Social media marketing is all about your brand

What is the real relationship between clever digital marketing strategies and superior performance of the company? I do get the impression these days, that crafting a sophisticated and clever social media marketing strategy has become a goal in itself. Leaders in these areas, such as Burberry and Gucci, have reached the status of digital superstars, while Dior or Prada are essentially ridiculed for not having the same social media presence (the recent L2 study makes this clear, bit.ly/orIWDR). The argument goes along the lines that such innovative marketing strategies are the ultimate way to increase brand value and strengthen brand loyalty – without doubt crucial parameters for international fashion businesses.

But hasn't social media marketing become some sort of truism? Fortunately, now there's the time for some realism and critical review of such practices. Does digital marketing actually build and establish a brand? In fact, the ideas and visions that make brands stand out have to be built in other ways. During a session as part of Advertising Week in NY earlier this month there have been quite some refreshing comments (nyti.ms/pMvFGn). In essence, it is crucial to get the message right, and not just how you communicate it. Fashion brands have to combine their digital marketing with their efforts to build a unique brand identity. The latter could involve both digital elements, such as crowd-sourcing techniques, or more classical marketing activities like print media advertising or actual. What is technology and social media marketing worth without developing an exciting brand image?

Yes, Burberry has done great efforts to become the leading digital marketer within the fashion industry. And it very likely drives their image as a cutting-edge designer brand. But this has been made possible by their successful brand-building before! Similarly, companies with strong brand images can still get away with poor social media performances (think Hermes and Dior). That might not work much longer. But once they step up their efforts and hire talented social media marketers thinking out of the box, just make sure the overarching goal remains building and strengthening your brand!

Felix Rossknecht