Fashion & Social Media
Trends, Trust, Meaning: An Exploration of Digital Frontiers
In the fashion accessories business, the steepest climb is to gain the trust and faith of customers.
The apparel and fashion industry saw amazing growth in 2019 until COVID-19 hit, which accelerated the move towards a more consumer-centric approach due to consumer demands for sustainability and digitalization.
In a webinar hosted by the Accessories Council, our co-founder, Virginie Glaenzer, presented the latest social media trends and consumer shopping patterns.
The objective of this webinar was to help Fashion and Accessories Brands rethink their social media strategy to adapt their business to new consumer expectations:
How can social media help fashion brands understand their audience?
How can trust be built online when you sell accessories?
What is the next digital frontier for accessories companies?
Social Media Is a Must
Social media has become a critical marketing tool for fashion brands and fashion apps.
Global online fashion market is predicted to grow to $872 billion by 2023
74% of consumers rely on social networks to help them make purchase decisions
84% of Instagram, 83% of Facebook users rate these channels as very effective– only 25% of Instagram and 14% of Twitter
In the webinar, we covered what attracts and repels people from brands:
Why do consumers follow and unfollow brands on social media?
What do people do after following?
What content do they want?
Trust Is Essential
Trust is the fundamental element to create a relationship with customers using social media. Trust is a complex feeling and it comes from multiple origins:
Consistency - Trust is the firm belief in the reliability, truth, and ability of someone or something. For brands, trust starts with consistency. Being able to deliver a consistent experience and quality product will create trust.
Relevance - Trust is also a story we create in our mind. We’ve noticed new collective narratives concerning the environment. This trend is driven by younger consumers who are scaling back to reduce waste and minimizing what they consume. This value of conscious consumption requires your brand to know its audience's beliefs and desires, in order to be relevant.
Identity-driven - The 3rd element in trust comes from understanding that we live in an identity-driven society. That means consumers don’t care about your accessories or products. What they truly and deeply care about is how those accessories make them feel about themselves. Focusing on your audience’s identity and their desires can give rise to a feeling of “This brand understands me. I can trust them.”
Trends Begin as Insights
Micro & Nano Influencers
Micro-influencers are individuals who have 1,000 to 100,000 followers/audience members and are considered experts in their respective niche. They could be food bloggers, travelers, local fashionistas, or fitness gurus - just to name a few. A micro-influencer, as opposed to a celebrity or regular influencer, often has a very uniform audience.
Nano-influencers are a relatively new breed of influencers. They have less than 1,000 followers. This would be someone who has influence in the local neighborhood or online community. Like a local pastor, local community leader, or local government leader, they could also be average people whose opinions or command of subject matter makes others listen. Comparatively, nano-influencers have more authentic voices and achieve higher levels of engagement, thanks to real-life relationships with the majority of their followers.
The resale market has become very cool, driving the desires of wealthy and younger generations to be part of it.
Resale is expected to overtake the traditional thrift and donation segment by 2024. It is growing 21 times faster than the broader retail sector and will soon become a $51 billion market.
When we feel overwhelmed by choices, we tend to retract to a familiar mind-space and glorify the past. Deloitte’s recent consumer sentiment study found, “Consumers want to keep the good times rolling,” so the feeling of nostalgia impacts purchase decisions.
Silver lining in the China trade competition
With the public’s attention drawn to the sometimes unethical business practices of foreign companies, domestic brands have the opportunity to showcase their high standards and define authentic luxury.
The Meaning of Luxury Is in Crisis
Any company that doesn’t consider itself a luxury brand might want to reconsider. Why? Because the meaning of luxury appears to be lost, which opens the door for new brands to reposition themselves to fill the void.
One opportunity lies in returning to the key pillars of luxury – quality, craftsmanship, design, attention to detail, uniqueness, and authenticity.
Another opportunity is to completely redefine luxury. THE COOL, an online magazine started by German publisher Jan-Piet Stempels, offers a new take on luxury, lifestyle, and art: “Luxury for me is not about buying expensive things. It’s about being aligned with myself and being able to appreciate quality.”
Being aligned with oneself is the new meaning of luxury. It is the one common desire and feeling that we find across all industries - and it’s a radical new luxury statement.
Three Key Takeaways
Design a multi-sensory experience
Today’s internet world is a sensually reductive world: it is not experiential enough.
For luxury products to flourish online, two conditions must be fulfilled: personalized identification and multi-sensory experience.
We were inspired by Bechett Simonon, a local shoe manufacturer. Established in 2011 in reaction to a broken retail system, the company decided to sell direct. They started with the desire to create an innovative way to tackle the retail problem with a company that would benefit the producer, the artisans, the planet, and the customer.
Not only have they created relevance, aligning with today’s societal values, they crafted detail-oriented and personalized videos, images, and product fabrication in their communication to create a holistic experience.
A community is stronger than an audience
Having a community means, above all, creating relationships between members and the brand and co-creating value for both.
However, today, this still doesn’t happen very often. Brands frequently call their followers, a Whatsapp group, the members of a loyalty program (how horrible!), the subscribers to a club, a “community.” Basically, the term “community” is used to indicate an audience more or less linked to a brand.
At AcornOak, we believe the brands that will survive and thrive in this economy will be the ones nurturing a true community. We invite you and your team to really think about how you turn your audience into a community.
Creativity = Curiosity + Improvisation
Creativity is the hallmark of all great luxury brands and that creativity comes from the people behind the brand. The future belongs to brands and organizations who empower their people.
The way to foster agency for employees is by providing a space for them to ask questions and test new ideas.
“In the luxury universe, the constant challenge is to transform creativity into profitability. It is always people who make a brand.” - Maria Eugenia Giron, Luxury Brand Management Professor
Finally, businesses must move away from limiting ideas like competition and distrust to look at the world through the lens of collaboration. Collaborating with other brands in other industries or similar industries can create new forms of abundance.
The luxury market is wide open for brands that lean into the future.
A Special Thank You
We want to thank the Accessories Council for the opportunities for sharing our insights and expertise.
The Accessories Council is a not-for-profit, international trade organization established in 1994. Our mission is to stimulate global consumer awareness and demand for fashion accessory products. We serve the industry globally which generates over $50.8 billion dollars annually in the United States alone.
Over the past 25 years, membership has grown internationally to include over 330 companies and organizations, representing the world’s leading brand names, designers, publications, retailers and associated providers for the accessories, eyewear and footwear industries.
The Accessories Council sponsors educational seminars, networking events, seasonal trend reports, marketing & advertising co-op initiatives, design & marketing awards for area fashion students, our exciting annual silent auction, social media events, and the esteemed black tie ACE Award Gala, an annual tribute to the leaders of the accessory industry.