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Luxury brands not using online video effectively: ForresterBy Peter Finocchiaro
Luxury marketers are missing valuable opportunities by failing to promote their brands vigorously through the rich-media canvas of online video, according to Forrester Research.
United States Internet users are online for an average of 19.5 hours a week, and 60 percent of them watch online video at least once a month. Yet, luxury brands have not done enough to key in to this valuable medium, scoring low compared to other industries in Forrester Online Video Product Scorecard.
“There are particular challenges for product strategists and marketers working on luxury brands’ Web sites,” Nick Thomas, London-based consumer product strategy analyst at Forrester in the report. “The focus is not on creating a compelling ecommerce environment – although some do sell direct via this method – nor is it about creating a deep catalog of generic content with wide appeal.
“Luxury sites’ prime focus is on building brand equity and reinforcing the exclusivity and appeal of the brand,” he said. “A strong video product can be a crucial component of this experience.
“Product managers must adopt best practices from sites in other verticals while remaining focused on the specific qualities required of luxury brand sites.”
Forrester analyzed 11 luxury brand sites across the automotive, apparel and accessories sectors for its “How luxury Web sites should use video” report. The analyst graded the brands against 20 criteria across four main categories: discovery, consumption, content and context.
Luxury scores low
Videos – such as the Louis Vuitton fashion show screen on Facebook (see story) – provide a real opportunity to create strong engagement with consumers.
Luxury brands should focus on achieving the highest quality of video, rather than pouring out a slew of cheaply made ones. Richly detailed videos will communicate the prestige and quality of the brand.
Marketers need to emphasize differentiation through their videos so that the imagery is specific to their branding. All brands surveyed had perfect scores for differentiation in the study.
Additionally, brands should make sure to distribute high-quality video content only through channels they directly control to maintain exclusivity, per Forrester.
However, videos should be portable, meaning consumers should be able to share the content across different channels and platforms to facilitate word of mouth.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are important tools for all luxury marketers, and they should make sure to promote their videos via those channels.
High-end brands must perform better in search facility by making their video content easier to locate in their Web sites. Only two of 11 brands surveyed had designed their sites to make sure that the page content and URLs were optimized for search.
Likewise, these brands must do more work in search engine optimization for their video content.
Overall, the luxury vertical scored poorly compared to other media categories, earning 61.2 points on Forrester’s scale, compared to a cross-industry average of 67.0.
Luxury brands performed below average in all major categories measured by Forrester
“While the potential for luxury brands using video is high, it is some way from being realized,” Mr. Thomas said. “Looking at the online video product scorecard results across all of the 15 industry verticals, luxury sites earned the sixth-lowest average score.
Rich media, rich branding
The results of the report concur with findings by comScore that showed that luxury brands should be reaching consumers via online video advertising (see story).
Additionally, a study by the Luxury Institute showed that upscale brands need to redouble their branding efforts to emphasize the heritage and quality of their products in order to win over consumers who are still squeamish about spending large sums of money (see story).
Online video could be a powerful tool for achieving exactly that sort of branding objective.
“Online video has moved beyond specialist aggregators like YouTube and Hulu,” said Nick Thomas, London-based consumer product strategy analyst at Forrester in the report. “Brand sites, for example, promote products through commercials, how-to-videos and interviews.
“This is the time for companies – whether traditional media players or those, like the luxury brands in this case, that find themselves de facto media companies in this post-media-meltdown universe – to maximize the value of video within their sites,” he said.
Peter Finocchiaro is editorial assistant at Luxury Daily, New York
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