Your guide to doing the Festival de Cannes right

The Festival de Cannes 2016 ended a few days ago and, just like every year, celebrities proudly posed in their designers’ outfits on the red carpet. Brands, just as they do every year, happily shared photos of celebrities wearing their latest designs across their social media channels.

Some brands, however, decided to shake things up. Surprisingly, the two brands I have in mind went for a similar message: a guide to experiencing the Festival de Cannes the best way.

Dolce&Gabbana’s guide to making the most of the Cannes Film Festival

Dolce & Gabbana took advantage of the famous movie festival to launch a social media campaign centered on the event. The brand share pictures (of models only) at Cannes, doing things celebs do at Cannes, and wearing the brand’s designs. The twist of the campaign was in the posts’ descriptions.

Dolce & Gabbana clearly positioned its campaign as a “guide to making the most of the Cannes Film Festival” and shared 16 rules. Rules ranged from “dress to impress“, to “surround yourself with stylish friends“, “never blend in with the crowds” or “take an ice-cream break“. This touch of humor, paired with the too-perfect-to-be-true scenes pictured, made for an entertaining campaign that spread over 4 days on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Too bad it didn’t the brand long to go back to sharing photos of celebs wearing its creations again, slightly ruining the efforts of the campaign to position the brand as a self-deprecating one.

#whathappensinCannes (stays in Cannes!) with Elie Saab

Elie Saab, on the other hand, mixed celebrities photocalls with fun and self-deprecating content, ranging from gifs of a suitcase being filled, to pictures featuring a key piece form the brand’s collection and a second degree caption.

For example, the brand shared a gif of woman scrolling through her Instagram feed, with the caption “Half way through, time for a recap”.

Mixing fun, on-point insights of young women with high fashion content, the brand successfully twisted the traditional Cannes communication. All contents of the campaign are gathered on the brand’s site.

Half way through, time for a recap. See #WhatHappensInCannes on #TheLightOfNow | Link in Bio #Cannes2016

A post shared by ELIE SAAB (@eliesaabworld) on

 

These two initiatives brought a refreshing touch to the way brands approach major red carpet events, and it follows the trend of campaigns focusing on humor and millenials’ insights that we have seen among luxury brands in the past few months. It seems luxury brands are finding their voice one after the other, and they seem to have chosen a young, friendly and social media savvy voice.

From inspiration to purchase: how to speed up the process

Social media now play a major part in purchase inspiration, especially when it comes to fashion, beauty and travel. It is no surprise that influencer marketing is gaining more and more importance for brands in these industries. Yet, social media, which are these influencers’ main communication platforms, do not systematically offer a convenient support for promotional posts. While Facebook and Pinterest allow for visual posts and URL integration in the caption, making a great support to promote a branded message and direct viewers to a brand’s website, Instagram and Snapchat chose the opposite way. For now.

Solutions started to appear, to create a smother experience for avid followers who just want to purchase an influencers’ bag, or visit the exact same place. One of these solutions is called LikeToKnow.it and it’s a sort of extension to your Instagram. You simply need to register on their website and then like posts featuring a @liketoknow.it mention from your favorite influencers. Then, automatically, you receive a summary of your favorite posts and the shopping list associated to it, with clickable links, directly in your inbox. How’s that for a service?

An interesting example of application is from Starwood Hotels. The hotel group experimented with this feature by working with a selection of influencers to promote two hotels in Paris. Influencers simply had to post pictures of their stay there, with the right mention in the caption, and Instagrammers who liked their posts (and be registered prior to LikeToKnow.it) received an e-mail inviting them to book their stay at the same hotel in a click.

This seamless transition from getting your travel inspiration from your favorite influencers, to making the purchase decision on your phone, really eases up the purchasing process. It saves you time and effort, if you’re not the kind of traveler who wants to check multiple options and compare them in detail. It will be interesting to see other industries dive into this kind of customer experience experimentations and see which consumers are more likely to make a purchase following this path.

