In Web 2.0, the people have the power.
For fashion PR, this poses a challenge. Fashion-conscious consumers the world wide are often very vocal about their good and bad experiences with certain brands, leaving the brand’s identity open to attack and manipulation.
Perhaps this is particularly so with “luxury” fashion brands such as Vogue.
In a recent interview with Encore Magazine, Kirstie Clements spoke on this in regards to her time as editor at Vogue. Interestingly, she makes the point that Vogue, as a luxury fashion brand, needs to set the agenda on fashion.
It may seem that this idea of ‘setting the agenda’ is rather outdated. However, for luxury brands it is this strong, authoritative voice that makes them so coveted and powerful.
Many of the posts on Vogue’s Facebook page are about ‘what to wear’, or ‘the season’s new looks’. There is minimal room for negative feedback as Vogue is often directing conversation a certain way. The page’s 3,000,000+ followers speaks for itself. People love and respect Vogue.
Luxury fashion brands, while possibly preferring and suiting the more traditional one-way communication media framework, must also recognise that social media is here to stay, and they must take part in the discussion. Dana Gers notes in an article on Forbes, that:
Brand makers that don’t create their own conversation with their most passionate customers through social networks risk having a passionate consumer create that presence instead. Facebook and Twitter are cluttered with brand sites that weren’t created and aren’t maintained by marketers.
Without a structured response and position in social media, brands risk losing their identities, or having them warped by the power of the public.
This highlights that while the people may have the power, this does not give fashion brands the option of relinquishing this power. They must find a way to use it to their advantage.