As Fashion Week becomes more consumer-driven, retailers are discovering the power of content marketing.
Fashion enthusiasts looking for runway shots of brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry or Diane Von Furstenberg will be hard-pressed to find them in New York Fashion Week coverage — because for the second NYFW season, none of these brands plan to hold traditional fashion shows.
Edging increasingly more toward a consumer-driven “see-now-buy-now” approach, the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) has embraced modern, often avant-garde formats that have ranged from theatrical performances (as seen in Diane Von Furstenberg’s February 2016 show) to shoppable Instagram campaigns like the one held by New York designer Misha Nonoo. This season will feature a full-fledged carnival, complete with ferris wheel, at what will become Tommy Hilfiger’s “Tommy Pier” in Manhattan. Many more designers plan to shift to an in-season approach, reversing a decades-old tradition of showing Spring/Summer collections in fall and Fall/Winter in spring so consumers can see coveted collections just weeks, rather than months, ahead of their storefront (and e-commerce) debut.
Although not every Fashion Week has embraced the trend (Paris has notably stuck to the traditional format and calendar), American retailers have benefited from the chance to hit consumers in real-time. In turn, many have embraced real-time content marketing to reach consumers in a way that feels organic and inspires action.
Here are four ways fashion retailers and designers are succeeding with real-time content marketing during Fashion Week:
1. Influencer Campaigns
Sometimes, the best content doesn’t come from marketers. During Fashion Week local social media influencers, like stylist Dana Roski (shown above), can be powerful allies for retailers counting on consumers to react to the new format with impulse buys. Collaborating with influencers already attending Fashion Week to promote your store (or e-commerce platform) along with the labels you carry can have an immediate impact on sales.
2. Targeted Social Media
Runway-eschewing designers have found success with social media for reaching their target audiences, specifically using Facebook ads and promoted posts, as shown above by Rebecca Minkoff.
3. Real-Time Fashion Guides
Whether it’s your blog or an in-house magazine, guides can also be a powerful tool during Fashion Week, as Burberry demonstrated earlier this month with its Runway Makeup campaign. Creating “how to” videos, trend reports, suggested outfits and celebrity roundups tied to Fashion Week events will help you appear in more Fashion Week searches on Google while establishing yourself as a helpful, ongoing resource to your consumers.
4. Consumer Events
One of the best ways to take advantage of a consumer-facing Fashion Week format is to make your own consumers feel a part of it. ShopStyle accomplished this with its “Social House” during NYFW (see above), but even outside New York, London, Milan or Paris, hosting an event in your own city can help you connect with your customers and learn more about them. This is where content becomes important. Running landing pages that encourage consumers to RSVP with their e-mail address not only brings more people in your store, it helps you remain connected with them throughout the rest of the year.