Experiential Marketing and Fashion
As we all know, Millennials are the generation that brands are trying to capture at the moment. With purchasing power around $200 Billion according to Forbes, the generation including 18 to 35 year olds is one that places a lot of emphasis on feeling like they are a part of the brands they subscribe to. In an environment where consumers have so many choices, it’s important for a fashion brand to differentiate itself not only in its designs, but also in the experience it provides.
A brand name in fashion is highly valuable. Some consumers are already ready to pay the premium in order to receive a product that they perceive as a luxury fashion item. However, there are still many brands within the luxury brand segment to choose from. The same problem arises for other segments in the fashion industry. While fashion brands are good at establishing themselves to a general segment, what steps can they still take in order to increase their market share in their targeted segment?
You guessed it: experiential marketing campaigns. Creating user experiences builds brand associations. These associations are then responsible for the base that becomes a healthy brand-consumer relationship that generates the most consumer lifetime value for these brands, which benefits both the brand (through higher retention rates and returning revenue) and the consumer (through satisfactory product and delivery). This dual value focus is extremely important to brands in the fashion industry.
In the higher end of the fashion market, designers take fashion to a new level and produce unique and often limited products. It’s important for consumers to positively associate a certain brand with quality over another because that consumer will then prefer that brand’s design to another’s.
In the middle and lower ends of the fashion market, some clothes are extremely similar and hard to differentiate. Where product differentiation isn’t a main factor in style and quality, the brand name acts as the differentiator that entices consumers to make a purchasing decision. If a brand has good consumer relationships, it will benefit when the consumer decides to be loyal and purchase this brand’s merchandise.
Since fashion is no longer just composed of runway shows and large press events, fashion brands have to start thinking outside of the box in order to reach a larger audience to market their products. While increasing their marketing efforts, they should consider maintaining (if not improving) consumer relationships through experiential marketing.
Pop-up shops have been around for a while, but fashion brands have been taking advantage of the temporary store set-up to reach new audiences and show consumers’ a good time. Pop-up stores are appealing because they are only around for a short period of time. Consumers see the pop-up shop being built, are curious when it opens, and want to make sure they tame their curiosity before the pop-up shop is gone.
These stores also allow brands to be a little more creative. Pop-up shops will often have a theme and a social activation component. Some brands will choose to bring in a unique experience involving food and fashion, while others will think of certain photo opportunities or extensions to the footprint outside of the pop-up shop.
Oftentimes companies decide to bring a little excitement through experiences in their own established retail locations. In-store events can include a variety of concepts including celebrity shoppers, consumer makeovers by professionals, and seasonal fashion shows.
Other brands find that neither current store nor pop-up shops work for them. Instead they opt to go completely mobile and create their own bus boutique. One brand in Dubai, Kenzo, decided to go with this option and ended up receiving very positive feedback. The brand offered a luxury boutique on the go for consumers to get advice wherever they were.
Other brands prefer a more subtle touch. Instead of sponsoring any of the options above, they will open gourmet cafés and pastry shops that are sponsored by the fashion brand. Instead of being directly involved in fashion, the consumers who visit these footprints will gain a different insight on the overall atmosphere that the brand is trying to attach to its brand. Nonetheless it allows the consumer to associate the brand with a positive experience.
This frenzy for positive experiences is a new trend, but it’s one worth looking at for the fashion industry, given that it’s a trend-setting industry that relies on other trends to grow.