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Published May 23rd 2018

What’s the Best Social Strategy for Fashion Brands?

For fashion companies, does exclusivity or inclusiveness help your brand strategy? Depends on if you're a luxury brand. In this article, we look at how different strategies affect different fashion companies using data from our Social Index.

If you’re a fashion company, how do you strike a balance between having an illustrious, exclusive brand, and promoting inclusivity and expanding your customer base? Does one strategy win out over the other?

Turns out, it depends on whether your brand is seen as “luxury”.

In our most recent update to our Social Index, a global brand health ranking of over 20 different sub-sectors, we investigated how luxury fashion brands compared to general apparel brands to identify key differences in the sectors.

On the surface, luxury brands won

While brands like Nike and Adidas engage in regular promotion and sponsorships and usually top our Social Index, it’s clear that luxury fashion brands dominated last quarter.

 

When looking at our analysis of fashion brands, seven of the top ten fashion brands are luxury brands, with Louis Vuitton and Chanel topping the list at 1 and 2.

This is in no small part due to New York Fashion Week which happened in February. Brands like Michael Kors and Gucci made waves on and off the runway, and clearly created social buzz.

However, it wasn’t just buzz that differentiated luxury brands from general apparel brands. The category that showed the biggest difference between luxury and general apparel manufacturers was sentiment.

Not only were people talking more about Louis Vuitton and Chanel on social, they were more positive conversations.

In our report, Best Brands for CX, we found even compared to every other industry, luxury fashion brands were among the most positively discussed brands.

Sentiment’s nothing but a number: the power of creative engagement

While sentiment and the emotions customers express about your brand are extremely important, monitoring the sentiment around your brand won’t do you any favors as you try to grow your audience.

In this arena, general apparel brands shine. Compared to luxury fashion brands, general apparel brands are growing their audience and reaching more people online at a faster rate.

One big factor contributing to this is how differently they use their owned social media pages. According to the data in our Social Index, apparel brands are much more successful in posting engaging content and responding to their audience in creative and useful ways.

Take Nike for example. Most companies we’ve found limit their audience replies to customer service and complaint management.

In addition to handling that, Nike also uses social to engage with the positive comments their customers share.

By doing this, Nike is creating a positive customer experience throughout their customers’ relationships with them.

While often this difference in engagement is more oversight than intentional, some of this has to do with the culture of luxury brands.

Our old friend and luxury fashion expert, James Lovejoy, put it intelligently:

As an industry, [luxury fashion brands] have been relatively more reluctant to adopt social media programs. Their reluctance may have a lot to do with the culture of these brands — there’s a heavy focus on quality, heritage, and in some ways a certain level of exclusivity. [But] by being quiet or not paying attention to what’s happening on social, many [luxury] brands are becoming blind to how they’re being discussed online and the way social affects fashion.”

James Lovejoy, social media analyst

Not only can creative social media engagement help reinforce your brand messaging-whatever it may be-investing in a strategy that goes beyond sentiment can expand the reach of your content and ultimately improve the ROI of your marketing activities.

Do you find this relationship between luxury and sentiment in your industry?

Who is leading your industry in our Social Index, and what does that say about your social strategy?

Find your industry and see how you compare.

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