Monday, June 27, 2011

The Allure of Social Media in the Luxury Marketplace

We’ve discussed before how massive the digital movement is, and with so many mediums to communicate a message it’s no wonder that the luxury market has “struck it rich” in social media. How can you “strike it rich” too? Look no farther than some of the largest and most influential businesses in the fashion industry--Bergdorf Goodman Department Store, Breitling, Bvlgari, Diane von Furstenberg, Dolce & Gabanna, Ermenegildo Zegna, and Marc Jacobs.

By zoning in and breaking down the approaches of each of these brands, we can explore what is setting each apart from their competition. From there, we can adapt these strategies to fit your business model. But before we start analyzing, remember: social media is not learned overnight. With a few changes and adjustments to your current social media programs, your brand can blossom and develop. 

To start, we will focus on Bergdorf Goodman, the luxury department store that is always at the forefront of fashion and “high-class” living. Bergdorf focuses mainly on Twitter and Facebook, which are two platforms that in our opinion attract the greatest audience due to the high volume of participants. On these sites, the brand engages with it’s fans, posting everything from makeup tutorials to style tips of the day. By answering the questions of their followers and appearing more like a person than a large company, they are not only approached by their clientele but bombarded by them. 

Swiss watch makers Breitling and Italian Jeweler Bvlgari focus more on Facebook than any other medium, and they are darn good at it. Ever think of promoting contests, offering prizes and creating games for your fans? If not, you can learn from these fashion dynamos. Breitling pushed a “Spirit of Aviation” photography contest on Facebook in which fans of the brand submitted pictures in an attempt to win flying lessons with the Breitling flying team in Dijon, France. The contest was also connected to the legendary movie-star and flying-enthusiast John Travolta. By asking their fans to “link-up” with the contest and spread word to Facebook friends, the brand got even more attention and contest entries. In a similar instance, Bvlgari teamed up with a celebrity, actress Kirsten Dunst. An Enchanted Garden Facebook app was launched which provided links to its Facebook commerce microsite where consumers could purchase jewelry and fragrances. The interconnectedness of the app to the commerce site displays the importance of cross promoting. Have at least two forums to promote your company? Utilize both and gain traffic. 

Lastly, Marc Jacobs may be the most inventive designer in the digital world. The brand took their company one step further and aligned themselves with bloggers. Bloggers are no longer the up-in-coming freelance writers of the digital world, they have staying power. Bloggers are gaining designer sponsorships, partnering with magazines and becoming just as influential as timely designers. The designer bought “advertising on and held a photo-shoot with blogger Elin Kling to celebrate 10 years of the Marc by Marc Jacobs line.”  This social media move was so large that the Marc Jacobs website saw over 94,000 impressions after one day of advertising on Elin Kling’s blog! 

From these success stories it’s apparent that social media offers major opportunities to luxury firms. Whether your business is a corporation or a start-up, it is crucial that you entertain digital marketing. After all, luxury brands are selling not only products, but also a lifestyle, so engaging a client within his or her own lifestyle is imperative. Social media provides just the platform to do so.

Bergdorf Goodman makeup tutorial

DVF Facebook page

Marc Jacobs advertisement on blog

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Now that’s a Sparkler: Diamond Rings in the Forefront of Spring Fashion

Spring is the ultimate “new beginning.” After all the marshmallow snow melts, we are left with a magical season of sunshine, blossoming buds, and fresh starts--a perfectly romantic time to become engaged. And who does “perfect romance” better than a celebrity couple? Recent tabloids and magazines have been bursting with images of engagements; full page spreads answering the who, what, why, when, where questions, but mainly focused on the big, diamond ROCKS!

Judging by the success of magazines and tabloids alone it is safe to assume that the status quo of America is “I’ll have what he/she is having.” With tons of endorsement deals and promotions for products by celebrities, it is plain to see how much of an influence celebrity lifestyle has on the America public. So, let’s zone in on how celebrity culture is impacting the diamond industry this season.

The most recent high-profile celeb engagement announcement has been between reality television superstar Kim Kardashian and New Jersey Nets basketball player Kris Humphries. The ring presented to the future Mrs. Humphries is a 16.5-carat emerald-cut center stone flanked by two 2-carat trapezoids. Now, we could take the “emerald” cut style as a personal preference of Kardashian or we could look deeper into the trend. What other mega celebrity and recently engaged movie star received an emerald cut sparkler? None other than Kate Hudson. Proposed to by rocker beau Matthew Bellamy, Hudson proudly displayed her emerald-cut diamond, flanked by two sparkling baguettes, to the entire nation on the Today Show.
Kate Hudson
Kim Kardashian

A major trend? Yes, given the star power of Kardashian and Hudson, it would seem so. So, how can a jeweler or designer capitalize on this bridal trend? A seeming downside is that the broad, open facets of the emerald-cut diamond means that any inclusion or discoloration will be particularly obvious, and most individuals do not have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend for a flawless stone. However—carat for carat—an emerald cut stone is less expensive for a customer to buy and the extensive publicity about celeb emerald-cut diamonds, customers may be willing to increase their planned budget (the upside!).

