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Is Luxury Fashion Love Blind In Social?

Posted on 15 July 2016

All you need is love.

Or so it seems the love potion luxury fashion houses are brewing in social media has the potency to cast that elusive spell on social media “luxurians,” customers and aspirationals alike.

The cat’s meow in luxury fashion may not always be what you think it is. Take Gucci’s cats, literally, in the recent Men’s SS17 collection, who affectionately espouse “Blind for Love” (L’Aveugle Par Amour). Or, its pre-Fall 16 collection’s heartfelt embrace of all things flora and fauna, shot in an aviary with roaming flamingos.

Tenuous, indeed, brand affection can be hard to cultivate and sustain. Some consider the emotion quotient elusive and unquantifiable, ephemeral and unsustainable, let alone a significant potential conversion criteria.

Enter the art and science of social media brand love, quantifiable and sustainable. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele may be on to something with his blind for love motif, as luxury brands vie to kindle sensual delight, wonder and amusement.

To analyze luxury brand love—yes, brand love is measureable—enterprise social media analyst NetBase produced its annual NetBase Brand Passion Report: Global 2016 – Top 100 Love List. The marketing imperative for brands to cultivate and track brand love is underscored in the report, in which NetBase analyzes specific brand love insights as opposed to merely key words.

This distinction is a significant feature of NetBase’s advanced natural language processing platform, in which brand “love” insight terminology for the report ranged from “adore” to “world class,” as well as aspirational insights “crave” and “long for,” including a long list of variables.

NetBase stresses the significance of tracking and measuring brand love longitudinally, accompanied with a granular analysis of key drivers influencing brand love, critical to informing a brand of key marketing indicators and whether, and why, that love may be caving, cooling or kindling.

All of which points to discovering and abetting a tenuous brand love affair.

“Most consumer purchases are won over by emotion— the more passion the consumer has for the brand, the less they rely on price as the deciding factor,” said Paige Leidig, chief marketing officer at NetBase. “Listening and identifying brand emotions related to certain brands can help those organizations pinpoint conversations causing issues and also optimize on positive conversations, keeping ahead of the curve to stay nimble with their fans.”

NetBase methodology for analyzing top loved consumer brands, which includes luxury fashion, segmented luxury and retail, owing to the sheer volume of English-language data captured across 200 markets. This approach allowed NetBase to study industry-specific insights with greater granularity. The one-year brand love report analyzed all public data available from May 18, 2015 to May 17, 2016.

Overall, 79% of the winning loved brands across industries originate from 2 countries: United States, which accounts for 67% of the brands, and Japan with 12%.

While the NetBase 100 Love Brand List analyzed several industries here Localspeak has isolated only the luxury fashion category, which surfaced four brands: Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci and Dior. Coincidentally, three of these brands—Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel—also ranked in the annual Forbes Top Valued 100 Brands, released in May.

These luxury fashion brands earned 4% of social distribution among the NetBase 100 Love List Brands by industry, ranked in the table below.

According to the NetBase report, Louis Vuitton’s love in social media can be attributed to “authentic experiences with both product and brand,” testimony to the brand’s transparency in using more engaging native digital and mobile advertising.

Brand love runner up Chanel, which dethroned Louis Vuitton in last year’s NetBase Luxury Brand Passion Report, is within closing distance of LV, owing to the immense affection and intense emotional lift credited to Chanel’s blockbuster runway shows. Chanel has also invested in captivating video demystifying and popularizing couture through beautifully shot emotive and immersive narrative.

Also on the NetBase love list, Gucci and Dior have also attracted enviable craving through immersive and beautiful digital video storytelling, notably Gucci’s pre-Fall ’16 video shot in a glass-domed aviary, and Dior’s Insta-Documentary featuring a day in the life of brand ambassador Marion Cotillard.

Underscoring the need for social listening, luxury personal goods, which already showed lagging growth last year, are expected to grow only 1-2% annually through 2020, According to consultancy Bain & Co. In addition to the industry disruption in global fashion, other factors—intrinsic attitudinal, environmental, sustainability and social issues—can also be mitigating factors to laggard growth.

Additionally, escalating luxury customer demand for instant gratification has placed pressure on fashion brands to increase investment in ecommerce and mobile, even as global sales wane.

Counterbalancing some of the burden, leading luxury fashion ecommerce sites, e.g., Net-a-Porter and FarFetch, have upped the ante, attracting significant investment capital and even feature brand curated sites on their platforms. Another contributing factor in luxury fashion exposure—and love—is the burgeoning luxury resale market.

To be sure, luxury fashion is far from love blind in social. The test is in the art and science of brewing the love potion.

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