Content – whether in the form of user-generated social media snaps, high-quality video, or brand blogs – is becoming an integral part of the commerce experience. L2’s Digital IQ Index: Fashion reveals brands across the board are investing in producing or aggregating relevant relative assets to enable shoppers to discover their products, and convert browsers into buyers. At least 17 brands were mentioned in L2’s Fashion study as significant producers or aggregators of branded content. Gifted brand Kate Spade produced a video series titled #MissAdventure, featuring Anna Kendrick and yielding a 132% year-over-year increase in site traffic. And as Burberry continues to invest on emerging social platforms like Snapchat and Apple Music, it revitalized legacy investment “Art of the Trench” with a seventh regional update featuring trench-lovers in the Middle East. The campaign generated 1.4 million views on YouTube.
Even Hermès, notorious for indifference to digital and evasive on social media, amped up creative this year. Its digital campaign MANifest targets affluent males and engages them with features such as swipe support (to move feet around the screen) and short video vignettes. As part of the campaign, Hermès also partnered with Esquire to have its illustrations above the magazine’s logo on its mobile homepage.
But ask most consumers about branded content investments, and they are likely to draw a blank. Because many of these crafted pieces are not located on the shoppers path to purchase. They serve as a distraction rather than an enhancement to the e-commerce or online browsing experience. For example, Etro maintains an editorial hub for showcasing its runway collections. Shoppers can interrupt the runway reel to “Explore the Look” or view a standalone image and short description. Yet, the site offers no link to a product page or a “Buy Now” button. Etro is not an anomaly. Seventy-three percent of brands stream or post videos of their fashion shows, but just 16% offer any type of shoppable video. Similarly, 71% of Index brands produce editorials, with just 37% offering editorial content that is linked to a buy button or e-commerce enabled product page.
L2 studies recommend that brands connect content to commerce to maximize return on investment. And some brands take it even further. At Burberry – Genius brand that nabs the top spot in L2’s 2015 Fashion Index – both are considered as inseparable parts of the consumer experience. In a Q&A with L2, Burberry Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Bailey says “We do not make a distinction between content and commerce. Instead, we see the creative elements of both sides as being part of every customer’s engagement.”
It should come as no surprise that nearly three-quarters of luxury brands consider awareness more critical than conversion. Yet with proper investments and links to product pages, brands can maximize for both.