Storytelling is key to the Kate Spade experience.
Mary Beech, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Kate Spade & Co., believes in 24/7 connectivity and being in constant conversation with their customers.
“At Kate Spade, we are, first and foremost, a customer-centric organization. It means building a lasting relationship,” said Beech, who noted that their customer is the center of all their actions and all their efforts. “We make every effort with her in mind. Otherwise, we’re just an orchestra playing for ourselves,” she said.
For years, Kate Spade’s customer was found in a retail store, but things have changed dramatically. “Today, whether she’s online, at one of our stores or wholesalers, on her mobile phone or on any of our social networks, we want to be there for her,” Beech said. And that includes the consumer immersing herself in the brand or doing actual shopping. “We are channel agnostic and brand and customer centric,” Beech said. She said she wants the Kate Spade customer to have a consistent and positive experience. And, what’s key to the customer relationship is brand voice.
“Storytelling is how you communicate in an authentic voice to your customers and make sure they understand and engage in your brand,” she said.
Successful storytelling requires two key ingredients: Great content and great distribution, she said. She said the phrase, “Content is king,” which was coined in 1996 by Bill Gates “still holds true” 20 years later. “At our core, we are storytellers, and this approach touches every part of our business,” she said. “To create great content, tell a great story,” she said. “You have to have a strong and unique brand voice in order to be heard and remembered. At Kate Spade, our brand voice is distinct, and it’s woven in our product, our communications, our marketing, our experiences, our stores.” She said the company’s brand promise is to inspire their customers to lead a more interesting life. “It is our job, each and everyday, to bring that life to life every day.”
Beech said they know everything about their customers, because they’ve taken the time to get to know them. They know her favorite drink, her favorite colors, the flowers she buys, the books she reads, the car she drives, etc.
The company created an image campaign with interesting female and male personalities, as well as brand videos which talks about the “Miss Adventures” of their Kate Spade New York girl. In addition, it has an e-commerce site, which communicates its brand story and establishes a connection to its customer. It has an Instagram account, where it shows all aspects of the aspirational Kate Spade girl’s life, and has specialty stores, which looks like the customer’s apartment. Pinterest is the company’s second highest traffic driver after Facebook.
The company’s “Miss Adventure” film series depicts the Kate Spade New York girl. “It’s been incredibly successful from a customer acquisition” standpoint, she said. In two seasons, and five episodes, it has driven 100 million views to date, while also significantly increasing search activity, purchase consideration, keyboard interest and traffic. This month the company won a Clio for fashion.