The climax of the famous speech by Miranda Priestly (played by Meryl Streep) in the 2006 fim, The Devil Wears Prada, is that the sweater Anne Hathaway’s character is wearing has slowly trickled down over the years from high-end runway to “some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin.” The implication here is also that the quality and design has declined in those iterations. But these days, Miranda Priestly’s premise would be totally irrelevant.
Enter Fast Fashion. Fast Fashion includes brands like H&M and Zara, which bring runway looks to affordable retail stores quickly: no need to wait for trickle down as magazines select the best looks and publish them in glossies, or as retailers measure customer response. Now runway looks are live-streamed or Snapped or Instagrammed or live-tweeted by bloggers and influencers, and retail interpretations of those looks are available in your local Forever 21 within mere weeks.
The success of these fast fashion retailers depends in large part on their social media success: Are bloggers wearing your clothes in posts? Are digital influencers bringing in customers through in-store events? Are those customers sharing their own photos of your designs on social?
Thanks to Sprinklr’s new Benchmarking tool, which gives brands access to competitive analytics and insights, which are arguably the most crucial insights in any brand trying to scale, we can now look at the state of fast fashion on social. Sprinklr compared the top four fast fashion retailers—H&M, Zara, Topshop, and Forever 21—in terms of their social following, engagement, and brand perception.
A few takeaways from the infographic below:
- Instagram is the top platform for all four brands, though Facebook is far from dead for Zara. Twitter isn’t a major player for any of these brands.
- Topshop has the lowest amount of followers, but the highest engagement ratio and the best customer experience score. Perhaps this is part of a scarcity model, as Topshop’s stores in the U.S are few and far between, or that their price point is a bit higher and designs a little more cutting edge. In any case, their small but active audience is working for them.
- Brand perception scores for Zara, H&M, and Forever 21 are fairly equal despite their varied price points and similar product quality scores, leading me to believe that fast fashion is simply popular in the social sphere. It makes sense that consumers of fast digital would be naturally drawn to fast fashion.
Also: check out the Sprinkler Benchmarking tool here if you think it could be useful for seeing where your business falls among the competition.
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COMMENTARY: How is the fashion industry embracing social media? Despite the fashion industry coming fashionably late onto the social media scene, it definitely has wasted no time in making sure its presence was felt. Top brands like Burberry, Urban Outfitters, and Louis Vuitton are promoting exclusive clothing and have become more accessible to the general public via social networking. This industry has embraced all that social media has to offer for it to grow in business. Today, ads are being replaced with blogs and marketing activities are centered on social advertising. Not only do brands and retailers use social media to communicate with their consumers, they use it to listen to them as well.
According to Seock and Norton,
“With the consumers' increased use of retailers' Internet Websites for searching out product information and purchasing, the websites have become key tools for retailers to communicate with current and prospective customers and the attributes of a retailer's website are crucial for attracting shoppers to the site and convincing them to become or remain customers.”
A perfect example of how the industry has embraced social media is Burberry’s campaigning strategy. Burberry, known to always be innovative and fresh, uses a mixture of different media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. The most dominant of the three, YouTube, is being used by Burberry to broadcast its image and promote its campaigns. This specific media platform is a personal studio place for the YouTube user to express their self in a creative, dramatic and artistic way while being recorded.
Burberry’s theme used in this YouTube is high fashion, youth, style and innovation. In the video is Romeo Beckham, the 10 year-old son of Victoria and David Beckham, who was specially picked to represent Burberry’s spring 2013 campaign. What do you think Burberry is trying to pitch here? High fashion +youth+ fan= Burberry. The company’s vision is that a customer has total access to Burberry, across any device, anywhere. This example goes to show just how much the fashion industry has embraced social media.
Burberry has become aware of the different social media platforms consumers use (especially young consumers), it’s created various advertisements using the social media platforms consumers use the most. Not only should a brand be aware of imagery when reaching out to consumers, but their overall content as well. The more unique a brand's overall content is, the more likely it is to receive a large amount of re shares and likes across social media platforms. According to Seock,
“Consumers across the age spectrum shop online, but college students aged 18 to 22 have been identified as the Internet's 'hottest' market and a prime source of future growth in online sales.”
For what reason did the fashion industry decide they needed social media as a marketing tool? One reason is that the fashion industry’s old way of marketing products and brands eventually went out of style! According to Winter,
“In a matter of minutes, eight cameras coupled with computer software can generate three-dimensional images of the human form, both clothed and unclothed.”
