The luxury fashion and accessories industry has grown by 42% since 2017. Among the top 100 companies in the world, luxury apparel brands rank ahead of technology, automotive, finance, and consumer goods businesses. Haute clothing brands are flourishing. What are they doing to get more people to buy their expensive attire? Let's find out.
Here are eight marketing secrets of luxury clothing brands that you can apply to your business.
1. Gucci: Develop a Culture of Purpose
Gucci is one of the fastest growing brands in the world. The Italian luxury label is expanding quicker than any of the other luxury clothing brands with a 30% increase in sales over the past two years.
How did they do it? Global brand consultancy Interbrand credits the company's CEO, creative director, and a host of young advisors who have helped Gucci reach a new audience—millennials. The Financial Times calls millennials "the world's most powerful consumers."
Gucci understood this and tapped into the growing demand of eager buyers. They did so by appealing to the things millennials deem important: personal satisfaction and purpose.
That's where the brand's purpose-driven, environmentally progressive program, Gucci Equilibrium, began.
With this program, Gucci revealed their culture of purpose, promising to make the right decisions on behalf of people and the planet. Equilibrium reveals its policies on corporate social responsibilities, environmental impact, employee satisfaction, and structural innovations. It's authentic, transparent, and it demonstrates accountability.
The Secret: You can't forget what makes a luxury brand luxury. You still need to make your product or service with the highest-quality craftsmanship. When you add brand sustainability and transparency, you're well on your way to making your customers happy, especially if you're seeking the approval of millennials.
No matter what type of business you have, strive to make the best product or service you can. Then reveal those things that set your brand apart from the others.
2. Louis Vuitton: Build a Cohesive Social Presence
The fashion industry has been slow to seize the benefits of social media. Until recently, many considered luxury shopping more of a privilege for the elite rather than an activity for the average online shopper. Today however, with almost 80% of luxe purchases originating from a digital interaction with a brand, a new thought process has emerged.
Luxury retailers Louis Vuitton embraced the idea. The french fashion-house brand has been in business since 1854, but it didn't stop them from adapting to modern-day marketing techniques.
LV is now the second-most influential fashion brand on social. Between Twitter and Instagram, they have over 37-million followers. Because fashion translates well to visual images, LV experiences their greatest success on Instagram, where they frequently post pictures and videos of everything from catwalk shows to ad campaigns and store openings. They also feature influencers wearing their designs.
That doesn't mean they've forgotten Twitter and Facebook, though. LV develops a cohesion with all their social efforts by coordinating visuals across their channels. Then they make sure to engage with that following. For example, their Facebook account features a chatbot that many other luxury clothing brands haven't supported. It makes LV stand out.
Naturally, their massive social following doesn't mean much unless those followers become customers. That's where there's more good news. LV ranks first in Total Brand Equity among all luxury providers and their 2018 global revenues were up 10%.
The Secret: Social media can be your marketing weapon of choice when it comes to promoting your brand. Whatever channels you choose, however, be sure to coordinate your marketing efforts across all of them for cohesive, connected branding.
You don't need to post the exact same content to each, but unifying all your social accounts with a consistent appearance and messaging allows you to solidify your brand image. This helps drive revenue, increase customer satisfaction, and generate more sales leads.
3. Hermès: If Your Marketing Isn't Broken, Don't Fix It
If your brand doesn't have a marketing department, how can you share your marketing secrets? French high-fashion luxury goods manufacturer Hermès found a way. They might be best known for their anti-marketing approach to marketing. It sounds unconventional, but it's helped them create a $6-billion business.
Hermès claims they don't "do" marketing, according to their artistic director Bali Barret, but they do have a strategy. They have a creative team to design seasonal ad campaigns and communications employees to manage press and media buys. They also boast impressive social media accounts with over eight-million followers on their Instagram alone.
But they claim they don't have a marketing department.
Hermès builds their 180+ year-old business, in part, around makeshift pop-up shops called Hermès Carré Clubs. A typical four-day event features artists sketching, painters painting, and a café with free coffee and nightly entertainment. Hermès color swatches are everywhere. Of course, you can also buy a scarf designed specifically for these events.
