When it comes to Social Media, at least three main concerns are asked by decision-makers, whatever your industry is:
- Is there a relevant Return On Investment?
- Does it really matter for my consumers?
- How can I engage a wide audience?
Fashion's Night Out (FNO), which will happen this year on Thursday, September 6, 2012 has already solved a lot of Social Media issues and could probably be a great case study that any marketer should have in mind.
Fashion's Night Out: an innate business-centric strategy
Instead of considering Social Media operations' ROI at the very end of the creative process (now we have a good idea, how do we measure it?), Fashion's Night Out's core idea is to be business efficient. Created in 2009 thanks to Anna Wintour, FNO aims to "restore consumer confidence", "boost the industry's economy during the recession", and "put the fun back in shopping"!
The success is easy to track: it's directly related to sales.
In terms of vision, FNO offers services both to retailers AND shoppers.
Strong guidelines, strong centralization but flexible interpretation of FNO
One of the main issues with this kind of strategy is to be able to harmonize thousands of retailers' actions, and respect many brand values. The challenge is high: fashion brands are global and local enemies. So FNO organizers made it very simple: few core principles are imposed to get FNO logo in general guidelines. For instance, registered events shall be open to everyone; events should be free etc.
In the meantime, FNO centralizes the diverse actions and give an overal story for the customers, the influencers and the retailers. If we had to summarize the main FNO strategy: shape hyphens with brands, engage customers-slashers depending on their favorite interests.
- A mapping of all the events and a sorting of brands' actions
- Say what you see, see what they say: A stimulation to participate to FNO conversation on Twitter (therefore to share any contribution "in real life" or not on other channels thanks to the same hashtag #FNO
- Some FAQs and resources to endeavour media coverage
This centralization will be pretty important when it comes to "end" FNO 2012: we can easily anticipate that FNO is going to produce a "best of" the diverse contents (instagram pictures, posts, tweets...) by real people, which will therefore improve again the engagement of customers and retailers after the event.
For retailers, a promotion-booster and a critical communication hub
While a global story of FNO is led by a core-team, local daily narratives are promoted in a pretty interesting way by involved brands themselves.
When it comes to "promotion", a lot of the tactics that are propagated thanks to Social Channels led to vouchers or discounted collections. It's the exact opposite during FNO. FNO team recommends to "promote full-price shopping" but with strong creative & exclusive incentives; so to say, FNO wants to display brands at their best, to truly explain what customers buy with famous names.
So for instance, Whistles has launched a limited edition which will make its first in-store appearance at the South Molton Street boutique on September 6, during FNO. And they're now teasing their whole community with this special event. Another example is Nicholas Kirkwood; with Samsung they've arranged a very classic contest in which customers can submit 100-words explaining what fashion means to them The final winner will be presented with a pair of Kirkwood shoes "by the man himself".
FNO not only rejuvenates or boosts brand inner products, but it also helps them shape new connections with local talents: DJs, artists, rising chefs or boutiques etc. as the retail shop will have to become THE place to be.
FNO is then a facilitator instead of a brands killer, as they delegate a part of its reputation to the stakeholders themselves. A marketing approach which is similar to the notion of reputational democracy.
In Store and digital strategy
What really works are the great synergies between In Store and e-commerce strategy. Most of the limited collections will be presented first on brand social presences; FNO will then only be a meeting point. For other brands, FNO will be the kick off moment to release new items. FNO itself encourages this "pre / live / post event" approach, as they try to stretch the impact of FNO. Instead of arranging diverse FNOs all the year long, they've decided to arrange a single day in diverse countries. It's probably a better intuition, as we now see that Fashion Weeks have lost a part of their impact in the textile industry.