Youtube offers fashion brands the chance to create long-lasting content
The last year-and-a-half has seen big changes in fashion's attitude to digital. The content landscape is currently flooded with fashion videos that are shared across different formats and social networks. The Covid-19 pandemic has given many companies and brands a definitive push toward accelerating their own digitalization efforts. In this context, one might wonder about the position in which Youtube now finds itself with regard to the industry. In particular, one might ask oneself about the kind of video marketing strategies that companies have successfully implemented on the platform in order to propose relevant content and strengthen their brand image. On Tuesday, coinciding with the presentation of the study "Youtube's Fashion Effect," Derek Blasberg, who serves as head of fashion and beauty at the American video sharing website, and Alison Bringé, chief marketing officer at Launchmetrics, discussed their professional perspectives on content creation and strategies for using the platform.
"Often, people are looking for 'performances' just five or ten minutes after a runway show," explained Blasberg, commenting on the pressure for immediate results in the fashion industry. However, Youtube seems to aspire to be a space allowing for greater longevity, a space which is not so dominated by the ephemeral quality of constantly updated feeds, where the most recent publications cut the lives of preceding posts short. "People come to this platform looking for deeper experiences, to learn and discover secrets," continued Blasberg, highlighting that "the power of Youtube is oriented towards a long-term narrative." No doubt, this brand image was constructed for other times and needs, but for Blasberg, it represents "an opportunity to connect emerging brands with a global audience."
Indeed, Youtube boasts more than 2 billion active users every month, an appetizing figure for fashion brands keen to "reach their consumers and amplify their messages beyond the present moment" through video, according to the report compiled by data analysis firm Launchmetrics. The study emphasizes the idea that content published on Youtube is watched and valued repeatedly over time, which "improves the brand's returns in the long run." "Brands have to think about creating impact and about the fact that people come back to their content, not only on an immediate basis," explained Bringé, insisting that it is important to bet on solid strategies that guarantee the longevity of the effect of a video weeks, months or even years after an event.
According to the report, one example of this is Prada's digital presentation for its Spring/Summer 2021 collection, designed collaboratively by Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons. After the runway show, the Italian brand broadcast an intimate conversation in which the duo of designers responded to questions sent in by the label's followers. "Fashion shows no longer only consist in activating industry audiences, but also in inviting consumers to join in and participate in events through new formats," theorized Bringé, discussing the development of an "inclusive context" in which brands reach out to consumers, who evolve from being simple spectators and become active participants in the event. The Prada video, which has currently racked up more than 2.5 million views on Youtube, saw 350% growth in engagement and 400% growth in visits during the 60 days that followed its publication.
Another case singled out by the data specialists is the collaboration between Dior and rapper Travis Scott for the brand's menswear collection for Spring/Summer 2022. "Dior is one of the best brands at managing its own channels. And Youtube has a strong relationship with the music industry, which drives and attracts new audiences to the brand," reflected Bringé, highlighting the loudspeaker effect produced by link-ups with celebrities with loyal followers and a consolidated presence on the platform. Currently the founder of the Cactus Jack record label has some 15.2 million subscribers on Youtube, and the livestream of his collaborative show with Dior achieved the second highest media impact value of any event during the season in question. "It was very important to elevate the audience's interest and expectations by releasing content ahead of the show," admitted representatives from Dior, explaining the publication of a teaser featuring Scott himself weaving in one of the brand's workshops.
Kerby Jean-Raymond also hit a number of these key marks at Haute Couture Week in July, when Pyer Moss became the first brand led by a Black designer to be invited to join the Fédération de la Haute Couture's official calendar. His show also tapped into the emerging trend of easing content's path to the press. "Looking to the media implies thinking of print, digital and social networks. PR professionals have to think about offering content that goes beyond static coverage," said Bringé, going on to explain that Pyer Moss is "a great example of how the industry is changing, and this is reflected in the numbers." In the first few months after the show, engagement with the brand's Youtube video grew 13,500%, while views increased 13,181% and currently stand at more than 329,000.
Intimate 360º experiences
Concerning 360º campaigns, which combine online and offline activations, the report spotlighted initiatives such as JW Anderson's first show-in-a-box, which allowed the audience to access the collection in the comfort of their own homes through a video in which the designer discussed the details of his Spring/Summer 2021 collection. "It's video as a way of offering a more intimate and immersive vision than classic post-runway notes," said Blasberg, before commenting that the most successful Youtube content isn't always "the very professional, super productions." Instead, the company "encourages brands to create stories in the most intimate way, not necessarily the most expensive one."
If the success of Jonathan Anderson's content was based on its intimate approach, Versace managed to boost the long-term impact of its aquatic fantasy, Versacepolis, beyond the presentation of its Spring/Summer 2021 show thanks to a strategy based around five Youtube posts. "Fashion consumers search for content throughout the year," stated Blasberg, encouraging brands to publish videos frequently, rather than from time to time, in order to create a lasting impact and gain positive results. "Versace understood the meaning of the concept of a qualitative post," said Bringé, pointing out the 700% growth in the publication's engagement in the first 60 days after the show.
Narrative is key
Once the major strategies have been outlined, doubts can still arise when it comes to the multiplicity of different social platforms. "The social media landscape is enormous, with networks such as TikTok focusing more on Gen Z, while Instagram is focused on images. But when people compare them, it's like mixing apples and oranges. People use different platforms for different things. And brands that use Youtube can also count on social media professionals dedicated to creating distinct content for other platforms," said Blasberg. "Brands need to offer a bit of everything because every network has a different objective," added Bringé.
"When I started out in fashion 20 year ago, brands thought in terms of two runways, and there were enormous budgets for editorials in print magazines. Now you have to think and create a narrative," said Blasberg. For the expert, this goes beyond short videos showing the come-and-go of models on a runway. "The best Youtube content tells a story," he concluded, revealing the key insight that brands must keep in mind when creating not only fashion, but also posts for the platform.
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