The focus of Coach Inc.’s online social media campaigns is to drive traffic into the company’s brick-and-mortar stores. Once there, visitors typically buy something.
In July 2009, Coach used online media to promote the launch of a new, younger brand, Poppy. At the time, Coach had about 150,000 Facebook fans. The company ran online ads and invited anyone who fanned its Facebook page to stop into a Coach store for a free gift. Two weeks later, Coach had doubled the number of fans on Facebook.
“Arguably this, along with our online digital advertising, was the most effective driver of Poppy awareness and footsteps into our store. At that point we knew we were on to something,” said David Duplantis, the company’s senior vice president of global Web and digital media.
The company’s social media goals are to increase brand awareness, drive store traffic and maximize e-commerce opportunities. Its strategy is to be where customers are, create an engaging environment for consumers, and pursue online and offline integration.
A frequent and successful tactic is to offer gifts and pre-sales of special products to various online communities. For example, the brand recently invited four bloggers to collaborate on a design with Coach. Facebook fans and others were able to buy the resulting clutch in the store (in a back room) two weeks early.
Coach used Foursquare to promote the opening of its first men’s store in Manhattan. Foursquare accounted for about 10 percent of traffic in the store the first weekend, and visitors from online communities received a gift.
Other promotions included asking 30 bloggers to create unique online content for Coach, such as videos, and flying 10 bloggers to New York for fashion week. “People got to see Coach product on people they could relate to rather than on a Coach model in a magazine,” Duplantis said.
Today, the brand has about 750,000 Facebook fans (or “likes”) and plans to introduce mobile commerce soon.
“Social media for Coach is affordable, authentic, and it allows us to have a really strong connection with our audience and to be completely transparent,” he said. “It’s viral and it’s a fantastic traffic driver into our stores.”