Ever since I can remember I’ve loved fashion. The small city where I grew up has always been known for a really good sense of dress style. I love to dress up for the occasion paying attention to what I want to express with my selection. And, if you ask my mum, she will tell you how tired she was to see my piles of Elle and Vogue magazines; I didn’t consent to throw them away until very recently.
Fashion is communication. It is expression. From my teenage days devoted to those glossy magazines little has changed in the way people use fashion to make statements, to be part of a tribe or group, to differentiate themselves from the crowd or to blend in.
How people use fashion hasn’t changed at all. What has really changed is the way we get informed about fashion. It used to be all in the magazines. I remember at one point I had to stop buying them because of the anxiety I got when I was not able to buy the amazing products showcased in those stunning ads. They were simple perfect. I wanted them all.
Now magazines are not enough to set a trend. Everything is getting adapted to please a way of communication: the visual communication and the new form of word of mouth, the digital word of mouth. That’s happening on Instagram mainly, but also on Facebook to some degree.
The first ones to adopt this trend were precisely the power fashion brands. It started years ago with Burberry mastering communication in the digital era. Others joined the trend last year, like Chanel with its Casino Show. The last fashion shows have given more and more examples of other brands doing it brilliantly.
These are my insights after assisting at a couple of fashion shows in the London Fashion Week and London Scout SS16. I attended the shows (Roksanda at LFW and Belgrade Fashion Week at Fashion Scout) with the excitement of someone who’s passionate about fashion and with the curiosity of a business strategist helping brands to emotionally connect with their audience.
Roksanda Ilincic really blew my mind away with her beautiful, super feminine and architectural creations in a palette of pale bright flattering colors. The Belgrade Fashion Week at Fashion Scout’s Freemason Hall featuring George Styler, Budislava, Ana Ljubinkovic, Vlada Savic and Ivana Pilja, was really impressive too.
Lots have been said about the purpose of fashion shows. Here is the thing; nothing can be compared to witnessing a fashion show. Nothing can replace that experience either. There is an energy, a vibe, an expectation, the beauty of the clothes, the fabric, the cut. All are things that can hardly be captured by a picture or a video. Nothing can replace that. And it does not need to be replaced.
Social media can complement, can streamline the event, can make it stay in our mind for longer, can document it.
Fashion brands are mastering the Instagram game, check the 4 Lessons from Fashion Brands Mastering Instagram. Its importance has been staged by Kevin Systrom’s presence in Paris Fashion Week, from where he’d posted several pictures, with Alber Elbaz at Lanvin, Oliver Rousteing and from the Balmain front row as you can see in this video.
Even if you are not hosting a fashion show, even if you are not a fashion brand, there are still a lot of lessons you can learn from these innovators.
1. Unleash the power of user-generated-content
Are you aware of word of mouth power? When someone you really trust, your best friend, sister, cool colleague or anyone in between, tells you about the latest trendy place to go for brunch or the best flat white coffee in town? You trust them, don’t you? And you want to go to that place to the first opportunity you get.
That’s what user-generated-content will do for your brand. Lots of happy clients telling their sis, bestie and work buddy how much they love your brand. Yep, I know!
2. Give them hashtags to use
If you are familiar with the online trend to make things easier and easier for the consumer, you know you have to be careful when searching in Amazon if your cat is around. Moreover, if your cat has that cute tendency to ask for attention by getting on top of your laptop. Yes, one click is enough.
Amazon knows that our attention is very, very short. They know that in the process where you decide you want to buy something the fewer the clicks the higher the conversion. It’s not only the cat that can threaten the sale, it’s the phone, it’s Facebook, it’s everything!
The same goes with the user generated content and the hashtags. Telling your users what to do and what hashtag they can use will double or triple the effectiveness of any campaign you set.
Telling them means that the information is available when they need it. If you are an online shop, send them a thank you note nicely asking to share with you how flattering is the skirt they just purchased. If you are a restaurant have a little sign over the table to inform about the contest you run every month… Include it on your emails, website, social media platforms!
3. Stage your place in a way that will do great on social media visual platforms
I am absolutely amazed by how cleverly fashion brands have reacted to Instagram power. First of all they placed bloggers and Instagram influencers in the front rows of all shows. The result was pretty good but it could be improved so they staged the shows in a way that suited Instagram photos and short videos.
The influence of Instagram is so huge that now advertisers are mimicking user generated content for their ads because it’s friendlier, closer and much more accessible. And you can do it too.
Sometimes just adjusting the light is enough, or a few motivational words on a wall for people to stop by and strike a pose. Inspire them and make it easy.
4. Do an Instagram takeover
An Instagram takeover is a great way to change things up on your Instagram account.
Ensure, though, that the user who’s going to take over your account represents your brand’s message, values and voice.
Learn the lesson and embrace Instagram power before your competitors. Placing your clients’ dreams at the center or your marketing efforts is a game changer for your brand. One that offers a win-win situation to everyone involved. That’s how I see the future of my clients.
Join my first webinar on how to find your new clients and convert them into raving fans here . It’s free!