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Is Your Fashion Brand on Instagram?

With so many mobile applications and social networks available, it can often become a daunting task to decipher which platforms are best for your brand. Factoring in time, resources, and manpower, we have to carefully pick and choose where our brands can be socially participating to the fullest potential. It’s no surprise that Instagram has become the fastest growing mobile application recently. The easy to share functions, photo filters, and the strength of an intimate community makes Instagram an attractive social platform, where fashion brands can easily establish themselves as authorities.

Whether fashion or luxury brand, we must not forget that we are still content producers on our social networks. Instagram’s share functions allow users to snap a photo from their mobile device and add an attractive filter (to give photos that instant cool factor) with the ability to share on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Posterous and Foursquare. Fashion houses on Instagram, like Oscar de la Renta, have done a superb job at not only sharing behind the scenes photos, but also displaying them on their other social networks like Twitter and Tumblr. This gives audiences welcoming access into the brand with just the swipe of a button.

Much like the micro-blogging platform of Tumblr, the allure of Instagram is heavily based on the distributing of visuals. Fans of fashion are visual people that are constantly looking for that conspicuous stimulation to take them outside of their daily lives and into the fantasy of glamour and luxury. Instagram gives us the space to share the small, intimate moments in our routines in a new, creative way. Kate Spade invites audiences into their world with photos of favorite New York City sightings, venues and restaurants. Using Instagram’s geo-tagging function, by citing the location in which the photos are taken, Kate Spade automatically becomes a reputable source of things to do and see in NYC.

Does your brand have a new product or piece that is need of a strong spotlight? Instagram is the perfect space for your emerging goods to take center stage, catching those prospective consumers that want a piece of your brand. The team at Club Monaco has done a great job of this, by posting images of staff members wearing pieces that have just been released or have just gone on sale.

The built in community on Instagram has a strong sense of intimacy that isn’t afraid to engage with the photos that fashion brands are uploading. The higher the level of engagement, the more likes, comments, and follows your brand can receive. Not to mention, you are presented with direct, instantaneous feedback in a single stream, specific to that image. Audiences want to know where they can get the dress that Oscar PR Girl is wearing in her style photo.

As Instagram is still considered to be in its infancy, only being launched a few months ago, every fashion brand is taking their own approach to fascinate their consumer and fan base on the application. The strengths of Instagram are the filter, social, community, and geo-tag capabilities. Never has a mobile application been able to have such a wide range of functions that users want right now. You can be en route to a meeting, see something interesting on the street, capture it, filter it, share it and you’ve already added some depth to the identity of your brand. The creativity and intimacy of communal photos uploaded on Instagram captivates voyeuristic users and it can certainly captivate the audience of your fashion brand.

Taken by Club Monaco via Instagram

Taken by OscarPRGirl via Instagram

Taken by Kate Spade via Instagram

Lala Lopez is a fashion journalist, stylist and social media expert based in New York. Her clients have included Betsey Johnson, Steve Madden, Jeffrey Campbell, and Solestruck.com. She has been featured on CNN, Teen Vogue Magazine and Chictopia. Lala shares her views on fashion, art and social media trends on her blog Lala New York City. (www.lalanyc.com)

Author: Lala Lopez

Copy Editor: Gina Conforti

Photo Credits: Kate Spade

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Levi’s using Instagram As A Marketing Tool

Photo-sharing application Instagram saw its userbase grow to one million in only three months. The service enables people to share their finest moments by letting them take a picture, choose a Hipstamatic-like filter to transform the look and feel, and share it with a small text and/or its geo-location on numerous social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. Recently Instagram has drawn considerable interest from a number of brands. Levi’s Brazil is one of the first to roll out a marketing campaign using the service.

The fashion brand takes fully advantage of Instagram’s unique features to display new products that will be released in the forthcoming collection, as well as images that represent the brand’s personality. Users can start following ‘levisbrasil’ in order to stay updated about the latest stuff, all in a purely visual way. I think Instagram’s photo filters totally breathe the Levi’s style. For the moment the campaign generated limited results — only 127 people started following Levi’s Brazil. Nevertheless, many predict a big future for Instagram as a marketing platform. Interestingly, Giles Fitzgerald from London-based communication agency Frukt claims that the service opens up new social media marketing opportunities for visually oriented brands.

“For fashion brands word dominated social media platforms such as Twitter can be a barrier to the more tactile and lifestyle-oriented element of their brands. Instagram with its ability to turn humble photos into works of art manages to blur the lines between a humble snap and the kind of imagery that dominates the advertising billboards and print ads.”

