As marketers, we love creating campaigns that take on a life of their own, that become distributed and deposited by our top brand advocates throughout their seemingly infinite social networks. Whether it’s online or not, word of mouth is something all marketers seek, it’s our holy grail. Having a loyal customer take hold of a brand piece and share it with their circle via word of mouth is pure. solid. gold.
But what does this mean online?
When we think “viral” we think Burger King’s Subservient Chicken, Mentos exploding in Diet Coke or cute little girls impersonating Beyonce. We think mass market Consumer Packaged Goods and we think YouTube. We certainly do NOT think luxury. So how do luxury brands stay true to their status while allowing viral marketing to help boost sales?
The reality is that viral marketing for high end brands already exists, and it’s lucrative. It’s just not being utilized by the brands themselves. Rather, it’s gossip magazines who tout images of celebrities wearing the latest designer labels, or fashion fanatics that passionately write about the pieces and brands they love on their blogs, Facebook profiles and Twitter handles. Brand photography, logos and b-roll footage gets ripped from the brand’s website and deposited throughout the world-wide web. What’s scary for the brands is that control is automatically relinquished to the individual and the identity of the brand is not always upheld.
This isn’t to say that luxury marketers have lost all control of brand image online, instead it becomes increasingly important for the brands to establish controlled online representations and partnerships that embody the brand in a way that also takes advantage of the online platform.
This can be done on so many levels and in so many different ways. For example:
* Blogger Outreach: Identify the key influencers in your industry (or in complimentary industries if you are taking a lifestyle approach to the campaign). Reach out to them with ideas, be transparent and invite a dialogue to see how the partnership can be mutually beneficial (blogger receives compensation and exclusive content to post, brand receives great word of mouth).
* Multimedia Content: Enrich your content offering using multimedia. Behind-the-scenes footage, exclusive video interviews, artist partnerships for video shorts.
* Leverage your social media presence (and/or that of the key influencers) to be a hub of this engaging content and point back to the main brand website for a cohesive and synergistic online presence.
* Incorporate interactive and advanced functionalities on your site/microsite/social media profile. Many new software allows brands to have full control while offering an innovative, useful application to users.
Photo Credits: Emerging Media Blog