Tag Archives: Smart Phone Applications

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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Gucci’s Digital Flagship: Crafting an Intensively Attentive Online Environment

On the eve of Gucci’s 90th anniversary as a luxury retailer, the firm’s CEO, Patrizio di Marco, describes why digital innovation is more than just a matter of relevance and modernity.

2681_patriziodimarco_mediumBesides being one of the most active luxury brands in the social media space – with nearly 3.2 million Facebook fans and a host of online initiatives including the live streaming of its catwalk shows and smart phone applications – Gucci is also the first luxury brand to launch a digital flagship.

“Gucci was in fact a pioneer when it launched its US e-commerce site in 2002 and we [still] believe that new media and new technologies represent a valuable complementary communication and business channel.”

“ The digital flagship is destined to become our highest volume store in the world ”

According to Di Marco, Gucci’s new online retail destination takes advantage of the most innovative technologies available today, integrating rich content, shopping and social networking to provide the site’s monthly 2.5 million unique visitors with an aesthetic and customer-oriented experience that replicates the one customers have when immersed in one of the brand’s signature flagships stores in Rome, New York, London or Shanghai.

From a strategic perspective, Gucci’s recent aggressive foray into digital media channels is a concerted effort to drive the digital flagship to outperform all brick-and-mortar store sales.

“The digital flagship is destined to become our highest volume store in the world, and should be the final destination for any search on the net: whether you are seeking out Gucci through a search engine, or are one of our 3.2 million Facebook fans, or are one of the over 840,000 people who have downloaded our Gucci App or are one of our 32,000 Twitter followers.”

While traditional luxury marketing focused on the protected environment of exclusive networks and publications, Gucci has been at the forefront of the movement which challenges the status quo by utilizing the web to expose the brand. In September of 2010, for instance, the brand invited its fans to virtually join the womenswear fashion show and even showcased the commentary and digital content of fans on a global site alongside the show’s live stream.

“One of the reasons Gucci has been successful in reaching new customers is because of the attention we have paid to the internet… The current site operates in 17 countries in 8 different languages, while e-commerce is offered in 12 countries with over 2000 skus available online.”

The brand has also integrated social media into the heart of the online shopping experience. A live Twitter feed, an interface with the Gucci official Facebook fan page and product page link to ready-to-wear items straight off the catwalk, allows visitors to truly engage with the brand.

Di Marco, together with Frida Giannini, Gucci’s creative director, have championed social networks as an integral part of the new site, suggesting they are a natural extension of the fashion shopping experience in the real world which is often shared and enjoyed with friends as well.

With such an active role in digital media, Gucci is not only using these channels as a very direct and content-rich form of outreach to tap into a broader audience but also to uncover metrics and insight on the site’s visitors in order to become a more attentive luxury brand – something which is difficult to do with customers entering brick-and-mortar stores.

“[Digital] is allowing us to develop more personal and constant relationships with current and prospective consumers. We are also able to understand the desires and attitudes of our customers more quickly and easily through the information that is available to us, which is helping us to be more responsive. Ultimately, our aim is to offer the same values and experience to an online customer or visitor as we do in our stores.”

Source: Luxurysociety.com

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