So, this spring, brush up on this beautiful diamond cut to prepare for celeb-obsessed brides-to-be who will be inquiring about emerald cut diamond engagement rings. One beautiful example: this socially responsible and eco-friendly ring crafted by AnaKatarina Eco Gioielli.
AnaKatarina Eco Gioielli


Good vs. Evil, Light vs. Dark, Carbs vs. Lean Protein… all things that are essential and on going struggles to help find balance. Another recently evolving struggle that is creating a lot of buzz across the internet and business communities is the deliberation of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) vs. Social Media Networking for marketing purposes. The differences between the two are vast, but we often hear small businesses weighing one against the other in terms of where to invest. While SEO has a faster ROI rate on a website’s traffic than Social Media, a Facebook page with 100,000 ‘Likes’ and ongoing engagement has an amazing ROI as well. With that being said, let’s just get down to the brass tacks, nitty-gritty, and seedy underbelly about what these Internet marketing tactics offer.


What can be said? It predates the whole concept behind Social Networking, and is still vital to an overall marketing strategy regardless of what you’re promoting. What it is in Layman’s terms is basically search engine marketing: how to get your website to appear high in results when someone searches Google or another search engine.

First, there is pay for play SEO; you know that ‘suggestion box’ that comes up when you start typing in things to Google or Bing? Those brand names paid to be there; they also paid to be at the top of your search results or along the side in those ‘other search suggestions’ columns.

If you start typing things into Google, the Google Instant bar comes up and starts guessing what you’re typing. Unfortunately it searches just about the whole span of the Internet when you hit enter. That means that not only are you bombarded right off the bat with information that you don’t need, but then you see all these big name brands that you might not want.

Like all things we had to learn with the creation of the Internet was the thought process of navigating your search engine results. Depending on what I am searching for, I do not always look at the first link that comes up, in fact I don’t really look at the headlines that Google or Bing gives me, I look at the blurbs that are underneath them and if that information matches what I’m looking for then that is the site I want. Like everything else, people have different ways of navigating their search results, but most just haphazardly click where they see fit.

Because people are so consistent, they will continue to click one of those three links that come up, which means that those companies will clearly gain the most traffic to their website consistently. That is where SEO comes in, with keywords in your website copy, inbound links, and other things that help Google and other search engines rank your site higher. But the problem that too many companies over look is: once you get that traffic to your site, how do you engage and keep them there? (thus the argument in favor of focusing on social media)


What needs to be grasped about social media is the sheer volume and presence it all has. For example, just about everyone (500 million people, to be exact) has a Facebook profile used to interact with others in a different atmosphere than (crazy concept) speaking with them face-to-face or even over the phone. Side note: I had to find out through Facebook, twice, that a favorite cousin was getting married.

Now, the ever present Facebook, Twitter and the like have been emerging and growing faster and faster, have people really come to rely on them as a place to get new information? That answer might surprise you. Consider, for example, that Facebook has almost surpassed Google as the top visited site on the Internet.

The difference between Google and Facebook? (And, therefore, the difference between SEO outreach and social media outreach)… People go to Google when they want basic information or a phone number; people go to Facebook to form a long-term relationship with a brand.

The things you can do with a Fan Page on Facebook are essentially endless. But all have common ROI: an ongoing association with prospects and clients, and the creations of not just a visitor who clicks on your website once, but someone who becomes a brand ambassador.


At the end of the day, there are different companies that can benefit from more SEO than Social Media, and vice versa. Both are completely different in their approach of finding new information and getting it to the public.

SEO and Social Media have their places, and greatly help each other. Without a search engine you can easily find out whether your favorite company had a social media presence on top of finding their website. Both feed off of each other and help give the other meaning. Essentially, both SEO and Social Media Marketing are good things to take part in, it all depends on the business and the marketing strategy you want to execute.

If your resources are limited, which to choose? When deciding, remember that people are using search engines to look for something that is in the moment; they want to find what they’re looking for fast and with little problems. When people are logging onto Facebook, they are looking to engage and connect… be it to see what their friends are doing, play games, or, increasingly: learn of news, promotions an updates from their favorite brands.