Get ’em where they chat.
Fashion knows that access to legions of potential customers relatively quickly is through social networks. Accessories brands are aggressively pursuing this strategy — many recently launched digital initiatives designed to build awareness, gain more followers and foster a dialogue with them on various social media sites. And while all this love is great for brand-building, it’s also proving healthy for sales.
Coach has long had a firm hold on the digital world, and was one of the first accessories companies to enlist bloggers to design and star in its ad campaigns. Since 2009, the brand has mounted eight blogger-centric programs. Its monthly Guest Blogger feature, launched last October on coach.com, has been the most successful, according to David Duplantis, Coach’s senior vice president of global Web and digital media.
“The Guest Blogger really shows how much we value this community,” he says. “We feel it’s important to spotlight the established bloggers that support us…and introduce new bloggers to the Coach audience. Bloggers bring our product to life and complete the story.” Participants include Meaghan Mahoney Dusil of Purse Blog, Lindsey Calla of Saucy Glossie, Keiko Groves of Keiko Lynn and Christine Cameron of My Style Pill. Each post gets an average of 1,000 Facebook “likes” on Coach’s fan page (currently at 2.16 million “likes”), and 200,000 of the brand’s customers receive guest blogger e-mails each month. Duplantis says visitors to the coach.com guest blogger page purchase more product featured in the posts than those who are on the site but don’t visit the blogger page. Coach will launch its ninth blogger program coinciding with Fashion’s Night Out in September.
Fendi turned to Facebook for its most recent social-media initiative, when it collaborated in April with Bergdorf Goodman on a contest to design its Fendi 2Bag. Each partner developed tabs on their Facebook pages, encouraging cross-promotion between house and retailer, which have 274,700 and 119,200 “likes,” respectively. Bergdorf’s blog, Twitter and Tumblr also promoted the contest. It was a “fan-gated” event, so contestants had to “like” both pages to enter. Aspiring designers selected from a palette of colors to assign to components of the 2Bag, creating a digitized version. The contest saw nearly 1,300 entries (contestants were limited to one entry apiece) and 12,000 votes—and almost 40,000 users viewed the contest tabs.
The top five vote-getting bags were sent to Rome, where Fendi’s creative team picked a winner. The company is producing the chosen bag, which will be presented to its designer and available for sale at Bergdorf’s this fall. A selling price had not been determined by press time, but 2Bags on the retailer’s Web site range from $1,710 to $2,130.
On May 2, “Bloggers Band Together for Bulgari Save the Children Campaign” launched around the jeweler’s initiative to support global education programs through the sale of two silver rings. Thirty bloggers took photos of themselves wearing one of the rings and blogged and tweeted about the house’s involvement with this cause. Bulgari also teamed with AOL StyleList to create an online gallery and posted a corresponding gallery on its Facebook page.
A Bulgari spokesman says, based on monthly impressions, the brand reached about 27 million unique individuals, and saw a 20 percent increase in Twitter followers in a two-week period—adding to a 40 percent increase since January 2010. The blog posts also generated almost 20,000 visits to bulgari.com in one week—a good example of how a firm’s off-site strategies can drive traffic to its branded site.