stimulation

The advantage of video is that it shows the movement of clothes that a still photo cannot, eg

- Burberry launched "Art of the Trench" web site where fans could read about the iconic trench coat and up load images of themselves dressed in it. This resulted in an 85% increase in trench coat sales in the first 3 months

- Ray Kelvin's Ted Baker label engages customers online

- Rapha has built a community of interest around its speciality road-wear brand, eg they founded Rapha cycling clubs, retail space is stocked with their products and their cafe screening live racing

- Jack Wills has its young Seasonnaires to spruik its brand every summer. They are not advertising in local magazines to attract people into stores. They want their Seasonnaires to become part of the community and introduce their friends to the brand & lifestyle, ie free-spirited. It has got celebrity endorsement without trying, eg Prince Harry and the band "One Direction"

- American retailer Abercrombie & Fitch in 2011 paid reality TV star Michael 'the situation' Sorrentino not to wear its merchandise as it was concerned that this association might cause a threat to its brand, ie cool youth culture

- TOMS donates one pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair sold. Furthermore, they use social media to create a global movement that encourages people to go shoeless for a day; this helps start a conversation about their brand.

Burberry claims (Carrie Lafrenz, 2012), had a 21% increase in last quarter sales revenue in 2011 after implementing a social media strategy. According to CEO Angela Ahrendts, it helps drive customer engagement, enhance retail disciplines and improves operational effectiveness plus strengthens brand momentum. Burberry is the world's most successful fashion brand on social media as it has 11.1 million Facebook fans, 825,000+ Twitter followers and 11.8 million have viewed YouTube. They

"...create a private social network for existing clients to talk to each other or they'll create a way to customize a product".. this makes the product even more exclusive" plus allows contact with potential new customers..."

Kristen Boschma as quoted by Carrie Lafrenz, 2012

Facebook is the preferred social media forum as the user can have more control, ie you can control conversations on your page, enforce rules and delete comments.


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