Can Luxury Brands Do Social?

There is a growing paradox emerging as the ‘social web’ expands and luxury brands, who traditionally target high net worth individuals, develop strategies for this more democratic space.

Should luxury brands be on social platforms? Should they have conversations with consumers?

Looking at what various luxury brands have been doing in this space, the answers are varied. On one end, Burberry is a brand who are using social to truly embody their ‘democratic luxury’ positioning.  Although they do not appear to respond to comments on their Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest pages, it is quite telling that have commenting enabled, which indicates that they are very open to people talking about them, in their space.  Burberry regularly updates their social platforms, with rich and varied content which spans from posts about their shows  to tweets about what Christopher Bailey is listening to.  They have taken the deliberate strategy to even re-tweet celebrities, media brands like Vogue and other relevant industry bodies who are talking about them, which indicates they are comfortable to be associated with third-parties.

Interestingly, Dior is a brand that was previously on the other end of the spectrum – one-way communication on its owned social platforms, no commenting. The launch of Dior Addict in the summer has seen an opening up of their social strategy. They are even asking their Facebook fans to create covers for their Dior Addict magazine, via Facebook, allowing them to ‘play’ with various elements of the Dior Addict campaign. They are cross-promoting their social platforms as well, which demonstrates that they don’t see their Dotcom as the primary driver of where people find out about the brand.

For the launch of their Secret Garden Fall / Winter Ready to Wear campaign, Dior used a strong social distribution strategy where they used the YouTube video player when attempting to generate conversation about this campaign online. This enabled them to control the way that people saw the campaign film, whilst also giving people an easy asset to share.

What we can see is that luxury brands are making their own rules in the social space. They control the conversation through the content they post and control what people are saying & can say about them on their owned platforms.  The volume of interactions such as likes, comments, shares, re-pins that these luxury brands generate show that this strategy is proving to be, on the surface, successful. They generate interactions that many brands in other industries would love to generate.

On a deeper level, what we can see is that for luxury brands, these conversations are critical. They contribute to the mythology, intangible longing & aspiration that drive these brands forward to the next generation of consumers.

Many people may not able to afford a £2,000 Louis Vuitton handbag, but they love to dream about them, and imagine that one day, they can participate in this dream, even in a small way – through a lipstick, a bottle of nail polish or a pair of sunglasses.

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