Given the start-up environment and the appetite for disruption, it’s a wonder the fashion industry is actually morphing from the inside. Start-ups have little to do with it. It’s the digital world, consumer preferences and fast-fashion outlets such as H&M, Forever 21 and Zara that are completely flipping the fashion industry on its head. Fashion influencers are taking the lead.
The signs are clear. High-end fashion retailers can no longer rely on the old model of catwalk shows to present next season’s trends. Retail spaces are transformed into inspiration hubs and now hold events to accompany sales. One of the driving forces behind this new trend is that consumers -and millennials in particular- have fully embraced a different approach when it comes to buying clothes. The leading role in this transformation is in the hands of fashion influencers.
The “See Now, Buy Now” mentality
Put simply: shoppers don’t want to wait. With the internet in everyone’s pockets and millions of purchase options available in one click and next day delivery, why would they? The agility of fast-fashion outlets means new trends are adapted, produced and available within weeks. And to boot, often at prices that undercut the big fashion houses.
The change has seen fashion companies pivot towards digital platforms, for sales as well as marketing. When Fendi, for instance, followed in the footsteps of Dolce & Gabanna with its new online hub, their intentions were clear: communicate the brand’s vision in an “authentic and innovative way” through a by-millennials, for-millennials platform.
A Gap Filled By Social Media and Fashion influencers
Last year, the Mintel market research firm reported that more than 35% of young US women consider social media their main influence for clothes purchases. The US is leading, but Europe is right behind it. We only need to look at the number of hashtags, Instagram celebrities and fashion influencers in adverts to see how this affects marketing. The online world is not only a place to sell, it’s also where you reach audiences. And the best way to do it is by focusing on influencers.
From fashion bloggers to social media celebrities, influencers have tremendous power over their audiences. Whereas in the past fashion magazines controlled trends through a strict editing process, one word of endorsement from the right person can now translate into clicks, conversions and sales. It’s no surprise that Burberry openly admitted to hiring David Beckham’s son to photograph their latest campaign because of his 6 million Instagram followers. Fashion influencers are not just an extra asset in fashion marketing campaigns: they become an integral part of the storytelling between the clothes and the consumer.
“Fashion influencers are not just an extra asset in fashion marketing campaigns: they become an integral part of the storytelling between the clothes and the consumer.”
How To Choose Fashion Influencers
In many ways, targeting influencers for marketing isn’t dissimilar to standard marketing. Your brand needs to know and understand its audience. This means creating a full profile of their online landscape: what kind of blogs to they read, who do they follow on Twitter? Do they focus on photos or content? Remember that social media channels might not all be created equal in their eyes, so it’s important to focus on the one that best suits your message.
Similarly, casting too wide a net to reel in fashion influencers might have more cons than pros. Although loyal, followers of influencers are incredibly savvy. They worship transparency, and the best influencers know exactly how to straddle the fine line between overt promotion and personal taste. This is why it might be worth focusing on dozens of (micro-)influencers who truly speak your language, rather than courting one top influencer whose communications could be drowned in noise, or worse, suffer an audience backlash.
Finally, keep in mind that influencers can require more attention than standard digital marketing campaigns. With a tool like Join, you can easily stay in contact with all the bloggers you work with. Moreover, you do not have to worry about contracts or payments – those are all handled internally. When the campaign is done, Join provides you with a clear dashboard that shows the (live) results of the campaign. That is how we really simplify influencer marketing. Interested in a demo? Don’t hesitate and contact us.
The fashion world has always been known for its fast-pace. But in the digital world, this speed has increased tenfold, which means brands need to be more agile and quicker on their feet than ever.
Luckily, social media channels and influencers have opened the door to a brand new kind of marketing. One that is challenging, constantly evolving, but most importantly creative. After all, this is the quality most people associate with the fashion world.