Tag Archives: Content

How Brands are using Instagram to Connect with Consumers

A picture is worth a thousand words, which may explain why Instagram has become the latest social network to catch the attention of brands. With over 1 million registered users, this photo sharing app provides a unique touch point for brands to engage their consumers while telling their story through pictures.

For those who are unfamiliar, Instagram is an easy to use iPhone application for taking, editing and sharing photos. As a user you have the ability to follow, comment and like other pictures. All these interactions make Instagram an ideal outlet for brands who are looking to explore new ways to reach their consumers. Already, nearly a dozen brands have created their own accounts, including MTV, Pepsi and even Playboy.

Instagram has been only too happy to accommodate this new interest from brands, and they have hinted that they’re currently working on changes which will allow brands to communicate more directly with users. One such change, which was rolled out last month is the launch of hash tags.

Hash tags can now be added to pictures via the caption or comment field. These tags help to aggregate pictures into their own special albums. This allows users to view a real time feed of content, based around a particular topic (similar to how hash tags work within Twitter). To view pictures associated with a hash tag tap on the tag text or use the new search functionality located under the profile tab. For those without a smart phone, pictures can be viewed via RSS feeds: http://instagr.am/tags/%5Bhashtag%5D/feed/recent.rss. Simply replace “hashtag” with the name of the tag.

Brands have been quick to take advantage of this new development. Brisk Ice Tea is using the hash tag #briskpics to collect photos, the best of which they will use to create 4000 limited edition cans. Charity: Water are asking people to use the tag #chatirywater to share images of water in their everyday life, while NPR is collecting user generated content using the tags #love and #hate to spark conversation.

So how can your brand use Instagram to reach consumers? Here are a few ideas to get you going:

1. Host a contest. Provide followers with a challenge to take a picture of something related to your brand. Alternatively you could provide the picture and ask viewers to come up with a unique caption. Best picture/caption wins.

2. Give a sneak peak. Whether it’s the first look at a new product or a few snaps behind the scenes, treat your followers to some exclusive content.

3. Create a real time album for an event. Allow attendees to share their event experiences by using a hash tag to aggregate pictures. This will provide you with a variety of content.

4. Connect with influencers. Check to see if your brand is already being talked about. Not only could this give you a hint as to the kinds of content consumers would like to see, but hash tags provide an easy way to track the people who are already connecting with your brand.

5. Show off a different side. Curate images that represent your brand personality. Connect with consumers by creating content around your shared passions rather than just your products.

Are you using Instagram for your brand? Have any other tips or best practices? Tell us below!

Original Source: Antleragency.com by Beth Tucker

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Fashion Research Institute Collaborates with Intel Labs to Bring Premium Digital Content to Science Sim

“Content is King” has long been the mantra of the gurus of the Internet.  And now, Fashion Research Institute has teamed up with Intel Labs to provide users with a myriad of choices in premium digital content to help give those users a solid start to their Science Sim efforts.

Fashion Research Institute has been collaborating with Intel Labs since 2009, helping to push the limits of content development.

“Compelling content will drive the growth of virtual world grids; performance is essential to sustain that growth. But compelling content must be there first for the platform to host the business models to follow, including ours,” says FRI CEO Shenlei Winkler. “In particular, our research, which is supported by studying more than 65,000 new users to virtual worlds, shows that premium avatar customization content in particular aids in user uptake and deeper immersion to the platform”

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FRI provided Science Sim with six full avatars in various skin tones for male and females with multiple facial hair and makeup options, as well as a range of clothing, jewelry, shoes, and hairstyles. Additionally, FRI has provided landscaping, texture packs and buildings of various sorts.

“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to collaborate with Intel Labs to bring over 800 items of inventory to the Science Sim project,” says Winkler.

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Along with recent performance enhancements, we are laying a foundation for further exploration of new problem solving methodologies. Fashion Research Institute is collaborating in this effort through their recent content contribution,” says Dr. Mic Bowman, Principal Engineer, Intel Labs.

