vinceOur 2013 Digital IQ Index: Fashion report named few younger brands that held their own on the digital front when competing with more traditional luxury brands. Ranked Average in our index despite their small sizes, Rebecca Minkoff (founded in 2005), Alice & Olivia (founded in 2002) and Vince (founded in 2002) took innovative measures to promote their brands and expand their business in the past two years. In September, Rebecca Minkoff debuted looks from its Spring/Summer 2014 fashion show on Snapchat before they hit the runway. Vince (VNCE) became the first apparel company to go public since Michael Kors (KORS) debuted in December 2011. And last year, Alice and Olivia launched its first ad campaign, in Times Square New York.

In addition to the bold moves, our latest fashion report highlighted some of the basics these young brands have mastered. Alice and Olivia, ranked 45 of 85 brands in our Index, used SEM to to direct consumers to local stores on mobile. Some elements of its site, however, did not transfer well to tablet, which lowered its ranking. Vince, ranked 42, used catchy subject lines and promotions in its email campaigns to incentivize users to open. Rebecca Minkoff, number 37, offered a promotion with American Express to customers who tweeted specific hashtags after New York Fashion Week.

Drastic moves can pay off and bring attention to the company. Michael Kors, first to advertise on Instagram, saw explosive growth in its social media this year, and boasts a market cap bigger than Tiffany’s, $16.7 billion. But tried-and-true methods such as search and email can work as well, or even better. Brands in our latest fashion report receive 51% of upstream traffic from search. Three out of four mobile searches trigger a follow-up action, and promotional emails from fashion companies have an open rate of 20%. While a direct relationship between social media and sales has yet to be proven, fashion brands can bet on search and email as surefire ways to increase digital competency.

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