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- 1 Dec 2010
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Social Media Requires a Bespoke Approach


Timothy Schepis, fashion consultant and founder of Tokyo Fashion Daily, discusses the relevance of social media campaigns in luxury branding. He cites Burberry’s Art of the Trench and Coach’s Poppy campaigns as some of the social success stories, but fails to resonate with Fingerskate by Hermès.

Is your luxury brand on Facebook or Twitter? Do you have a digital flagship that allows you to post questions to the designer? Are you streaming your collection shows live on the web? Do you have an iPod/iPad application that allows users to upload photos and music? And finally do you have a hit viral video with a finger skateboard? If your answers to these questions are yes than congratulations your brand has now entered the digital media age. Not sure what that means? Don’t worry most luxury brands don’t but that’s not stopping them.

Social Media is supposed to be an extension of a brand, an integral part of the overall media campaign including press and advertising, not a stand-alone one-off try. If a strategy is not going to fit into a brand’s overall strategy nor reflect a brand’s image than what is really being accomplished? Would you rather be known as a brand that really gets it and integrates social media across their full marketing strategy like Burberry with “Art of the Trench” or would you like to be known as the leather- craftsmanship brand that uses a finger skateboard to generate hits on a viral video? Which do you think ties-in best with the brands image and will have a lasting positive effect on brand perception?

 Social Media is not a one-size fits all marketing strategy. It won’t work for every luxury brand and what does work for some luxury brands may not work for others. 

Which social media is best for your luxury brand? To answer that each luxury brand needs to understand where their brand came from, where it is going, and as in any marketing campaign understanding the best media to get their message across. Social Media is not a one-size fits all marketing strategy. It won’t work for every luxury brand and what does work for some luxury brands may not work for others. When using social media luxury brands need consider what message they want to convey and how it will integrate in their overall strategy. If a brand is not going to use a message in their print strategy then why make it a one-off stand-alone campaign that does nothing to further the brands image or message and actually may detract from the brand and make people take it less seriously.

For as long as I can remember luxury brands have centered their marketing messages on aspiring to a luxury lifestyle. Working in collaboration with print magazines and even their own web sites, they have been able to convey this message – this has been one of the strengths of luxury brands – why change it now? As more magazines are entering the digital age and launching iPad applications there is a new opportunity to convey the same message across new media as well as using other social media to reinforce this message and get users to interact with luxury brands in a way that will enhance a brand’s image not dilute it. There are many different social and digital media that can be used together or on their own as long as there are integrated into an overall marketing campaign.

Earlier in this article I cited Burberry and their “Art of the Trench” campaign as a strong example of relevant social media, and another excellent example is Coach and their Poppy campaign in which they not only used a minisite but also used relevant blogs across the blogosphere to convey their message and to also get users to interact and take part in the campaign. Besides Burberry and Coach there have been many excellent campaigns, though sadly along with the brand relevant campaigns there have also been some irrelevant ones. Just because one luxury brand is using a viral video of a skateboard to gain hits on the web, does not mean your brand should do it to.


Tokyo Fashion Daily is a blog-style news source, reporting daily on Japan`s competitive and complex fashion retail industry. The site features store openings, insider news, planned expansion, financial results and reports on Japanese brands overseas.