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Mobile provides unmatched consumer engagement tools for Fashion Week

January 30, 2013


Mobile provides unique tools for luxury fashion houses to transform their Fashion Week runway presentation into an opportunity for increased engagement and conversation among target consumers.

Affluent consumers are often eager to keep up with trends that emerge during runway presentations such as New York Fashion Week Feb. 7-14. Fashion marketers should not hold back on providing consumers with live-streaming and engagement tools on mobile devices since the capabilities of mobile seem to trump those of desktops in this case.

“High-end fashion retailers have historically been at the forefront of propelling advertising innovation as they look for new ways to catch their consumers’ interest and invite them to engage with their brand,” said Shuli Lowy, marketing director at Ping Mobile, Beverly Hills, CA.

Inspiration on-the-go

Mobile should be used to bring light to the inspiration behind a collection in addition to a display channel, per David Hewitt, vice president and global mobile practice lead at SapientNitro, Atlanta.

“Luxury brands and retailers are now investing and realizing how both mobile and digital can provide a much deeper connection with the consumer and well beyond the traditional dot com plays,” Mr. Hewitt said.

Mobile-optimized runway show streaming is one way that luxury marketers have been reaching out to users.

Nowadays, it is practically mandatory for marketers to optimize runway shows for smartphones and tablets.

“It is about broadening the audience, and enabling more people to become fans or advocates for your offerings,” said Dan Israel, strategy lead of mobile and multichannel at SapientNitro, Atlanta.

“It is an easy way to gain credibility with the social network of a viewer, especially if they can share and comment on what is being displayed," he said.

Real-time mobile

To start, social media should certainly be incorporated into a mobile live-stream.

Consumers who are not in attendance at the shows are not only looking to watch it, but read commentary on their mobile device via Facebook and Twitter as well as use other branded tools to see what is happening in real-time.

“The bottom line is mobile inside the show provides metrics on what's hot and what's not, and those outside represent an extension of your audience,” Mr. Israel said.

One tactic is to create a mobile application similar to that from The New York Times for the 85th Academy Awards broadcast. The media outlet provided a live feed, commentary from the experts and a feed of viewer comments, per Mr. Israel.

Indeed, mobile strategies that will succeed will focus on enhancing and improving the show experience for more than just those sitting in the front row, per Kendra Bracken-Ferguson, co-founder and managing director at Digital Brand Architects, New York.

Fashion marketers are likely to use a social approach to their mobile runway show efforts.

For example, streaming a live Twitter feed alongside virtual runway shows can heighten engagement and amplify a brand’s social presence.

“As we move into 2013 and designers are faced with increasing competition to stand out, those who consider innovative uses of the second screen will succeed,” Ms. Bracken-Ferguson said.

Also, luxury marketers should look to wow consumers with their Fashion Week mobile efforts through their careful use of the medium’s technologies, per Ping Mobile's Ms. Lowy.

Implementing augmented reality is one way to stand out among competitors in terms of consumer engagement.

Augmented reality has been recently used by many luxury apparel brands to allow consumers to virtually try on pieces and learn more about them, and this approach can be translated to Fashion Week campaigns.

“Being able to stand out is a challenge and it is often the real cutting-edge technology that makes people do a double-take to stop and explore a brand,” Ms. Lowy said.

Runway fitting

Though it is not the case backstage, on the mobile channel there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to runway shows.

Fashion marketers should come up with a unique way to make mobile work for them during Fashion Week, per Marcus Startzel, general manager for North America at Millennial Media, Baltimore, MD.

Some brands will optimize their runway live-stream for mobile, while others have the resources to create a rich mobile experience that is updated with pieces as they hit the runway.

Marketers should stay fixed on their own goal to determine the best tactic.

“The best type of creative can really vary depending on what the advertiser’s campaign goals are,” Mr. Startzel said. “What doesn’t change, though, is their target audience.

“Mobile gives brands an opportunity to reach specific consumer audiences, and leveraging this unique targeting capability is becoming a key part of how luxury marketers are driving ROI through mobile,” he said.

Also, tools such as SMS and QR codes can be relevant as well, but it depends on what the brand is looking to achieve, per SapientNitro’s Mr. Hewitt.

“The most important component is to leverage the right tactic across the right touchpoint and environment and bridge that connection to the bigger designer and brand story,” Mr. Hewitt said.

Fashion marketers should approach mobile in a similar way to social media in their Fashion Week efforts, per Digital Brand Architects’ Ms. Bracken-Ferguson.

“Brands must use a holistic approach when it comes to digital marketing,” Ms. Bracken-Ferguson said.

"Obviously, mobile is one of the fastest-growing channels and to overlook it could be a huge miss for brands, but incorporating it must be done strategically so the experience feels organic to the consumer,” she said.

Final Take
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York