360° videos already mainstream among luxury brands

Luxury loves 360° videos…

360° videos technology has become easily accessible to brands a few months ago and we have already noticed multiple brand experiences offering a 360° mini-websites or videos. These efforts from brands to create an interactive and original experience is great but using 360° for the sake of 360° is not good enough for luxury brands. Why? Because that’s what all their competitors are doing.

Let’s just take the example of luxury fragrances: last Fall, Dior launched a 360° mini-website for its new men’s fragrance Sauvage, with a road-trip inspired journey to discover content around the perfume. this winter, Jean-Paul Gaultier created a 360° video called #BeTheBottle where viewers see a factory through the “eyes” of a perfume bottle, and they get to take a sneak peek at the brand’s fragrance characters.

The latest example would be Chanel and its 3 videos for its men’s Allure Homme Sport fragrance. The brand invites viewers to dive, slide and ride with the brand by watching men taking a dive in the sea, skateboarding on a mountain road, or horseback riding in the sea, and eventually seeing what they see in order to experiencing it themselves.

… but is missing the point

All the examples above are in line with their brand’s DNA and they deliver a rather original experience to consumers. But there is one thing that bothers me: they all seem a little off, either because they just support an existing campaign, or because they are not good enough for the status of the brand. By not good enough, I simply mean that 360° videos have not yet reached the standards of image quality that these brands have got us used to. And while brands offer a rather fun experience every time they create new interactive experiences, they should also contribute to improving the standards in new technologies to keep their edge on other brands. Because, as of now, it mostly looked as if they are only trying to stay at least at the same level as their competitors by using the same technologies.

What I would like to see is a brand like Louis Vuitton embracing its travel-brand positioning and extending its City Guides offer with 360° videos that bring life to their content and pushes the quality of their recommendations even further. Brands each have their distinctive identity and I’m sure they can find adequate ways to communicate on them while using new technologies and actually bringing great content that people want to consume and share.

Behind lipstick psychology: smart content for beauty brands

As an avid women’s media enthusiast, I usually enjoy the different forms of branded content they feature. Dior’s branded article in PureWow last October is no exception – the proof being I actually remember it! Let me explain why I believe their lipstick psychology approach was a smart move to promote the brand’s Dior Addict lipsticks.

Dior PureWow lipstick psychology

The lipstick psychology format is intriguing

The “tell me what you do, I’ll tell who you are” formats are nothing new in women’s media. Tell me what you eat, what movies you watch, what you wear, and I’ll tell you your main personality traits and share precious recommendations with you. You’ve all seen it in multiple articles and tests, whether on print or online. Yet, the format doesn’t seem to get old. We still read these articles and take these tests. Just look at Buzzfeed’s success, based on articles you’ll read and share with your friends. Millennials are digging those fun contents, and there’s an added bonus when the recommendation is actually something valuable – like lipstick shades that would match our personality.

The integration of product recommendations answers readers’ concerns

For each lipstick profile, Dior and PureWow recommend 2 to 4 shades that should match your style. With a simple click on a shade, you are redirected to Dior’s e-shop so that you can purchase the Dior Addict lipstick in your favorite shade. It’s clearly laid out on the PureWow page, easy to understand you have the product shade name and number under the color) and user-friendly.

The graphic and editorial outcome fits the PureWow style and the elegance of Dior

Using PureWow’s usual fonts and white background, as well as the media’s friendly tone, the article stays in touch with the audience’s expectations. Still, it perfectly fits within Dior’s range: the way shades are featured on pretty white cards reminds readers of the brand’s paper cards you would spray perfume on. The lipstick marks on the side of the page also remind viewers of the gesture they have when drawing a lipstick line on their hand to see how a shade looks on them. Everything is designed to look pretty and fresh, while reminding readers of a real in-store experience.

To sum up, brands can continue using the “tell me what you do, I’ll tell you who you are” format in media as long as they fit in with the audience expectations and keep it light and fun. Because the brand’s ultimate objective may be sales, but this is not the reason readers check this media.

Why apps are the future of luxury

You’ve heard it a thousand times: “apps are the future!”, “go mobile or go home”, “mobile first”. It’s true, and yet, a lot of brands are still ignoring it. Mobile usage is extending (both in time and in ways of usage), and luxury brands (among others) have started looking at mobile marketing as a new touchpoint with their customers.

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Mobile apps vs web apps

A mobile version of a website is not an app. It doesn’t serve the same purpose on the brand’s side (at least, it shouldn’t) and it doesn’t answer the same needs on the customer’s side.

Web apps” are accessible through a navigator. The customer types keywords on Google, let’s say, finds your web app, and checks it. It’s a punctual need (details about a product, quick online purchase, etc.). While they’re easy to access (no need to download the app), they don’t create any sense of loyalty and usually don’t attract returning visitors.

On the other hand, “mobile apps” are specifically designed to be an app, and usually have a different purpose than the website. They can serve m-commerce purposes but usually go beyond that. They tend to create loyalty thanks to new contents, and they enable brands to use push notifications. Also, the small icon on the phone’s homepage is a good reminder to return to the app.

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Mobile apps have their own purpose

Apps are not websites, so they shouldn’t merely be a mobile-optimized copy of those. Let’s look at some successful examples.

Hermès launched its Silk Knots app, as I mentioned in a previous article, to teach customers about different ways to knot scarves. Customers draw extra value out of the app: they learn something that is not limited to the brand since they can use the knotting techniques on any square scarf. The app simply improves the way they feel about the brand.

Dior launched the app Dior Mag. Dior Mag is actually something that exists on the brand’s website. The app delivers stories about the brand, interviews, news about the shows, etc. Dior invites customers to discover the story of the brand and to get to know the brand better. This is key to a stronger connection with the brand and to returning visitors.

Finally, Louis Vuitton tried to solve this awkward moment when a customer flips through a magazine, looks at the latest Louis Vuitton ad and wonders which bag is shown, what it’s made of, etc. On some ads, an icon reads “LV Pass” and the LV Pass app enables customers to scan the ad to get information about the products, making-ofs of the ad, etc. This app is an example of how a brand can extend the customer experience at home, starting with an ad that would be in magazines anyway.

Takeaways: what an app should do

  • Have a purpose of its own: it should have its own message
  • Be user-friendly
  • Embrace the brand’s DNA: an app should be an extension of the brand and its values
  • Link to other channels (website, social media, messaging apps, etc.)
  • Reinvent the brand: an app is an opportunity to post new contents regularly, explore new possibilities of experience, make the brand memorable. Luxury is associated with exclusivity and quality; customers can be provided with a little bit of luxury anywhere and anytime they want thanks to apps. Whether what it offers is unique, useful, fun, etc., differentiation will make a brand stand out.

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Cheers, and enjoy the weekend,

Constance