 

Original Source:  Popupcity.net by JEROEN BEEKMANS

 

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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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Creating a Green Fashion Label

When consumers shop for groceries, they tend to review the nutrition label and ingredients list on the food package to obtain dietary information. This food label system helps people make an informed decision and lead healthier lifestyles. Shouldn’t consumers have resources for making similar choices when shopping for apparel products? According to the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act (TFPIA), all apparel products should have a label that includes: fiber content, country of origin, manufacturer identification, and care instructions.

 

However, the clothing label may not be informative enough to educate consumers regarding what processes were used to make the product and what environmental impacts those processes may have. One of the common myths consumers may believe regarding apparel products is that natural fiber products are more environmentally friendly than synthetic fiber products. Considering the fact that the textile and apparel industry is a major contributor to environmental degradation, it is important to provide more informative, easy-to-read labels for apparel products, responding to consumers’ growing concerns about environmental issues related to their consumable products.

From interviews with five apparel design personnel in two companies (although these opinions cannot represent all designers’ and merchandisers’ opinions), our research team found that they were aware of the environmental problems associated with dyeing and textile processing. However, interestingly, they did not regard themselves as responsible for correcting these problems.

They also indicated that the biggest determining factor for apparel designers and merchandisers when deciding where to obtain materials for production is the availability of materials from suppliers who have had a long–term relationship with the company. It seems that environmentally friendly materials were not their main concern. They added that if they were sure that their target consumers would be willing to purchase environmentally friendly products, they would practice sustainability. Without certainty, they did not want to take the risk because using green materials costs more. The industry personnel felt that there was nothing they could do as designers or merchandisers to address environmental issues, believing that environmentally friendly production was beyond their ability.

Do consumers agree with these opinions? To explore consumer opinions about green apparel products and purchasing behaviors, a serious of focus group discussions were conducted with 32 consumers. Although organic fibers and other green apparel options are already available in the market, participants demonstrated a lack of knowledge about these products. Interestingly, several respondents knew of organic clothing only in terms of simple items, such as T–shirts, while others did not even know that organic or green apparel was an available option.

In addition, the respondents agreed that if there were more information about green apparel products available, they would be more prone to buy them. They felt skeptical about current eco–claims because labeling of green apparel is voluntary and no general rules have been implemented for apparel product labeling. They added that current labels on green clothing did not offer an adequate amount of information to consumers. They were unsure of exactly what “environmentally friendly” meant and how the products they had seen were environmentally friendly. Additionally, most of the participants agreed that a well–established eco–label for apparel products would increase consumers’ knowledge of environmental impacts from apparel production and foster consumers’ green apparel purchasing behaviors.

Regarding willingness to buy green apparel products, they mentioned that they would be more likely to purchase green apparel products if they were cheaper and more readily available. Respondents indicated that they would not buy a less attractive environmentally friendly garment with the label attached to it over a more attractive conventional product. Therefore, before emphasizing green aspects, products should meet the quality expectations of consumers.

Based on these two investigations, the research team suggested that a labeling system could be used to reduce the information gap between producers and consumers. Green labels for textile and apparel products can facilitate choices for consumers making environmentally responsible purchasing decisions by motivating and/or educating them (D’Souza, et al., 2006).

As mentioned earlier, just as the nutritional facts and ingredients are listed on food packages, the apparel label can include customized information on how the content of a specific product and its production processes impact the environment. Our research team identified six sustainability aspects of apparel products as the key information that would be beneficial for consumers to know from the green apparel label: organic, biodegradable, safely dyed, fair trade, carbon footprint, and recycled. Creating eye–catching symbols accompanied by brief explanations for clarification, which convey the key aspects of sustainability within the apparel industry, will be necessary. This design will make the labels easy to read and serve as a convenient reference for consumers.

If the standardized and easy–to–read label is commonly used in the textile and apparel industry in the future, it will educate consumers about green products and their effects on our surrounding environment. By becoming more knowledgeable about green products, consumers will be able to make more informed purchases of environmentally responsible products. In addition, educated consumers will drive businesses to practice more sustainability. Adopting the easy–to–read, informative green label will help retailers promote their eco–friendly strategies. As people continue to show interest in green products through purchases, the availability of various green products will increase, resulting in growing diversity in the retailing industry.

