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Against the backdrop of the pandemic we saw a dramatic shift in the way people shopped, dressed and connected with one another. Both streetwear and e-commerce have accelerated greatly and at the heart of this shift lies Instagram. Primed for inspiration and discovery, Instagram continues to be the go-to destination for exploring this cultural zeitgeist and with a strong focus on Commerce, frictionless purchasing also put the platform at the forefront of shopping.

“From my perspective, the most interesting things are happening when trends intersect,” said Karin Tracy, Head of Industry, Retail, Fashion, Luxury at Facebook Inc. “Trends on the street converge with sports, art, entertainment, music, etc., and then brands participate to create a new form of artistic expression that shows up as apparel, accessories, beauty products, and even interior design. This is Culture Commerce.”

Put simply, Culture Commerce is inspired by streetwear brands and what they do well – artfully connecting with communities, boosting relevancy and inspiring loyalty.

A modern fashion phenomenon

Today’s consumers not only want to engage with brands, they want to help shape them. Through Culture Commerce, the modern customer has the power to determine what’s cool as much as industry insiders.

“Brands are no longer trying to drive trends, they are watching and listening via social media to respond organically to movements in ways that are more relevant and authentic than ever.”

“Although streetwear brands existed before the era of social, we’ve seen them choose our platforms to meld industries, creators, and brands in ways one would never expect,” said Tracy. “They not only create surprising products that consumers flock to but also cultural moments that insiders and onlookers are excited to talk about on Instagram.”

“It’s dynamic and ever-shifting, with customers having the ultimate power to determine what’s cool and trend-worthy, while appealing to this highly social and mobile-first demographic.”

Compared to prior generations, today’s consumers want to engage with brands and use social media as their primary source to research a brand’s authenticity and validity. When looking at the Gen Z shopper, *data from a recent survey conducted by FB found that 68 percent of shoppers consider their smartphone their most important shopping tool, and **45 percent of shoppers say their loyalty towards a brand is based on what they say and do on social media.

Younger consumers especially, having grown up with a device in their hands at all times, are accustomed to and increasingly demand that content and products from brands be on-demand, collaborative and community driven.

An evolving phenomenon

As mobile technology, commerce and social media continue to converge, today’s digital marketplace will continue to mix trends – and develop new ones – all over the world. Where trends were once covered in a magazine or blog, social platforms like Instagram are now the younger consumer’s first place for discovering new product ideas, creative inspiration, and the ability to instantly connect with brands and their creator communities.

“Fashion has always been about reimagining the possible, and the best ideas are born when community is at the heart of a product and brand,” said Tracy. “Social platforms like Instagram and Facebook are where this creativity is expressed most authentically.”

Facebook Inc.’s new guide provides a framework and tools to help brands understand how they can respond to consumer needs by meeting them where they are.  By strategically leveraging the Culture Commerce pillars through authentic dialogue on Instagram and Facebook, brands can connect with consumers in a meaningful and authentic way.

The culture commerce ecosystem

In describing what Culture Commerce is, and how it has evolved, Facebook Inc. puts the phenomenon into four distinct pillars: community, discovery, purpose and demand. “All of these pillars have to work together to achieve true culture commerce – they can’t work alone.”

Although each pillar is important, the community pillar leads the way. “Get this right or the rest doesn’t matter,” said Tracy. “It’s not just a surface-level identification of the target audience and their demographics, it’s about deeply connecting with groups of people who share passions, and ideals with your brand, with whom you can build a connection. The ultimate goal is to garner and build a tight-knit, engaged community that has a relationship with your brand or product.”

The second pillar, discovery, should include touchpoints that arise organically and feel more authentic in engagement.

Similarly, the demand pillar comes through in the form of drops and limited-edition releases which build hype. Knowing what’s dropping and when has become this form of “knowledge currency” – only those in the know can get their hands on the product.

Lastly, the purpose pillar relies heavily on a brand’s messaging, as consumers expect a higher level of transparency when it comes to sharing stances on social good, sustainability and internal operations. Especially in a post-pandemic world, sharing values with consumers is a must and can jump-start lifetime loyalty.

Editor’s Picks 

Instagram tools that brands can utilize now to lean into Culture Commerce:

Instagram Reels: Reach new audiences and join cultural moments through short-form, entertaining videos (Discovery and Community pillars)

Instagram Live: Fosters that 1:1 connection with your consumer in real-time (Community and Purpose Pillars)

Instagram Guides: New tool that allows you to curate
your favorite places, products and posts (Discovery and Demand pillars)

Branded Content: Authentically find new customers, build advocacy and drive impact at the intersection of culture and advertising through creators (Discovery and Demand pillars)

Instagram Product Launches: Limited releases – or drops – give businesses the opportunity to launch new or exclusive products directly on the platform while building hype and creating a sense of urgency amongst shoppers. *Available for Instagram Checkout eligible brands only. (Demand and Discovery pillars)

Building for what’s next

Modern social change and mobile innovation has transformed how brands story tell, communicate with customers and create desire. The Fashion Report by Facebook dives deeply into some of the most important changes impacting the fashion world. Each chapter provides guidance on how to use Facebook’s apps and services as a marketer’s building blocks for connecting with the Fashion consumer in these contexts. Check out:

Chapter 1 Reimagining Fashion Week

Chapter 2 Culture Commerce

Download the report HERE and be on the lookout for Chapter 3 focused on Social Good coming in October. Learn more at this Facebook for Business Website