Hermès attempts to position the company as a spirited luxury clothing brand that appeals to a wide variety of people. It's called category segregation. Sure, they sell $22,900 clutch purses, but they also offer $160 scarves and $195 ties. They even partnered with Apple to make a luxury watch brand product marketed as "the ultimate tool for modern life."
The Secret: Be yourself, as a brand. It would be unthinkable not to have a website or social accounts. Even Hermès has these. But if you find a method that's considered unconventional, and it's working, stick with it. Your organization doesn't have to operate the same way as every other brand in your industry to be successful. If your sales figures are telling you what you're doing is working, stay the course. That doesn't mean there's no need for improvement or upgrades, but don't abandon what's brought you this far.
4. Dior: Mix Your Marketing Tactics to Match Your Target Audiences
European luxury goods manufacturer Christian Dior has built a $42-billion business with a mix of digital and print marketing tactics centered around social engagement and content.
As the 14th-most valuable brand in the world, they're not afraid to try anything as long as it meets the needs of their target audiences. Let's take a look at a few of the ways this luxury clothing brand mixes their marketing methods to better match some of their target audiences.
As part of their ongoing marketing strategy, Dior promotes their classic clothing designs via exhibits. Esprit Dior was an exhibition that featured 10 separate themes, while New Look Revolution highlighted the evolution of their iconic Bar Suit, introduced in 1947.
When Dior wants to cater to a specific audience, they turn to social media. For example, their Dior Homme account caters specifically to a male demographic, rather than mixing all their clothing lines (male and female) together. As a result, they've earned 88,000+ targeted followers.
Dior recognized that China was a perfect place to sell a limited edition of their Lady Dior bags. How would they do it? Via the WeChat app. So they planned a four-day marketing campaign during the Qixi Festival Holiday, but sold out in one day.
Dior left no marketing stone unturned when they added VR to their runway fashion shows. Rather than presenting a traditional show, they added Dior Eyes, a VR headset to the mix. This gave their loyal fans a virtual backstage pass where they could see models preparing for the events.
The Secret: If you have a variety of target markets to please, get creative and use a mix of marketing methods to reach them. Print, digital, and in-store are the typical marketing channels, but always think outside the box to make your customers happy. You can have multiple target markets while keeping your brand promise consistent. Focus on each market and provide the content that will solve their problems or fulfill their needs.
5. Burberry: Embrace a Marketing Makeover
After years of slumping sales, Burberry set out on a multi-year plan to re-energize both their product line and their customer's experience. The goal was to continually engage consumers with the brand.
So they leveraged their digital and social media reach to convey a newfound brand energy. A new chief creative officer instilled a sense of enthusiasm into the business, blending the heritage of the company's past with a contemporary edge that spoke to the future. They also changed the perception of their brand with more social engagement, fresh editorial content, and an increased focus on experiences with pop-ups and capsule collections.
Welcome to the art of rebranding. New logo, new monogram, new attitude.
Burberry also embraced omnichannel marketing, providing their customers with a unified brand experience across mobile devices and physical touchpoints. For example, they introduced a "collect-in-store" service where customers could shop for select products online, then walk into a store to collect those items.
The Secret: Sometimes your brand needs an overhaul. How will you know? Slumping sales are one sign, but that doesn't always mean you need to rebrand. In Burberry's case, it was time for this drastic change.
If you want to reach a broader audience, your modern-day marketing efforts will play a key role in the perception of your new image and products. You don't necessarily have to forget your past. In fact, you can embrace elements of it as you update your marketing methods with more social engagement and an omnichannel approach to sales.
6. Chanel: Harness the Power of Influence
Chanel's the most influential luxury brand according to influencer marketing platform Insightpool. It's hard to argue that status, given the brand's social media engagement. They have over 57-million social followers. Here are a few of the ways they've achieved their social success.
Chanel has held on to the age-old concept of luxury. It's supposed to be exclusive and with Chanel, it is. Not everyone can have it. So they only sell a limited supply of products online.
Also, even though they participate in a variety of social media channels, they don't follow back. Plus, they don't converse with their customers via social. It's not a best-practice recommendation, especially compared to what other luxury clothing brands are doing, but it works for them.