This educational research brief is from the University of Delaware (Fiber Online Journal).
Creating a Green Label for Reducing the Gap

Authors:
Dr. Hae Jin Gam is an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Illinois State University. She was a fashion designer in South Korea until 2001. Her doctoral research was in the area of sustainable apparel design and production development and was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. Her current research interests include sustainability in the apparel and textile industry, apparel product development, consumers’ eco–friendly purchasing behavior, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Dr. Yoon Jin Ma is an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Illinois State University. Her research interests include social responsibility in apparel consumption, manufacturing, and retailing; consumer behavior; services marketing; and scale development. She received the Student Best Paper Award at the doctoral level from the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) in 2008, the Best Track Paper Award in the textile and apparel/international track from ITAA in 2009, and the Paper of Distinction Award in the consumer behavior track from ITAA in 2010

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Face-to-Face Networking

CONNECTING AT NETWORKING EVENTS

PREPARATIONS:

  • If possible, make one or two connections before the event and arrange to meet at the event.
  • Go to the event alone! Don’t hang out with friends or people you already know.
  • Set a goal before the event, for example, I will connect with six new people tonight. A goal should not be to see how many business cards you can collect.
  • Dress appropriately for the occasion.
  • Pick up a nametag. Put your career/job goal on your resume as well as your name.
  • Keep one hand free to allow yourself to shake hands with people without juggling drink, food, or other items.
  • Be prepared to offer help as well as receive. Be ready to tell others what you can do for them, and then follow up and do it.
  • Bring business cards and a pen in a pocket or easily accessible. You can create virtually free business cards from various internet sites. When you give someone your card, personalize it! for example, handwrite your cellphone number on it. write notes on the back of business cards you collect about the contact.

Making the Connection

  • Initiate a conversation with someone who is standing alone.
  • Have a few great conversation starters. Compliments work well! Have a one-liner to use when joining a group.
  • Don’t barge into a larger group. Ease in, make eye contact and gradually join the conversation.
  • When you introduce yourself, include what you do and why you are attending the event (what you are looking for). Be concise. Ask follow up questions about to information shared with you.
  • Be well-prepared to answer “What do you do?” with a concise, positive response. For example, respond that you are in transition and seeking a great new opportunity in the (your career) field.
  • During a conversation with a new contact, use the other person’s name two or three times. Ask them questions. Make good eye contact. Listen carefully to what they have to say.
  • Have a few good questions you could ask anyone in the room to jump-start a conversation that has gone dead.
  • Politely excuse yourself when leaving a conversation.
  • Know when to stop talking!

Follow Up

  • Send follow-up e-mails within 48 hours, preferably the day after the event.
  • Organize collected business cards. Add date and where you met the contact on each, along with notes about any special interests as an additional reason to keep in touch.

IMPROMPTU NETWORKING

You never know whom you’re going to run into on the bus, the train, at a party, or other unexpected setting. Suddenly you find yourself speaking to an expert in your desired career field, or the head of the most prestigious employer in industry.

How do you introduce yourself? What do you tell him/her about yourself? What kind of questions do you ask?

The best tactic is to be well-prepared in advance! Prepare and practice a short summary of who you are, what you would like to do in the future, and the type of help that you need to get you there:

I’ll be graduating from Loyola University Chicago this spring with my degree in English. I’d ultimately like to use my technical writing skills in trade magazines, particularly relating to the travel industry. I would really appreciate any advice you can give me. Would you consider setting up a short appointment for an informational interview to help me explore my career goals?


PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE & MEETINGS

Join a local professional association and volunteer to work at one of their conferences or meetings. Many associations have special student memberships.

VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES

Volunteer activities bring you in direct connection with people in your chosen career, particularly in the nonprofit industry.


Source: luc.edu

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Top 10 Networking Tips for Savvy Networkers


  • .  Be Prepared. Savvy Networkers always have their networking tools with them at all times.  The Networking tool kit includes: an ample supply of business cards, your name badge, any collateral material (flyers, brochures, etc), and your marketing message (often referred to as your elevator speech).

