This article was originally written for, and appeared in, Fashion’s Collective (www.fashionscollective.com)
Consumers, in this new digital age, are empowered with previously inconceivable admittance to brands. Immediate access to information, constant social connectivity, open dialogue with labels, mobile capabilities – these touch points are the new black for today’s Fashion shopper. Brand marketers who embrace this emerging zeitgeist will build tremendous loyalty. On the other hand, the labels that do not consider this medium face the threat of relevancy extinction in the mind of the new customer, for whom expertise and utility are paramount.
The question is raised, then, of how best to manage this shift in marketing polarity in a way that bolsters the label’s image. How do Fashion marketers create and maintain a consistent brand presence, regardless of channel, and by what medium can we combine these platforms into omnipresence for shoppers? The answer is in the formula.
The ever-connected mobile arena represents an entirely unique engagement apparatus based on availability. In this age, when time is considered the greatest luxury among affluent customers, fulfilling the need for the “now” factor is central to any strategy’s progress. The process of integrating the Immediacy Variable – the need for instant communication, connection, and convenience – is at the core of this fundamental marketing shift. This new direction is driven by a (r)evolution from the traditional B2C approach to a C2B outlook, based on consumer demand for adequacy and effectiveness. For successful mobile marketing, the Immediacy Variable relies on targeting these customer needs.
Fashion marketers, however, must conquer the concept not only with utility and efficiency in mind, but also with luxury and exclusivity at the forefront of the encounter. The mobile medium effectively combines a constant link with functional convenience, but without the essence of the brand, the channel itself is incomplete. Herein lie the complexities inherent in formulating a profitable mobile strategy. To capably assimilate the Immediacy Variable, brands must view it as supplementary to the existing go-to-market success equation, where luxury + exclusivity + craftsmanship + excellence = brand loyalty. These characteristics already exist in the bricks, clicks, and print channels, but the addition of immediacy, regardless of time and place, is the strength of the mobile experience.
The Burberry Retail Theatre campaign is a stellar early stage example of expertly merging the Immediacy Variable into a well-orchestrated, multi-channel campaign. The label provides iPad devices to brand enthusiasts in boutiques around the world, on which they are able to view streaming video of the London Fashion Week runway show, and reserve items for purchase before general public release. This tactic showcases the obvious craftsmanship and superiority of the product through the convenience of mobile devices.
Models like this generate uniquely branded “mobile moments”, that begin with a deep understanding of the diverse capabilities of different, yet connected, channels, and eventually deliver a distinct and improved experience in the brand’s image. At its most fundamental, mobile creates an entirely new medium for engaging Fashion shoppers through the Immediacy Variable. Wielded as an in-boutique tool, an “always on” channel for brand interaction, an on-device commerce capable sales platform, or a mechanism for regular communication, mobile has certainly proven that it contains endless possibilities. The inclusion of the mobile Immediacy Variable to the Fashion marketing success equation adds accessibility and effectiveness to the formula when customers demand it most.