Kate Middleton is the world’s favorite fashion plate. When the Duchess of Cambridge was photographed wearing a emerald DVF sheath dress during her visit to Los Angeles in July, the dress sold out nation-wide in the next 36 hours.

How does the “Kate-effect” amplify a brand’s digital presence? The @WorldofMcQueen Twitter handle increased followers by 434% across Q2 2011, outpacing follower growth of any brand in fashion. Analysis of the slope of growth, suggests this almost entirely an effect of the Royal Wedding. The brand added 2,000+ followers on April 29, 2011 after it was revealed McQueen designer, Sarah Burton had designed Kate’s dress. In the days following the brand added another 7,000+ followers. After initial wedding buzz subsided, the brand continues to average approx 2.5x the number of followers as it did prior to the event.

The same effect is registered on Facebook. Prior to the Royal Wedding the McQueen Facebook page was adding an average of 205 likes/day. The week of April 29 when the dress was revealed, the rate of new likes increased nearly 15x and the brand averaged 2,980 new likes per day. The effect of awareness appears to have been sustained and post wedding McQueen has averaged 1,031 likes per day (from May 5 – September 17).

However even some of the most powerful earned media, doesn’t trump paid media. Fellow British brand, Burberry, averaged more than 2,000 Twitter followers per day across Q2 (the same burst McQueen received in a day) combing paid, earned and owned tactics. On Facebook growth has been even more dramatic, the brand averages 20,500 new likes a day in 2012, catapulting it page to nearly 8.4 million fans.

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