Jagoda Poropat Darrer
Fashion Communication: What can luxury brands learn from streetwear
Objavljeno u časopisu Diplomacy and Commerce, studeni 2018. godine
Among well-known collaborations between high-end and streetwear brands in order to popularize luxury goods to a wider number of consumers such as the latest one between H&M and Moschino, emerged a new brand communication strategy – Drop, besides the increasing use of social media and IoT in fashion industry.
While thinking of a true luxury brand, we think of a whole set of visual icons including monograms, brand symbols, logos, colors, patterns, images and even concepts. Luxury brands require a very specific approach to brand communication. The idea is to create an exclusive experience targeted at their customers only, as reported in reputationtoday.in.
According to deloitte.com, luxury goods industry sales growth and profitability have underperformed in recent years, partly because of its problems in adjusting to changed demographics. The sector has lagged other consumer industries in recognizing the increasing purchasing power of technologically-sophisticated Millennials. The digital transformation and evolving consumer tastes and preferences are creating a new competitive landscape for luxury goods.
The traditional understanding of luxury brands not striving to please everyone, but only a specific segment of customers is slightly changing. New, savvy generations of consumers expect to see themselves reflected in advertising and marketing creating that way a sense of belonging to a unique community. What changes is the way the message is being conveyed through innovative communication strategies, while the content remains the same: sophisticated and artistic. Luxury brands have a rich brand heritage, and their vision and language are very different from mass brands – they are created around life style. Historically, in terms of communication, luxury fashion brands have based their identity on exclusivity, prestige and impeccable service, retaining a dignified distance between themselves and their customers, as states statista.com. However, as sales have slowed, they have been compelled to engage with consumers in new ways.
Millennials and Generation Z will represent more than 40 per cent of the overall luxury goods market by 2025, compared with around 30 per cent in 2016, reports deloitte.com. Unlike Baby Boomers, many millennial luxury consumers expect to interact with brands across a range of digital platforms, rather than only through traditional channels. This shift has motivated demand for connective technology such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). By using AR and AI technologies, luxury brands can provide a personalized consumer experience, reach a wider audience, deepen product experience, and build stronger customer relationships. In parallel, the development of technologies such as voice commerce and the Internet of Things (IoT) are reshaping the entire luxury industry.
Young consumers are also important for in-store shopping and expect a high-value, customized experience. Luxury brands should seek to change their business models to meet this demand, for example by providing more loyalty programs and invitations to in-store events. Hot new concept in fashion today, acquired from streetwear and fast fashion brands like Zara and H&M, has been applied to high-end brands. It is the saint grail of ‘drop’. To get consumers into their stores more often, as we can read in Wall Street Journal, mainstream fashion brands including Alexander Wang, Burberry and Public School are putting out new items more frequently, with “drops” of merchandise as often as 12 times a year, instead of the usual two to four. Designers typically promote a “drop” with lots of marketing hype on social media and limit the offerings so that items sell out. It is a kind of investment in recruiting young generations of consumers. “The strategy follows a playbook perfected by influential streetwear brands like Supreme, Palace Skateboards and Nike”, reports wsj.com. These brands, popular with Millennials, have created buzz, long lines and a sense of urgency around releases of limited-edition products for short windows of time.
The future success of the industry will depend on its success in permeating and proactively reaching out to the younger generation. A good communication strategy can be a lever. Instagram is emerging as the leading social media platform for fashion designers. Gucci more than doubled its Instagram followers between 2016 and March 2018, with successful Insta-campaigns such as #TFWGucci, reports Deloitte’s Global Powers of Luxury Goods 2018. Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton created a LV community on social media with a large help of young generation oriented musicians ASAP Rocky, Kanye West, Migos and Drake. The success of a social media strategy will be converting “likes” into an interactive and engaging experience for customers.
“Luxury is the necessity that begins where needs end.”
– Coco Chanel