Without social media, the fashion industry would definitely be behind. The fashion industry is all about keeping up with the new and latest trends that are in, and social media happens to be one of the new trends in which they needed to take part.
The fashion industry used to be an industry that focused solely on the quality of its goods. This is still the case today, but this industry knew that it was time to take the next step forward in order to stay relevant, and social media was its solution. The fashion industry functions sort of like your most popular high school clique: A leader confidently undertakes something new; a few imitators carefully follow the leader’s get-up, and the rest then rush to participate before that trend dies out. Therefore, the fashion industry undertook social media, consumers follow the trends that the industry shares through social media and then next thing you know everyone wants to try it out to before it’s too late. The fashion industry’s reason for using social media was to keep up with trends and stay relevant so it wouldn’t be left behind.
To view "American Fashion Retail Brands Make It Big On Social Media" click HERE
What are some social media platforms that are most effective in the fashion industry today? There are so many:
- Fashion blogs
and many more social media platforms that are highly popular in the fashion industry today. Out of the many social platforms listed, blogging seems to be one of the most popular in the industry today. According to Chittenden,
“According to Luman (2006), in 2006 there were approximately 27 million blogs in the world. Corcoran (2006) noted that some 2 million of these blogs were devoted to fashion and fashion/shopping-related themes. Fashion bloggers are now seen as leaders in the industry, and brands are now turning to them not only to check and offer feedback on their products, but also to act as a connection between themselves and their target consumers.”
Fashion blogs typically include a mix of images from personal photographs and professional photographs of runway shows or magazine shoots (taken from other websites), to images of products seen on websites, other blogs, or in the local neighborhood of the blogger. Written entries discuss events in the blogger’s day, their outfit choices, ‘things they like’, or fashion items encountered in other places or other media. This social platform has a very big influence on how many people dress, shop, wear their hairstyles and even do their make-up.
The second most popular social media platform is YouTube; this social platform is used to create videos. Breen stated,
"As more people capture special moments on video, YouTube is empowering them to become the broadcasters of tomorrow."
This self-glorifying quote may have seemed far-fetched less than a year ago, but of late, YouTube has been discussed as a potential "sixth network”. Various YouTubers upload videos about fashion, hair and beauty tips to share with people all over the world. These views benefit from these videos because they can do and watch at the same time, which gives them the leisure of playing and pausing when they want. Not only do the viewer’s benefit from these videos, the YouTuber does as well.
Many YouTubers now earn six figures from marketing products for top companies in their videos and go on to owning their own fashion businesses and selling products of their own. A lot of the big designers you see today were discovered on YouTube. Depending on how interesting and useful the YouTube video is, many viewers will subscribe and pass on by word of mouth, helping the You Tuber sell their own personally made clothing.
Last but not least, Instagram, Pintrest, Tumblr and many other apps that allow many to express their sense of fashion are highly used today to influence how one views and captures fashion. These apps target more towards the younger generation; it’s quick and easy, you just snap and go. According to Livingston,
“The most popular photo revival software is Instagram available for iPhone and Instaplus for iPad with excellent reviews. You can load images from your photo library or from your iPhone and create stunning artistic compositions. Images are re-developed (digitized) replicating past analogue processes, before your very eyes, complete with original mechanical sounds of the Polaroid camera.”
Instagram is a mobile app for photo sharing and accomplishes the same social, visual goals as Tumblr, but in a prettier, scaled-down way. Many use this instagram as a channel of self-expression. Like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram’s appeal lies in its number of provided utilities both for individuals that love fashion and for owners of fashion brands. Many use instagram to do several things like display their personal lines, make up tips, cooking recipes and many other skills they have, but fashion is the most seen on these networks.
Therefore, to conclude, the days of a brand’s success relying solely on the quality of its goods are well and truly over. As the fashion industry has embraced social media, brands are simply opening their doors to personal contact and adding humanity, emotion and opinion. Whether you are interested in fashion or not, it is difficult to escape the constant bombardment of information on the latest fashions and trends that we receive through social media and the internet. From the fashion blogs, to the live streaming of catwalk shows from the main fashion weeks and the social shopping where we get all sorts of opinions on different pieces of clothing through Facebook, and Twitter, the fashion industry will never be the same.We live in the digital age, where it is important that social media is used as a marketing tool to avoid being left behind.
Courtesy of an article dated October 18, 2015 appearing in Social Media Today and the research paper by Crista Washington titled, "Social Media's Influence on the Fashion Industry"