Teach Parallel, the Intel Software Network TV, recently interviwed Dr. Mic Bowman, the principal engineer in Intel Labs, who leads the Virtual World Infrastructure research project, in which he discusses advances in Science Sim and the FRI content contribution. http://blip.tv/play/g5FLgoSJXgA%2Em4v

 

About Fashion Research Institute, Inc.: FRI is at the forefront of developing innovative design & merchandising solutions for the apparel industry.  They research and develop products and systems for the fashion industry that sweepingly address wasteful business and production practices. All items included in the Science Sim content library are covered by a license.  The class of the content determines the exact license. Scripts are covered by BSD, GPL, Creative Commons, and Public Domain licenses. All other content contributed is covered by Fashion Research Institute’s content license.

Science Sim is part of an evolution toward online 3D experiences that look, act and feel real. Sometimes dubbed the “3D internet,” Intel Labs refers to this technology trend as immersive connected experiences, or ICE. ScienceSim is differentiated from most virtual world environments
by its open source architecture. ScienceSim leverages open source building blocks (installation utilities, management tools, client viewers, etc.) based on OpenSimulator (OpenSim) software.

(Image courtesy Fashion Research Institute, Inc.)

Source: Hypergridbusiness.com

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Fashion 2.0: Magazines Capitalise on Shopable Content

Jennifer Aniston by Steven Klein | Source: W MagazineJennifer Aniston by Steven Klein | Source: W Magazine

In recent seasons, fashion brands have learnt to think like publishers, creating original digital content to earn attention and attract fans who will carry their message across the internet. But the reverse is also true: squeezed by shrinking advertising budgets, traditional content creators like magazines are learning to think like retailers, embracing e-commerce to open new revenue streams and monetise their content.

Click here to find out more!“Publishers are the number one generators of purchasing intent for brands every day, but are being allocated an ever shrinking amount of ad dollars,” said Philippe von Borries, co-founder and publisher of popular fashion website Refinery29.com.

Indeed, “intent generators” like magazines are losing their fair share of sales revenue to “intent harvesters” like shopping sites at the end of the purchasing process, observes internet entrepreneur Chris Dixon in an insightful blog post entitled “A Massive Misallocation of Online Advertising Dollars.”

Mr. Dixon suggests that better techniques for tracking how publishers generate purchase intent could lead to a more favorable allocation of advertising dollars, allowing content sites to focus purely on producing content. But many magazines are hedging their bets, becoming both “intent generators” and “intent harvesters” by launching their own online shops and integrating them into their editorial platforms.

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SHOPPING CHANNELS

Time Inc’s key fashion title InStyle first launched InStyle Shopping back in 2007, letting consumers browse and buy an edited array of products from retailers like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Bergdorf Goodman, and earning the magazine a share of the sales revenue. According to Simeen Mohsen, InStyle’s director of digital business operations, InStyle Shopping has “moved more than $10 million in product since launch.”

While InStyle declined to quantify exactly what this number means in terms of revenue for the magazine, other online publications and blogs earn 8 to 12 percent on clicks that lead to successful sales via affiliate programmes. Even if InStyle only earned about half as much  — say 5 percent — this would translate to $500 thousand in revenue since 2007.

The Business of Fashion

But ShopStyle, the social shopping engine that has powered InStyle Shopping since launch, states on their website: “The rate you are paid per click depends on a number of factors, including how often clicks result in sales for the retailer, the amount of each sale, and whether those products are returned for a refund. As a result, the rate you are paid can vary over time.”

Building on the success of InStyle Shopping, Time Inc. recently made a strategic move to deepen the integration of e-commerce across InStyle.com. In January, the publisher acquired StyleFeeder, a personal shopping engine that uses pattern recognition technology to make product recommendations. StyleFeeder is expected to be woven throughout InStyle’s website and replace the current partnership with ShopStyle. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Fran Hauser, head of digital strategy for the group that manages InStyle, explained: “Our editors are generating significant consumer demand for products in the retail market. And what StyleFeeder allows us to do is share in that value creation.”

Vogue iPad App Contents Vogue Brings Out Its First iPad App

InStyle isn’t the only magazine that’s been integrating e-commerce into its offering. Last November, Condé Nast’s Lucky magazine added online shopping to its editorial platform, bringing intent generation and intent harvesting together in one destination. “We felt strongly that we wanted to weave the eboutique into Luckymag.com rather than create a separate ecommerce site,” said Mary Gail Pezzimenti, Lucky magazine’s web director. “We believe that women want to shop alongside great fashion how-to advice, styling videos, fashion news and galleries of great outfits or hairstyles.”