Wield Power Via Influence
Chanel's content is more aspirational than attainable. They're in their own world in many ways. But they're not afraid to let social media influencers take the reigns. So they recruited fashion-focused bloggers and Instagrammers that portrayed a specific type of aspirational lifestyle. This has helped them stay visible and relevant at just the right times. As a result, influencer content generated a million likes in one month.
Commit to Video Content
Much of Chanel's success is attributed to their online videos. Their YouTube content ranges from mini feature films to beauty talks, behind-the-scenes sessions, fashion shows, and more. All together, they've attracted 1.3-million subscribers to their channel.
The Secret: The power of influencers can make a big difference in your marketing strategy. Find people in your industry that have a large social following and see if they fit with your brand. Once you've identified them, see if they can help you amp up your content, provide product feedback, and/or help you create new content.
7. Prada: Use Multichannel Marketing
Prada has a new public identity. So what better way to get the word out than by hitting a wider variety of marketing channels? The Italian luxury fashion house developed Prada365, a multichannel marketing approach that focuses on their print, online, and social media efforts. They call it a “continuous visual data stream.”
Prada became bored with themselves when they offered a single marketing campaign throughout an entire season.
The campaigns were good, mind you. They captivated the fashion industry every spring, summer, fall, and winter—oftentimes because they were so unusual.
The new Prada, however, wanted to be different among luxury clothing brands—smaller and faster with distinctive concepts, settings, models, and photographers. So rather than reducing all their ideas to one campaign, they produced more possibilities with many of their ideas. That meant more collaboration, more spontaneity, more in-the-moment managing across a variety of marketing channels.
The brand wasn't doing this simply because it could, however. A series of poor sales and revenue reports led to the change in vision. Plus, Prada planned to double its e-commerce sales by featuring more accessible products.
The Secret: Gone are the days of one-channel marketing. A singular focus is no longer a practical approach. That's why multichannel marketing makes sense. Over half of companies use up to eight channels to interact with their customers. Here's something to keep in mind, however. It's not how much you do, it's how well you do each of them. Keep your focus on the quality of your product or service as you increase your number of marketing channels.
8. Versace: Build an e-commerce Platform
American fashion designer Michael Kors had a bold plan to turn Versace into a multibillion-dollar business. So he bought the company and detailed a plan to double their sales. Among his strategy points? An investment in e-commerce.
Some feared Kors would turn the luxury label into a "masstige" brand—aka prestige for the masses. But Versace wasn't doing much in the way of online business, so they invested about $100-million in building a platform that multiple brands could use, Versace being one of them.
The hope is that they would soon turn in more than $100-million in sales.
It's too early to evaluate their investment, but it stands to reason that e-commerce will work for Versace. Almost 22% of the world is buying products online. By 2021, there will be more than two-billion online shoppers. More directly, almost 80% of luxury sales were digitally influenced and luxe spending online could surpass $87 billion by 2025.
The Secret: If you want to boost sales of your products or services, start selling online. By giving your customers this important option, you're increasing your chances of making a sale. It will take more than merely making your products available, though. Here are a few things to focus on.
- Use Storytelling. Luxury has always been associated with exclusivity. It's difficult to translate that experience to digital, but storytelling (with pictures) can help. Help your target customer visualize the buying experience. You want them to think: "I could be wearing these clothes!"
- Offer Luxury Customer Service. This is the cornerstone of every in-store luxury experience. Consider exclusive services like free shipping, returns, in-store pickups, and gift wrapping. Also, send a handwritten note of thanks on a luxury notecard.
- Focus on the Details. This should set you apart from other e-retailers. Be more descriptive with your product pages, including helpful advice for size, fit, and care.
Learn Marketing from Luxury Clothing Brands
You can learn how to create and refine your marketing strategy from luxury clothing brands. In fact, as you can determine from their many years of experience, which marketing concepts worked and which ones didn't work. That way you can help to build your own brand's success.
Every luxury clothing brand would agree that the top goal of their business is to make their customer happy by providing the luxury experience they deserve. It doesn't matter whether you have a luxury business or not. When it's time to show your customers how much their business means to you, send them a handwritten thank-you note.
Simply Written's digitally handwritten correspondence is both simple and effective. Jump-start your customer service efforts today by helping your brand create connections that last a lifetime.
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