    .  Arrive early. Savvy Networkers arrive early and have their business cards readily available and can relax and focus on learning about the other people in the room.  As an early, Savvy Networker, you can pause to calmly gather your thoughts and your intentions so that your time spent networking will be of benefit to you and your goals.  Preparation goes a long way in making you appear to be someone that other people will want to get to know.  People do business with people they like.  And you will be judged by others, like it or not, based on their first impression of you.
  • .  Have a plan. Savvy Networkers always have an idea of what the goal is for each event they attend.  Know, before going in, what the outcome is that you want for yourself or for the people you meet at each event.  Do you want to meet 3 people and focus on getting to know them really well?  Are you looking for an introduction to a certain type of client?  Are you looking for information or connections that will get you that information?  When you have a plan, it is easier to stay focused and achieve your expected outcome.  It also helps you to keep on track to help others in achieving their goals when you remind yourself to be generous with your own knowledge and connections.  And, when you have a plan it is easier to stay on task as you meet with people.
  • Be a Giver and/or a Connector. When you focus on “giving” and being helpful to others, the “getting” will come later … and it will come in unexpected ways.  Foremost to remember, is that no one likes a person with a “taker” mentality.  When you are generous, people will notice and repsect you for your kind nature.  And, people generally do business with people that they respect, trust, and like.  Act like a host at every event you attend by connecting people.  This can be a simple act of intruducing 2 people to each other or as elaborate as giving a testimonial about 1 person and their services to the entire group.  All of these acts allow you to focus on the “other” and grows your social capital in the room.
  • Leave your troubles behind. Put on a happy face at the door and remind yourself that it is “show time”.  This is your time to sparkle and shine.  People will look forward to seeing you and meeting you if you are energetic, positive, and outgoing.  Again, people enjoy doing business with people that they like.  BE a person that others will like.  Hopefully you’ve heard the zen expression “Be the ball” … well, whenever you have the chance, “Be the ball of the ball!”  Do not burden or bore people with your troubles or your problems.  Everyone has enough of their own, and, trust me on this, they do not need or want to hear about yours.
  • Listen with focus. When someone is speaking with you, give that person your entire focus.  LISTEN.  Really hear what the person is saying.  Keep your eyes and ears focused and keep your self talk and thoughts focused too.  The greatest gift that you can give to another person is to truly hear what that person is saying.  You’ve seen this before and it bears repeating: you have 1 mouth and 2 ears for a reason.  Listen twice as much and talk 1/2 as much and everyone you treat this way will think you are a genius!
  • Be Genuine. Everyone knows when someone is “schmoozing” on or at them.  And, no one likes being “primed” for the pump.  Be genuine in your interactions with others at an event.  Again, it comes back to building trust,  to building “brand YOU”.  There is a huge difference between being INTERESTED and in trying to be INTERESTING.   When you are interested in learning about someone and their business entirely for the sake of learning about the other person, you will leave a lasting impression as someone who genuinely cares.  On the other hand, when you are interested only so that you can take what you learn and then use it to make yourself or your products interesting to this person … well, my friend, you have slipped into the category of “scorched earth networking” and it is not a good place to be.
  • Do Teach/Don’t Sell. The Savvy Networker knows that the immediate sale of a product is not the goal in networking.  Networking is about building relationships with people who will be happy to tell others about who you are and what you do.  Word of mouth advertising is the most cost effective and powerful advertising.   At every opportunity, teach others about who you are, as a person, and what it is that you do.  Always present a clear emphasis on the type of client that you are looking for.  In doing this, you will be building a salesforce that can reach far wider than you can on your own.
  • Follow up. After the event, send a thank you card to each person that you had direct contact with.  Mention something from your discussion in the thank you card (it helps if you jot notes on the back of each person’s business card that you collect).  If there is a referral that you can supply to someone you’ve just met, include that in the follow up note.  Showing up and following up are the two most important parts of networking.  Showing up, in most cases, is the easy part.  The follow up is, sadly, the most neglected part of networking.  Since so many people fail to follow up, you can really stand out by just doing this simple act of reaching out to remind someone of who you are and what you do … and that you are interested in exploring a relationship.
  • Follow up some more! Depending on where you look, marketing statistics state that it takes 7 to 12 impressions for a consumer to make a buying decision.  It also take somewhere between 5 to 12 impressions to become “top of mind”.  AND those are the OLD numbers.  Because of the overload of information that we are all faced with every day, the number of impressions is actually quite higher.  It is more likely to take 15 – 20 impressions before you make the connections that you are looking to build! Meeting face to face is the 1st impression.  An email, a phone call, another card, a lunch date … don’t stop after 1 or 2 impressions.  Keep going.  Savvy Networkers know that to build strong relationships they must dig deeper and make the continued effort to build ongoing relationships!

Source: Top10networkingtips.com

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