US designer Tommy Hilfiger and US actress Zendaya appears on the catwalk after presenting their Fall/Winter 2019/20 Women collection by Tommy Hilfiger during the Paris Fashion Week, in Paris, France, 02 March 2019. The presentation of the Women collections runs from 25 February to 05 March.Tommy Hilfiger - Runway - Paris Fashion Week Women F/W 2019/20, France - 02 Mar 2019

LONDON — Diversity, inclusion and sustainability are top media impact boosters as they enhance brands’ relevance to today’s consumers. According to Launchmetrics’ latest “Data on the Runway” report, the evolution of “social values” in society is impacting brands’ popularity and consumer engagement.

A case in point is Tommy Hilfiger’s spring 2020 show in collaboration with Zendaya, which was praised for its diverse casting. It ranked among the top three New York Fashion Week shows in terms of media impact value or MIV.

In London, some of the top-ranking influencers included renowned drag queens @Missfamenyc and @ageofaquaria who sat front row at the Erdem and Matty Bovan shows, respectively, according to Launchmetrics, a data research and insights company that attaches a monetary value to MIV by tracking a brand’s marketing activities across all social media, as well as print and online publications.

Sustainability initiatives have similar effect in terms of creating higher engagement and increasing a brand’s media impact.

Dior managed to increase its MIV by 57 percent for spring 2020 compared to fall 2019, after raising the issue of biodiversity through its spring 2020 show space, which was filled with trees sourced from France in partnership with botanist group Coloco.

Gucci experienced a similar spike, with its spring 2020 show, earning 40 percent more MIV compared to fall 2019, following an announcement of the brand’s plans to go carbon neutral.

Having a green agenda is proving a boon for more niche labels, such as Gabriela Hearst, too. After hosting a carbon neutral show for spring 2020 Hearst pushed her media impact value to $1.1 million, compared with $317,000 the previous season.

New fashion week and fashion show formats are another major factor that influence how brands are perceived: Shorter fashion weeks; experiential shows; public-facing initiatives; or coinciding product launches all help increase a brand’s MIV, says the report.

In the case of New York Fashion Week, the thinning down of the show schedule from nine to five-and-a-half days helped to raise the event’s MIV from $118 million to $258 million.

In London, entirely new digital conversations began around BFC’s decision to open its doors to consumers at the same time as trade. Designers such as Henry Holland, who embraced the British Fashion Council’s initiative to host consumer-facing shows, saw media coverage increase. House of Holland’s MIV increased from $741,000 during fall 2019 to $1 million during spring 2020, after he hosted a show for the general public.

Meanwhile, the friction between traditional media outlets — such as magazines, web sites and newspapers — and the new generation of content creators on social media, continues. But front-row influencers and celebrities are not going anywhere, according to the report.

Traditional media still has the biggest share of the pie in terms of the number of stories or editorial being produced and media impact created. However, there is also a case for the higher efficiency of brands’ own media, and celebrity or influencer placements.

According to the report, own media and celebrity media placements might have accounted for only 3.5 percent and 0.7 percent of total editorial during the fall 2019 season, but the posts, stories and images generated 17.4 percent and 5 percent of the season’s MIV, respectively.

“Influencers, celebrities and ‘owned media’ are all capable of generating sizeable impact for brands through strategies that rely on less content creation,” said the report, which highlighted the continued importance of front-row influencers.

“Of the top social posts over the fall 2019 season, 90 percent were by influencers, whilst during the spring 2020 season, 100 percent of the top social posts were by influencers or celebrities. This quantifies the sheer value that these public figures can provide when it comes to events like fashion week, and it is likely that in the next year we will only see a rise in these familiar faces on the front row.”

As for the brands that garner the most attention, it’s the big players that are leading the way: For fall 2019, Chanel, Dior and Gucci were at the forefront, while Vivienne Westwood was among the only independent labels to make an appearance in the top 20 brands ranking. She came in at number 17.

During the spring 2020 season, Versace stole the top spot following J.Lo’s viral runway moment, with Chanel and Michael Kors following suit. Balmain also jumped from number 20 to number 4, increasing its MIV from $2.8 million to $16 million. That boost no doubt came from the brand’s makeup collaboration with Kylie Jenner, which was announced just before the show.

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