Thanks to Tory Burch’s constant Twitter feed, in her own voice, the media platform is tantamount to a “live focus group because we can listen to our customers in the moment.”
So says Miki Racine Berardelli, chief marketing officer of the American company, founded the same year as Facebook, immediately anointing itself an “open brand.”
This story first appeared in the July 17, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Burch’s Twitter feed figures prominently on the front page of its online store, offering “commerce and content in one destination,” Berardelli enthused. “It’s about being immersed in a world, a lifestyle. We invest heavily in bringing an editorial approach to engaging the consumer.”
Berardelli noted that content generators should be sensitive to the devices, noting that smartphones are “very personal” and closely held, whereas tablets are readily passed around.
While calling Facebook an important “customer acquisitions vehicle” as its following skews younger, she noted that, “our fans expect something of value in return for their loyalty.” This is often “one item at a great price for one day. There is no set schedule or formula. It’s just a surprise and delight.”
The metrics are also revealing. For example, the Philippines ranks as Burch’s second-largest following, after the U.S.
Berardelli stressed the need to try, test, learn and adjust across various social media to ensure a differentiated approach. “We don’t simply syndicate the same content throughout every platform; we choose to take a differentiated approach because every platform is unique,” she said. “It’s more work, but it’s more effective, and it’s a lot more fun.”
The executive flashed a slide showing a chart in dense, hard-to-read print. This “social media matrix” hangs on her wall as a handy at-a-glance overview of the brand presence and progress on various platforms, charting the volume, content, response, frequency of update, and growth plans and strategy.
Berardelli said such a document can “help keep your strategy best in class” and “serve as an educational tool within your organization.”
Mobile devices fuel 28 percent of Burch’s online sales, 70 percent of that from tablets. She called it “agile commerce.”
Berardelli noted social media can also rally a brand’s audience to do good. In the wake of the tsunami and earthquake that devastated Fukushima, Japan, in March 2011, Burch posted on Facebook a grid blending Japanese flags with hearts, prompting one fan to suggest the design be printed on T-shirts to raise money for relief efforts. To wit: Burch used the flash-site model to sell 16,000 T-shirts, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for Red Cross Japan.
Asked to comment on challenges with globalization, given that Burch has expanded into Hong Kong, Singapore and soon, Brazil, Berardelli noted, “You have to have the voice of the translation correct” to reflect the spirit of the company.
She also noted that social media can be a window to a company’s foibles. A few years ago, the company had some “issues in our warehouse,” with customers quickly catching on to delivery problems and discussing them on social media.
“We were just very transparent and open about it, and then it was really interesting because then our customers sort of rallied for us,” she said.