Independent fashion titles have also been experimenting with e-commerce. Last Autumn, AnOther Magazine launched AnOther Shop, an online boutique with specially commissioned merchandise, from artworks by Jake and Dinos Chapman to laptop cases by Gareth Pugh. Then, a couple of months later, AnOther Magazine launched AnOther Loves, a product recommendation engine that sits alongside, but separate from AnOther Shop. It’s a bit like a collective blog, with product picks crowdsourced from a carefully selected list of contributors. “We wanted to turn this collection of desirable goods into a collaborative stream, and with a little semantics have realised this could be very useful for recommendations,” said Alistair Allan, digital director at Dazed Group which publishes AnOther.

CURATED COMMERCE

Magazine brands are also positioning themselves to generate and harvest purchase intent beyond their websites. During London Fashion Week in February, AnOther Loves teamed up with London department store Liberty on an initiative called AnOther Loves Liberty, a curated selection of Liberty products that appeared on AnOther Loves, as well as on Liberty’s website and at their Tudor-style flagship.

Partnerships with sample sale sites have also been popular. Lucky has teamed up with Net-a-Porter’s online outlet, theOutnet.com, to host flash sales curated by Lucky editors, Hachette Filipacchi’s Elle magazine has a deal with Rue La La and Vogue is partnering with Gilt Groupe to let consumers shop select products from the current issue.

SHOPABLE ADVERTISING

A few weeks ago, Vogue also launched an iPhone app designed to make the magazine’s advertising shopable. Called Vogue Stylist, the app is loaded with styling advice and monthly trends supplied by Vogue editors, alongside products advertised in the magazine, which consumers can browse, mix and match with items uploaded from their own closet, and ultimately click to buy. “Vogue Stylist pairs a user’s wardrobe with products from Vogue advertisers to produce a look that is both chic and new,” said Holly Tedesco, integrated marketing director at Vogue. Using the camera built into the iPhone, the app even allows readers to scan and shop physical ad pages in Vogue’s print issue.

FULL INTEGRATION

But some magazines are going beyond branded shopping channels, curated e-commerce partnerships and shopable advertising. They are integrating e-commerce directly into their center-of-book editorial. This month, W magazine launched a shopping guide alongside images of covergirl Jennifer Aniston, with numbered bullets — and links to external shopping sites — that correspond to the clothing Ms. Aniston wears. Indeed, the integrated shopping guides appear in all of W’s fashion spreads for April.

If this kind of deep integration of commerce and core editorial content appears to pose an inherent conflict of interest, it’s worth remembering that at fashion magazines, these lines have long been blurred. Across the industry, the products featured in editorial are often a function of a magazine’s advertisers.

Furthermore, in the real lives of fashion consumers, magazines and shopping are already integrated. People have used magazines as inspirational product guides since their very inception, a behaviour that’s even easier now that editorial sites and online shops are just a click or tab away from each other. So why shouldn’t publishers offer shopping services that streamline the process for consumers and capture a share of the sales revenue that’s rightfully theirs?

That’s not to say that an independent stylistic point of view is not important. It’s tremendously important. It’s what attracts readers in the first place. Going forward, the most successful magazines will be those who are able to maintain their unique point of view, while capitalising on content that’s shopable. A contradiction? Not necessarily. A challenge? Definitely.

“Over the next few months we will be launching several new commerce products,” said von Borries of Refinery29. “We firmly believe that commerce should be an integral element of a digital content site that features new fashion products, trends and designers every hour. Commerce and community also belong together. Whoever does not embrace the two will lose out in the long run.”

Indeed, people love to shop, but even more than that, they love to shop together. While forward-thinking youth apparel brands like Vans have experimented with realtime social shopping, letting users share the experience of customising shoes, we’ve yet to see a content site that lets readers explore and shop fashion together, in realtime.

Source: Businessoffashion.com by Vikram Alexei Kansara is Managing Editor of The Business of Fashion

 

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