LONDON, United Kingdom — By now, social media marketing has become de rigueur for luxury and fashion brands looking to engage end consumers. And indeed, more and more luxury brands are following in the footsteps of first movers and building community-oriented experiences that allow fans to upload their own content which (once carefully curated) can be shared across these sites and the wider social web, earning attention in a way that’s often more cost-effective and authentic than traditional advertising units.
Back in 2009, Burberry led the charge with Art of the Trench, a website that enabled fans to explore, upload and share street-style images featuring Burberry trench coats. According to a presentation on future advertising models by digital agency Made by Many, the site attracted over 330,000 visitors, earned the equivalent of £6.8 million in press coverage and drove an 85 percent increase in trench coat sales, all in the first three months.
But while early adopter Burberry succeeded in driving both positive PR and business results, what about those who have followed in its footsteps? In recent cycles, Hermès, Tiffany & Co. and Bergdorf Goodman have all launched similar initiatives. And just last week, Jimmy Choo previewed its own community-oriented street-style site, Choo 24:7 Stylemakers, at a breakfast at London’s chi-chi Arts Club. Taking its cues from Art of the Trench, which engaged Scott “The Sartorialist” Schuman to shoot many of the images that populate the site, Jimmy Choo hired street-style photographer Eddie Newton, as well as street-style darling Caroline Issa, who is acting as London brand ambassador.
BoF spoke with Dana Gers, Jimmy Choo’s global senior vice president of communications to learn more.
BoF: What is Choo 24:7 Stylemakers?
Choo 24:7 Stylemakers is an interactive microsite that brings to life the personality of Choo 24:7 which launched in 2010. Mirroring the creative concept for the brand’s advertising campaign, the site celebrates street-style photographic reportage with an image gallery showcasing fans wearing Jimmy Choo across time zones, day to evening, 24:7.
The site invites fans and photographers to participate by submitting their own street-style images illustrating their personal style. A selection of the best images are uploaded onto the site and shared with fans internationally, reflecting the global personality of Jimmy Choo.
Fans can upload their own street-style photos to our online gallery from either their personal digital photo albums or from Facebook. Photos tagged on Instagram with #choo247 will also feed to the site, as will comments from Twitter with the same hashtag. It is that simple.
BoF: Why did you decide to launch Choo 24:7 Stylemakers?
We have always had a passionate following from Jimmy Choo fans globally, reaching the milestone of a million Facebook fans recently. Our fans are among the most engaged and interested among all the global luxury brands. The launch of Choo 24:7 Stylemakers is a response to the natural interest from our fans and the increasing trend for sharing street-style photography through social media. We wanted to create a global gallery of images all inspired by the world of Choo 24:7.
We know based on the thousands of photos that we see from stylish women around the world that our passionate fans want to be inspired by other women, and they want to share their looks as well. With Choo 24:7.com we are creating a community for fans to be able to share their style and find inspiration from other’s style. The site allows us to engage with a passionate audience.
BoF: Brands like Burberry have launched similar social street-style initiatives. What was the specific opportunity you saw for Jimmy Choo now?
The main opportunity for us was to bring to life the Choo 24:7 collection in a tangible way. By hosting photography depicting real Jimmy Choo fans across the globe wearing the collection as they go about their busy lives, the Jimmy Choo woman literally takes us through her paces. It’s an amazing realisation of the collection. At the same time it allowed us to launch a digital program that engages with existing and new Jimmy Choo fans in a wholly interactive way. Fans have the opportunity to become part of the site and part of the Jimmy Choo lifestyle.
It gives us an invaluable insight into our different markets by allowing us to observe how the collection evolves across the globe – the same styles worn by different women in different cultures with different lifestyles and styling preferences. It reflects the dynamism of the brand as well as highlighting how broad the Jimmy Choo customer reach is.
BoF: How will you measure success?
Success will be measurable in a number of ways but the key benchmarks will be social engagement levels and the collection’s sell through. Through the social nature of the program, we are also looking at how this program impacts customer acquisition.
BoF: How will Choo 24:7 Stylemakers evolve over time?
We have some exciting plans for the site in development for the autumn. We are already committed to expanding our hero Stylemakers for key cities with street-style shoots planned for July and October in Paris, Milan, Antwerp, LA and Tokyo. Once we have a substantial image database, we will be able to create inspirational photo albums based around themes, geographies, and style. We see Choo 24:7 Stylemakers as a dynamic and continually evolving project.
Expectations? When BoF first heard about Choo 24:7 Stylemakers, we had our reservations. Nearly three years after the launch of Burberry’s Art of the Trench, what would make this initiative unique? We were particularly interested to see what benefits Jimmy Choo had accrued by learning from first movers like Burberry.
First impressions? The site’s design and social media integration caught our attention first, two areas in which the Jimmy Choo team has done well. The site’s homepage is vibrant, inviting and intuitive and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram integrations feature prominently. Like Art of the Trench, community comments on photos sync directly with Facebook. Instagram and Twitter feeds also highlight related images and tweets from across the social web.
Most potential? Unlike many similar social street-style sites, Jimmy Choo has connected the 24:7 Stylemakers experience to commerce. Indeed, each look on the site allows users to click-to-buy featured products, a smart move considering that street-style images drive purchase intent amongst consumers, something that many brands and retailers struggle to harvest. But unfortunately, the execution is clunky. Often the products featured in the photos link to broad categories rather than comparable styles and a click on “shop this style” takes users away from Choo 24:7 to a separate e-commerce site. Tighter integration of commerce would make shopping the experience all the more seamless.
What’s missing? Curation. Jimmy Choo recently set up a Pinterest board dedicated to the campaign. But why not enable consumers to create their own collections of their favourite images and publish them to Pinterest and other social sites from within the 24:7 Stylemakers experience itself?
In Digital Scorecard, BoF’s editors review the most innovative digital initiatives from across the world of fashion and luxury.