Establishing consumer relationships through mobile marketing, as with any successful, productive relationship, inherently requires a mutual exchange of value. Whether consumers are opting-in for brand communications via SMS or engaging with the brand in a single instance through scanning a QR code, the onus is on the brand to deliver value in return for customers’ valuable time and information. Without the perception that value has been exchanged for value, the relationship becomes essentially one-sided and unrequited attempts at interaction on the part of the consumer will spell the end of the relationship – perhaps permanently.
I was honored to speak at the FashionForward Digital Conference held at New York’s Crosby Street Hotel on October 27th. A collection of many of the brightest minds in the fashion digital arena assembled during the day to share innovative thoughts on the state of the industry through the lens of social media, digital design, branded content, digital advertising, and luxury consumer behavior defined through cognitive anthropology.
The visual mystery, sensuality, and intrigue elicited through still image artistry provide the de facto two-dimensional canvas of choice for luxury brands. The artistic vision of the Creative Director is meticulously staged and captured for the world to marvel at in the glossed pages of the style guides of our times. Each year, luxury brand marketers invest enormous percentages of marketing budgets in print advertising. Vast libraries of visual content collect dust, as the artistry of each new season’s collection is re-envisioned, making way for the evolving stylistic viewpoint of the house.
The essence of any coveted brand is the story it tells. Its history conveys mystery, passion, and intrigue and creates in consumers an insatiable desire to be among a select few bit players in the theatricality of the brand experience. These narratives are communicated through a variety of channels. Artful photography displayed in print tells a tale. The runway provides the dramatic stage. The store is the epicenter of the encounter. Digital media voices a story and the shared experience platform enabled by social media allows the consumer to contribute to the brand dialogue.
The conceptual model of pop-up retail is certainly not a new strategy in the brand and product marketing playbook. Pop-up stores have been effectively employed by a number of the world’s most recognizable brands. Most often they are used to introduce new product, gauge consumer interests, and enhance exposure through cleverly placed, transitory concept venues that are designed to generate buzz by creating an out of the ordinary brand experience.
The 21st Century digital native consumer is hyperconnected, socially integrated, empowered with information, and always in motion. The mobile medium has been a tremendous catalyst for consumers to get out into the world and experience. As we as a society evolve from stationary models of entertainment and information gathering to one that experiences our world by immersing ourselves in it, we are constantly seeking ways to make our encounters more meaningful and interesting. The power of connection and information allows us to demand greater degrees of intimacy with the brands we most admire. We actively search for ways to achieve efficiencies while being consistently entertained and informed along the journey. What does this mean for luxury brands as they try to engage this digital native?