How series are impacting luxury ads

Some say brand content is doomed to disappear, others say it just needs to be reinvented. I think it is still very alive and adopting the codes of popular contents among millenials. The latest example that caught my attention is Kate Spade New York’s latest campaign called #Missadventure season 2, which was launched on March 28th.

The East Coast preppy fashion brand is making a statement with a series of videos targeted to young women, featuring millenials’ insights (relying on apps for everything, anyone?), social media codes, and a focus on TV-like entertainment – notably with the participation TV shows actresses (Girl‘s Zosia Mamet and 2 Broke Girls‘s Kat Dennings).

As a series enthusiast, I can only appreciate the initiative from the brand. While the first season of the #Missadventure campaign, staring actress Anna Kendrick, was clearly a way to showcase Kate Spade products in funny and relatable situations for young women (with the possibility to click on items during the video and see all related information after the video credentials), this second season is starting off with a more constructed scenario, if I dare say so. The first episode is slightly longer than in the previous season (4 minutes for this one, compared to 2:30 to 3:45 minutes for the previous ones), and the brand copied some codes from TV shows with a teaser and videos focusing on each of the main characters. Contents were shared on the brand’s social media channels with catchy posts inspired by TV shows teasing campaigns (see example below).

Not only are the videos and teasing campaign greatly executed, they also leverage relatable insights for millenial women while sharing the luxurious, preppy and feminine identity of the Kate Spade brand. I definitely will watch the next videos, not only to satisfy my marketer’s curiosity, but also to find out the rest of the characters’ adventures. I guess Kate Spade’s campaign worked on me!

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).

Chanel Coco quiz: find your lipstick shade with a click

Coco Quiz on Chanel's website

Coco quiz on Chanel’s website

Quizzes are great to get consumers engaged. Buzzfeed attracts thousands of visitors with numerous quizz articles, but also lists and catchy posts. These tools can also do wonders in luxury.

It can be hard to make luxury and digital meet without denying some of their respective principles. Yet, brands leverage social media for CRM, and their website for e-commerce. From time to time, they launch a new feature on their website, or a digital campaign to spice things up.

With the launch of Chanel’s Spring make-up collection, Chanel plays the personalization card: last week, the brand set an online quizz to find the right shade of the Rouge Coco for each consumer. After answering 6 questions, visitors are shown a shade, accompanied by a short description explaining the inspiration for the shade. The inspiration is actually linked to a character from Gabrielle Chanel’s life, thereby reinforcing the storytelling around the brand. Each name of lipstick shade is the name or nickname of someone who mattered in the brand Chanel’s development, because they mattered to Gabrielle.

As usual, the brand shared the quiz on its social media accounts to ensure traffic to the e-commerce platform where the quiz is hosted.

So borrowing codes from women’s magazines and popular websites can guarantee success with digital consumers looking for entertainment, added value and storytelling combined. I know I enjoyed taking the quizz. And taking it again. And again!

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