What Is Your Fa­vorite So­cial Me­dia Cam­paign from 2015?

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cam­paigns such as per­fume or col­lec­tion launches. To this day, the ma­jor­ity of their dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing spends is split be­tween Spring-sum­mer (SS) and Fall-win­ter (FW) sea­sons, with al­most no brands tak­ing an al­ways-on ap­proach.

Brands have evolved with what we at Havas Me­dia call “Or­ganic Mar­ket­ing”, based on the un­der­stand­ing that in to­day’s in­ter­con­nected world the au­di­ence has be­come the me­dia. This in­volves a shift in brand be­hav­ior from a his­tor­i­cal heavy re­liance on paid me­dia (al­most en­tirely ded­i­cated to tac­ti­cal aware­ness, such as the launch of new col­lec­tions) to an ap­proach that puts a brand’s dig­i­tal ecosys­tems (web­sites, so­cial chan­nels) and part­ner­ships (shared me­dia) at the cen­ter. The com­mu­ni­ca­tion in this ap­proach is de­signed to fuel earned me­dia (pub­lic­ity from non­ad­ver­tis­ing sources) as con­sumers or­gan­i­cally em­brace and share the brand’s con­tent. The role of paid me­dia (pub­lic­ity from ad­ver­tis­ing) in this sce­nario is to en­sure that earned me­dia gets am­pli­fied in or­der to max­i­mize reach. Or­ganic mar­ket­ing’s wide-reach­ing im­pli­ca­tions for the lux­ury sec­tor in­clude the prom­i­nent role that shared me­dia now plays through in­flu­encer and celebrity en­dorsers who dis­trib­ute con­tent around their owned ecosys­tems. Bal­main, for ex­am­ple, suc­ceeded in rais­ing its global brand aware­ness through its part­ner­ship with the “in­sta-fa­mous” de­signer, Oliver Rouste­ing. The “army” of in­flu­encers around Rouste­ing, in­clud­ing such celebri­ties as the Kar­dashi­ans and Ri­hanna, ag­gre­gates close to 50 mil­lion fol­low­ers – a much big­ger scope than the 1.2 mil­lion In­sta­gram fol­low­ers of the of­fi­cial Bal­main ac­count. This global ap­proach has lo­cal im­pli­ca­tions. The Middle East, for in­stance, has its own set of fash­ion celebri­ties that are now reg­u­lar fix­tures at the ma­jor global fash­ion weeks, and some of th­ese could be po­ten­tial new in­flu­encers that would be in­stru­men­tal in pro­mot­ing lux­ury brands. Wel­com­ing a New Brand Or­der Ro­bust part­ner ecosys­tems are key for lux­ury brands, even if we ex­clude e-com­merce; re­search shows that around 40% of off­line lux­ury sales are di­rectly im­pacted by dig­i­tal con­tent and owned plat­forms. Or­ganic mar­ket­ing is even more of a ne­ces­sity, since most mil­len­ni­als are tun­ing out dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing; 31% of mil­len­ni­als in the Middle East al­ready use ad-block­ing soft­ware, and that per­cent­age is in­creas­ing. The key is dis­cov­er­abil­ity when it comes to th­ese con­sumers. It is a no-brainer that the now ubiq­ui­tous #hash­tag has be­come a com­mon sight on all lux­ury com­mu­ni­ca­tion to en­sure all the con­ver­sa­tions that are gen­er­ated are linked across chan­nels (earned, shared, and paid me­dia). Brand sto­ry­telling is also ex­tremely im­por­tant to them as it jus­ti­fies their pur­chase.

As a re­sult, lux­ury brands have gone from dig­i­tally timid to em­brac­ing el­e­ments of or­ganic mar­ket­ing. They were able to lev­er­age their su­perb name recog­ni­tion and cat­a­pult a rise of cre­ative con­tent com­bined with ex­cel­lent chan­nel man­age­ment that has drawn con­sumers into the story with­out com­pro­mis­ing the dream. This achieve­ment re­mains out of reach of other brands that still rely on paid me­dia alone. Strate­gies for MENA Brands to Suc­ceed in Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing While not all brands have the pas­sion­ate au­di­ences or best-in-class con­tent that lux­ury brands en­joy, we can all learn from their or­ganic mar­ket­ing ap­proach in a dig­i­tal world dom­i­nated by mil­len­nial con­sumers: 1. Lo­cal­ize brand plat­forms: Plat­forms that ad­dress Middle East con­sumers – par­tic­u­larly mil­len­ni­als – are still few and far apart. Speak­ing in the lux­ury con­sumer’s lan­guage is key, bear­ing in mind that the brand’s web­site has the big­gest im­pact on pur­chase af­ter the bou­tique ex­pe­ri­ence.

2. Of­fer more than in-store op­tions: With e-com­merce at the brand level loom­ing on the hori­zon, lux­ury mar­keters need to en­sure that they ad­dress Middle East lux­ury shop­pers’ pri­or­i­ties, giv­ing them the tools to cus­tom­ize and ac­cess unique pieces, not avail­able on ground.

3. Cap­i­tal­ize on data: Cap­tur­ing data across chan­nels should also be a pri­or­ity, al­low­ing gran­u­lar au­di­ence tar­get­ing through pro­gram­matic ad­ver­tis­ing.

4. Be al­ways-on: Al­ways-on cam­paigns, par­tic­u­larly search en­gine mar­ket­ing, are rare. By not de­fend­ing their ter­ri­tory, brands are los­ing their hard-earned brand equity and ef­fec­tively al­low­ing third par­ties to ben­e­fit at their ex­pense.

5. Ride the wave of lux­ury con­tent ex­plo­sion: To take ad­van­tage of the lux­ury con­tent ex­plo­sion, we still need to see best in class ex­am­ples of na­tive ad­ver­tis­ing (to max­i­mize dis­cov­er­abil­ity).

In Jan­uary 2015, Snapchat launched its new Dis­cover fea­ture, which al­lows pub­lish­ers to push out a bun­dle of na­tive con­tent op­ti­mized for Snapchat, and with a life­span of one day. At the time, the move was hailed as a great op­por­tu­nity for pub­lish­ers to reach a younger au­di­ence. CNN took the op­por­tu­nity and part­nered with Snapchat, giv­ing users a daily dose of its news, in­for­ma­tion, ar­ti­cles, pho­tos, and video. Through its chan­nel, CNN de­liv­ers a new Dis­cover edi­tion ev­ery 24 hours. Each edi­tion fea­tures five or more global news sto­ries, hand-cu­rated and pub­lished by its edi­to­rial and de­sign teams, specif­i­cally for the Snapchat com­mu­nity. Each story will be head­lined by a top Snap – a 10-se­cond video or an­i­mated teaser. CNN of­fi­cials said they ex­pect new con­sumers will dis­cover what the chan­nel is cov­er­ing through Snapchat, then seek more in­for­ma­tion through its TV and web chan­nels. In my opin­ion, the ex­e­cu­tion was great be­cause it al­lowed CNN to reach a young au­di­ence (peo­ple in their 20s and younger) that they could not eas­ily reach any­where else. A smart use of the chan­nel.

Jen­nifer Wartabe­dian from Carat Beirut

Zaid Bar­rishi from Star­com

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