Last week, 360i & WOMMA hosted the first WOMMA Wine Wednesday of the summer season – “Digital by Design: What the New Era of Word of Mouth Means for Fashion and Your Brand.” During the event, attendees wined and dined while a stellar line up of industry experts discussed the how fashion brands are re-imagining their word of mouth strategies as the industry moves from a place of exclusivity into an environment that’s fueled and inspired by open culture and the collaboration between brands and consumers.
- David Goldberg, President, StyleCaster Media Group (@david_goldberg)
- Lauren Indvik, Associate Editor, Mashable (@laureni)
- Mae Karwowski, Social Media Manager, Gilt City (@maewow)
- Jen Rubio, Social Media Manager, Warby Parker (@jennifer)
- Yuli Ziv, Founder & CEO, Style Coalition (@yuliz)
- Orli LeWinter, Director of Social Marketing Strategy, 360i – Moderator
Here are the key takeaways from #360iDxD:
1. Luxury brands are finally opening the doors to social conversation. Up until a few years ago, many luxury brands shied away from social media, as they wanted to maintain the aura of exclusivity around their high-end products. Digital has disrupted this trend, as more and more high-end fashion brands are openly engaging in conversation — and even starting the dialogue themselves. As Yuli Ziv of Style Coalition pointed out, the content that these brands are producing and inspiring their consumers to create is actually luxurious and exclusive in and of it itself. Content has become its own luxury product.
Panelists noted that some brands are still not yet fully committed to the two-way dialogue – they launch Facebook pages, but disable comments, or maintain Twitter feeds but do not interact with users directly. Our experts generally disagreed with this ‘one foot in, one foot out’ approach. “If you’re going to go social, you take the risk of fully opening up the conversation,” said Warby Parker’s Jen Rubio. // Tweet It
2. Influencers are key in connecting brands with consumers. While some would argue that there has been a marked shift in fashion conversations from traditional outlets to fashion bloggers, style communities and social platforms, Ziv argued that the conversation has not shifted, but rather it has extended into many smaller conversations. “The way for brands to harness those discussions and connect to consumers is through influencers,” she said. “They are becoming the points of contact with consumers and are helping brands make sense of this social media ocean.” // Tweet It
3. Mobile has disrupted the retail experience. Fashion, more so than other verticals, is rooted in a distinct brick-and-mortar retail experience; however, the increasing percentage of smartphone usage in the United States is transforming the way consumers shop, creating new opportunities for brands to innovate the in-store experience. For example, Rubio shared the strategic thinking behind the development of Warby Parker’s mobile app, which delivers tangible utility to consumers by helping them make purchase decisions via crowdsourced feedback from their social networks. // Tweet It
4. Digital should be part of the marketing mix. When asked whether our experts have seen marketing budgets for digital increase, the general consensus was that they have, but not nearly enough. Indvik noted that print budgets are still double those of digital, even though consumers are spending only 8 percent of their time with print publications. Yet, panelists agreed that the power of traditional media cannot be discounted. “Online efforts to advertise are important, but reaching your consumer through a variety of channels is key in growing the audience,” said Gilt City’s Mae Karwowski. David Goldberg of StyleCaster echoed that sentiment, arguing that social is key, but “you can’t really replicate the power of being on the Today Show.” It’s about finding innovative ways to mesh online and offline, he said. // Tweet It
As a demonstrated theme throughout this event – social is disruptive and yet transformative. Social is changing the way brands market products and how they interact with their consumers. The digital age is enhancing these relationships, opening the doors to multi-dimensional conversations in real-time, allowing brands to form deeper, more meaningful connections with their customer base.
Big thanks to all our panelists for offering great insights and conversation at this event, and to WOMMA for their partnership.