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Elie Tahari revealed via Skype the winner of his New York Fashion Week competition last month, during which entrants had to “like” the brand’s Facebook page and post a comment with the hashtag #ElieTahari40.
The brand then took this a step further: The conversation was recorded and broadcast across Elie Tahari’s social channels so followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram could watch the announcement. Tahari received more than 2,500 entries for the contest.
This story first appeared in the September 10, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“Instead of inviting somebody from Los Angeles to New York to present to the winner, we did it online so everyone could see it. Years ago, we had a personal appearance, and now it’s a ‘public appearance’ [because of digital]. Now you can help more people online,” Tahari said, describing tools like Skype and Google Hangouts. In July, the designer participated in a Google Hangout with blogger Kelly Saks and Glamour magazine at Google’s offices in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The hangout was viewed by more than one million fans.
Several digital initiatives surrounding the brand’s 40th anniversary launched last week, when the designer was honored by New York City and Mayor Michael Bloomberg on “Elie Tahari Day.” The hashtag #ElieTahari40, created to mark the occasion, is appearing on the social platforms where it maintains a presence, as well as on shopping bags, print ads, elietahari.com, e-mail signatures company-wide and online banner ads.
“What I find to be the biggest change is how engaged the consumer has become,” said Scott Currie, Elie Tahari vice president of global communications. “The beginning was just about pushing out material about the brand, but once Elie got really involved in social [it changed]. If you look on Facebook or Twitter, there is a nice engagement rate of people writing back and giving us insight. When we announced Elie Tahari Day, the number of people that wrote to congratulate him was amazing.”
The company also operates ETC Magazine, its online magazine that features trends, behind-the-scenes shots, celebrities spotted wearing Elie Tahari and celebrity contributors like Jessica Stam, also the face of the fall ad campaign.
Product shots garner a strong response from fans, as well as anything pertaining to Tahari’s personal life — whether it’s a quote from him or a photo of him speaking at a class — Currie said.
The company unveiled the 40th anniversary logo on Instagram to coincide with Mayor Bloomberg’s proclamation. It also revealed images from its special 40th anniversary capsule collection exclusively on the platform, with select styles available for preorder on elietahari.com in January.
Beyond the social channels — on which Currie admitted Elie Tahari didn’t become heavily active until about two years ago — e-commerce has become increasingly integral to the business.
According to Currie, the brand’s digital flagship at elietahari.com is the company’s number-one store — and it has been since six months after launching at the end of 2011. Ten percent of direct sales comes from elietahari.com.
The site just enabled review and feedback capabilities, and international shipping will be available in early September.
As for the digital marketing spend, a significant portion is dedicated to paid search, but Currie maintains that the brand has never had a “huge ad spend.”
“We create synergies across all mediums,” he said. “The new campaign hitting now is consistently launching as banner ads [online], print ads and in-store.”