Spontaneous and fleeting storytelling with Snapchat

Making us dream is part of luxury brands’ DNA. Their ads are conceived to trigger aspirations or emotions, and you end up endlessly idealizing the brand. These brands mostly leveraged traditional ads for a long time: print ads, billboards, TV spots… Then came the digital age and ads were popping on your favorite websites, especially as targeting techniques became more and more efficient. Social media were then yet another tool to promote brands’ messages.

Today, we are super-connected – so connected that it’s nearly as if we had a sort of digital “transplant” to our hand. Smartphones are kings. Obviously, pop-up ads are extremely annoying and having a 15-second spot of my favorite luxury brand wouldn’t make me happy when I’m opening an app. Social media help, as brands can post there – and Instagram is helping them push visual contents where customers are expecting – and enjoying – them. Still, non-spontaneous visuals are not enough to make a digital-savvy customer excited about a brand for long.

Valentino snapchat during the Paris Fashion Week preperation

Valentino snapchat during the Paris Fashion Week preperation

Communication apps are multiplying and new features come up. Brands are more and more welcome by apps to reach customers on their messaging channels. Line did it, and Snapchat, too. The big difference with Snapchat – as I’m guessing you know – is that contents are taken spontaneously (you can’t really edit them) and are fleeting (they usually last 10 seconds). Given these constraints, some luxury brands have decided to make the most out of the app and share some behind-the-scenes moments with their customers, as well as creating an exclusive customer experience on their smartphones. Valentino and Michael Kors did so during the fashion weeks. Snapchats are therefore a great way to share some extracts of a fashion brand’s preparation for a show. It’s applicable to any luxury industry I believe, as long as brands have a story to tell.

The main point I believe makes Snapchat such a great channel is that it’s usually a channel to connect with friends, and not many luxury brands use it. It’s probably one of the most appropriate tools at the moment to engage with customers as would a real person. It’s most effective when brands are targeting millenials, among which Snapchat has the highest penetration, and it allows brands to use a language they might not overtly use on more serious social media posts (e.g. using emojis millenials enjoy).

Celebrities everywhere: why models and brands post the same things

Every time I check my Instagram feed, I feel like I’m following celebrities rather than brands. I guess Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are helping me stay up-to-date with the who’s who of luxury. The fact that brands would give so much weight to models and other famous people on their social media channels made me wonder if it would be so much different to follow celebrities instead of brands. So I tried.

The main difference I felt is that celebrities share their daily life, which is punctuated by partnerships with brands – while brands promote products on their own or items worn by an A-lister.

This little experiment means I now have to scroll through much more content to get to what I’m looking for: the success of posts that include brands. Because some celebrities, including top models, have a lot more followers and fans than brands, their posts are usually far more successful (I’m defining success by the usual likes, retweets, regrams, comments, etc.) than those of brands. This explains why you may see (almost) the same picture on different accounts, and even more so if you’re following brands and celebrities on multiple channels.

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Remember I was saying top models have more followers than brands? Well, not exactly. Some do, others don’t. It really depends on the popularity of both brands and celebrities. If you take Instagram, Michael Kors has more than 3 million followers, Sonia Rykiel has nearly 60 million and Isabel Marant 400 thousand. Karlie Kloss has more than 2 million followers while Georgia May Jagger has about 600 thousand. What seems to be true, however, is the fact the fans engage more with stars than with brands. A picture from Karlie Kloss during the New York Fashion Week (click on the picture above), and a very similar one from Michael Kors (click on the picture below) got different results: the model got a stronger engagement with more likes than the brand, while Karlie Kloss has less followers.

This, of course, explains why duplications often happen and ensure brands and celebrities maximum visibility while it helps them to create a community of fans that feels connected to the brand (or celebrity). It’s also a good thing to know so that you don’t lose your mind when you get this feeling of déja-vu!

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