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Fashion Brand Identity in Web 2.0

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It may seem that this idea of ‘setting the agenda’ is rather outdated.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.

How fitting - the cover story "The Future is Now"

How fitting – the cover story “The Future is Now”

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.

7 thoughts on “Fashion Brand Identity in Web 2.0

  1. Hey Stephanie,

    You covered a really interesting issue here in terms of how brands and magazines are responding to the challenges that Web 2.0 has created. Challenge or opportunities, depending on how you look at it. I agree with you that the people have much more power now. In opinion and in voice… but not necessarily influence.

    Do you think though that having 3,000,000+ followers on social media equates to quality engagement with audience? Or does it take more than that for a brand, even as successful as Vogue to claim they have good audience reception?

  2. I think it’s really accurate how you picked up on the fact that most luxury fashion labels are still not engaging with social media the way they should, instead opting for one-way communication.

    It will be interesting to see how high-end brands will soon have to conform to society the way their “lower-end” competitors do.

    Great job!

  3. The point you make about the value of two way communication for high-end fashion brands is interesting. I think this is due to the fact they often have very specific audiences, particularly ‘Vogue’. But I think you’re right when you say these high end brands have to adapt to the new means of communication through social media. Do you think this means adding additional staff to manage these kinds of sites? Increasing their online discussion on facebook and twitter? Perhaps even integrating the print magazine with these platforms more successfully? For example ‘Vogue’ articles could be posted online and shared through social media and readers could post their opinions in this form. This may direct the audiences communication and in a more Web 2.0 friendly way remain true to their somewhat structured approach to communication.

  4. Pingback: Responding to Smart Consumers | Integrated Media

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