If you manage a fashion brand, then you want it to be someplace where your customers can see it.
The problem is, it’s really hard to get anybody’s attention at the moment as attention spans have shortened and interests have evolved in ways that left many fashion houses puzzled if not confused.
What should you do to market your fashion collection? What kind of media should you use to make it resonate with your audience and escape the noise?
In this post we’re taking a bold stand: we advise you to take advantage of creative content to make your brand relevant and exciting.
But before we get into the reasons why you should pursue creative content producers as your next partnership to bring your collection to market, let’s review together what isn’t working with the other options, aka paid media and earned media.
Why Paid Media Doesn’t Work
Paid media or traditional advertising can work, of course.
The problem is that it can work very well on customers who already are engaged with your brand. If someone is really excited about your products and services then advertising can act as a trigger to lead sales.
If on the other hand, customers are not in a “purchase-oriented” mindset, but much more in an “awareness” or “comparison” mindset, then advertising will provide very little return on investment. Customers will not respond to it as they have no intent to buy.
If you want to build awareness, then “content is king”. If you want to persuade your customers about the quality of your offer, then social media is the place to be.
Only once these two stages (awareness and comparison) have been overcome, then advertising can do its magic.
As a result, your brand’s strategy needs to invest in all of these three steps throughout your customer’s journey. This way you can make your customer “find” your brand first, then assess its social value and social currency, and then identify the right opportunity to purchase.
Moreover, as we all know, the issue with paid media is that customers are nowadays a little saturated with sales communication and overall quite disillusioned about what brands say through commercials.
Customers feel they need to access different types of information to make up their minds, and they tend to believe in third-party influencers more than the brand itself.
As a result, PR Offices for fashion brands are really the heart of a marketing department.
However, as we’ll see in the following section, influencers have their issues and limitations too.
Why Influencers Don’t Work
Influencers have been very relevant in the fashion industry ever since Dolce and Gabbana “made official” their relevance in the market by inviting some as VIPs to fashion shows.
Influencers qualify as “earned media” of content that is not directly influenced by the brand and therefore more authentic and truthful.
Influencers in many niches are industry experts and can help consumers make purchasing decisions by “lifting the veil” and expressing unbiased opinions regarding a product’s quality and features.
The issue with influencers is that over time, many of these “community leaders” may have taken advantage of their position of prominence and authority and have monetized their influence to an extent that makes them look very much like paid advertising.
This phenomenon came about as a consequence of their own relevance over product launches.
During the initial stages of a product launch, so much of a product’s success can depend upon early positive (or better yet ecstatic) reviews and word of mouth.
Fashion companies were very quick to realize how “innovators” or customer categories representing those who are the first to react to a new trend were extremely influential in dictating “the slope” of the rest of the adoption curve, leading to high sales and high profits.
Ok, so now that we’ve clarified why both of these content categories are unable to fully connect a brand to its customers. Let’s now look into a third option: content marketing.
Why Only Content Matters
Content, or as we call it in digital marketing: owned media. Owned media is content created by a company to present its products and services.
It differs from the other two as earned media is associated with third-party publishing and paid media is usually commissioned to an advertising agency.
The type of content that a fashion brand can create varies greatly depending on what kind of effect it wants to have on its audience.
In the graph below, we can see that the content typologies a brand can create can vary greatly, depending on the goal you are setting for your brand.
Is it to entertain, to inspire, to educate, or to convince? To each strategy, here are some content options for your brand to develop.
It is important to take into account how some of these content typologies can in fact be high-budget strategies and overall expensive productions.
This should not be considered a cost, but as an investment opportunity to reach out of your industry and find synergies with unlikely partners.
This is something we can see often in gaming, where now many fashion brands have reached out to tech companies to connect to a much younger audience. We discuss this topic in more detail in this post.
Moreover, the typologies listed do not exhaust the options. Consider entertainment media for instance: Squid Game has become a worldwide sensation that has skyrocketed Vans shoes in sales. We can safely say Netflix is a next-generation showcase for products that invest in entertainment media.
It cannot be understated however that brands really need to challenge themselves to be innovative in this space.
As we discuss in this post, fashion marketers need to be true visionaries to identify synergies and opportunities that take advantage of unlikely but, potentially highly successful partnerships.
Before moving on towards our conclusive remarks, we need to remind ourselves that these three types of content: Owned Media (Content), Earned Media (Influencers and PR) and Advertising (Ads) are all part of the same ecosystem that leads customers towards your brand.
As a result, they cannot be considered totally apart from each other. A fashion brand needs to consider the synergies and interplay of these three content typologies throughout a customer’s journey in order to drive profitable customer interactions.
As we’ve seen from this post, content marketing seems to be the best way to get your brand noticed in a crowded marketplace.
Content marketing is able to provide much more context and social value to a product, as it becomes part of a story. In some cases, actually, a product becomes the story itself.
By developing storytelling and narratives around a product a brand makes it much more relevant as it opens new opportunities to build a following by tapping into pop culture.
All in all, in this day and age, content seems to be a great opportunity to build a fashion brand in a fun and innovative way.
If you’re interested in reading more about content marketing and how it can help your fashion brand succeed, here’s an article that can help you become an expert!
If you’re interested in learning more about Content Marketing, don’t hesitate to take a look at our course “Content Marketing for Creative Rockstars“. Our short and to-the-point, online class covers a wide range of topics spanning from developing blog posts capable of driving profitable traffic to strategies for getting strong conversion rates on your landing pages. Here’s a link to the course, if you use the discount code BLOG20 you can access a 20% discount. Enjoy!